Survey finds less studying at UGA than at other schools

The university has hired more than a dozen new workers to help UGA faculty members rework the courses they teach to require more writing. - Morris News Service

ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia students don't study as hard as students at comparable schools, according to a new survey.


The National Survey of Student Engagement results echo the findings of a similar survey in 2005, when UGA undergraduates reported spending 12 to 13 hours a week studying, writing and doing other school work outside class. That's less than half the out-of-class work that professors say students ought to do and less than at other universities similar to UGA.

Students in this year's survey reported doing about the same amount of work as those surveyed two years ago, said Jere Morehead, UGA's vice president for instruction. But that is changing, he said.

A UGA task force two years ago said "a culture of low expectations" had taken root at UGA and called for changes to unseat that culture.

Administrators are not sure whether the students who agreed to be in the survey are representative of the whole student body. Of a random sample of about 5,000 freshmen and seniors, only about 21 percent took the survey, Mr. Morehead said.

A committee of faculty and staff will try to find ways to raise the percentage of students who complete the survey when the next one is given, said Denise Gardner, the interim director of UGA's Office of Institutional Research.


Some changes suggested by a task force to unseat "a culture of low expectations" at the University of Georgia:

- A plus-minus grading system, which committee members felt would add a little more motivation for students

- A plan to revise the curriculum to allow students to take more classes outside of their major, to require more math and science courses and to ensure that students can communicate in two languages when they graduate.

- A return to the old idea of a liberal arts education, which emphasizes thinking, writing and verbal communication skills over memorizing facts