Monday, April 9

No Classes

7:00 - 9:00 PM - Polar Astronomy Club
Visitors and prospective members invited. A Smörgåsbord is planned
John Deere Planetarium & Carl Gamble Observatory

Tuesday, April 10  (Muesday)

No Tuesday Reflection Today

4:00 - 5:30 PM - Faculty Forum on Curricular Reform
Refreshments served
Olin Auditorium 

4:30 - 5:30 PM - Ekklesia Study Group
Old Main 121

5:00 PM - Deadline to submit Summer Research Stipend Applications to Academic Affaris

6:30 PM - Miss Representation
Film and Discussion. Free admission
Putnam Museum, IMAX Theatre
1717 S. 12th Street, Davenport, IA 

7:30 PM - Pelada
The documentary Pelada follows 2 former soccer stars who travel to 25 countries following a game which spans gender, race, religion and class
Desserts will be served
Olin Auditorium

8:00 PM - Faculty Recital - Lyra Trio Concert
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Wednesday, April 11

9:30 - 10:30 AM - Coffee and Conversation
Community Engagement Center, 1st floor, Sorensen Hall

12:00 - 12:50 PM - Faculty, Staff & Administrators' Bible Study
Bible Study for faculty, staff, and administrators
Bring your lunch and a Bible
Chicago Room, College Center

4:00 PM - Morris & Co.: A Reading of Victorian Poets
Free admission 
Tredway Library, 2nd floor south 

7:00 PM - Augustana Swedish Soldiers and Shields
John Norton of the Augustana Historical Society speaks
Free admission and light refreshments
Walleberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Thursday, April 12

10:30 - 11:20 AM - Convocation - Gwendolyn Oxenham:  "What Would You Do If You Could Do Anything?"
Centennial Hall 

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Faculty Senate Meeting
Hanson Hall of Science 102 

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Promoting Student Success: The Role of Student Services at Augustana
Tredway Library, 2nd floor south 

Friday, April 13

4:00 PM - Friday Conversation: Johnna Adam & Darrin Good "Academic Internships"
3:30 PM - Refreshments
College Center Loft

8:00 PM - Composers Concert
Featuring several music-performance-composition majors' works
Ensemble Room, Bergendoff Hall 

Saturday, April 14

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - 3rd Annual Planting of Augie Acres RESCHEDULED for 4-21-12
6th Avenue and 32nd Street, Rock Island, Illinois 

1:00 - 4:00 PM - Wesley Acres Produce Goat Party
2800 Coyne Center Road, Milan, Illinois 

1:00 PM - Student Recital - Katerine Boardman & Corbin McGhee
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

8:00 PM - Student Recital - Samantha Haake, flute
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Sunday, April 15

No events

Volume 9, Issue 28 - April 9, 2012

Delicious Ambiguity

Welcome back from the short holiday weekend. I hope you got your fill of celebratory dinner and dessert and, most importantly, put the rest of your work life away to spend quality time with the family and friends.

A lot of the discussion in my office recently has been about data gathering through surveys. After all, it's nearing the end of the academic year and there are many who sincerely want to know if our students experienced Augustana College as we hoped, whether they learned what we intended them to learn, and if any one piece of the myriad of moving parts that make up a college experience has slipped in some way to require a readjustment.

In the process of gathering one such survey - the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education - we've seen an almost perfect example of the law of diminishing returns - which basically says for each additional time you try to increase production, all else being equal, the rate of production will decline. As many seniors are conducting senior inquiry projects that involve surveys, I thought it might be of some interest to share our experience gathering data for the Wabash National Study so far, talk about what it means for gathering survey data on campus, and propose some suggestions for folks planning to collect data in the future from students, faculty, staff, or alumni.

As you have likely seen in some format or another, I've been pumping the Wabash National Study to students, faculty, and staff over the last few months because of its potential to provide key guidance on a host of questions regarding our efforts to improve student learning. We also were able to acquire $25 gift cards as rewards for those who participate in one of our data collection events. I've listed below the participation rates for each of the four data collection dates.

Date of Data Collection Number of Participants
Mon., March 12 78
Mon., March 26 35
Thurs., March 29 18
Mon., April 2 10






With only slight variation, the rate of participation drops in half for each subsequent data collection date. This occurred despite the repeated promotion, coverage in the Observer, soliciting additional promotion from faculty and staff, and a consistently healthy incentive for those who participated.

It's one thing to hear cautionary tales about this pattern - it's another to see it so clearly play out right in front of you. In our case, we are going to continue to host several more data collections during the month of April, but will shift from holding them at night to holding them in the middle of the morning during the convocation time. I hope you'll help promote these events to your seniors as you see them announced.

So I could strongly encourage those of you who are gathering data yourself or guiding students in their senior inquiry projects: Come up with multiple ways to gather your data and expect that no matter what you do, your participation will slip as you continue to promote your survey. This means that you really have one shot to get it right, and everything you can do to incentivize initial participation is worth the effort in the long run.

Make it a good day!