Jul 26, 2023
In previous years, Florida Southern College Associate Professor of Marketing Dr. Eric Harris has gone outside of campus to complete projects with his marketing research students.
For the Spring 2023 semester, Dr. Harris decided to do something on campus that would not only engage his students in the classroom but also in the FSC community.
The result will have a lasting impact on how FSC’s student body works on their overall health.
That’s part of what has made the marketing research class a vital and popular class within the marketing major in the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise.
Along with his marketing research students, Dr. Harris created a digital satisfaction survey for the Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center. The students and Dr. Harris worked with Alicia Rossow, Florida Southern’s Director of Wellness, on the 30-question survey which users of the Wellness Center could take using a Quick Response (QR) code on their cell phones.
The survey would help to provide valuable insight into the uses and habits of the student body, in order to help the Wellness Center better utilize its resources.
Students met with Rossow and worked with her on reviewing current surveys the Wellness Center was already running. They also looked for potential gaps in the questions those surveys and the issues that were currently being raised.
Based on their discussions with Rossow, and with Harris’ help, they decided that a major focus of the project should be on the overall service quality received by the students.
“The students enjoy working with companies outside of campus, but a project like this is something that touches their lives daily,” Dr. Harris said. “It helps not only them, but their friends as well. They were really excited to do it because the vast majority of students are using the Wellness Center. It’s such a big part of student life here. From the weight room to the training programs, to the Moc Dock, to the climbing wall, and basketball courts.”
The survey was administered using a survey platform called Qualtrics, an online survey platform similar to SurveyMonkey, but with extended capabilities. Quick Response codes were placed around campus, including the Wellness Center. The survey reached 135 students about different aspects of the Wellness Center. The results pleased both Dr. Harris and Rossow.
Through it, Dr. Harris and Rossow discovered that the mostused part of the Wellness Center by those polled was the weight room.
“One of the interesting findings was that student satisfaction among sophomores was significantly lower than other classes on campus,” Dr. Harris said. “The students theorized that once the “honeymoon” period of the freshman year was over, students begin looking for alternative workout and recreation opportunities around town.”
Also, the students discovered that satisfaction ratings for juniors and seniors increased.
“The students believed that once sophomores explored the area they realized how good they have it on campus and return to the Wellness Center,” Dr. Harris said.
The survey also allowed students to give their feedback on what they wanted to see offered at the Wellness Center. That is something Rossow is taking seriously as she is always seeking to improve on the experience students get at the Wellness Center.
“I took a lot of the student’s feedback from the survey and action items and put them on our strategic plan agenda,” said Rossow, who has been with the College for 15 years. “I want to see if we can make any of the action items happen. We love getting feedback and anyway we can implement the feedback we will. The survey will help show the student body that we do listen to their needs and do try to make changes happen.”
Recent Florida Southern College graduate Will Doro ‘23 was a part of the 12-member marketing research class that worked on the survey.
Doro, who has been putting his Business Administration degree to work at NextLevel Consultants in Tampa since June, said he learned plenty of valuable lessons during Dr. Harris’ class that he will use at his new job.
“This project gave me hands-on experience in understanding customer demographics, which is an important factor in marketing,” said Doro, who is from Jacksonville, Fla. “To successfully market a brand, product, or service, you need to research and study your target demographic. Using statistical analysis in my opinion is the best way to understand a target demographic to understand if what you’re marketing is volatile. Being a business administration major, I learned all aspects of business from marketing, management, law, etc. I feel FSC’s teaching gave me all the bits and pieces required to complete the puzzle. The future looks bright, and it’s thanks to FSC.”
Dr. Harris has plans for the survey beyond its initial use.
The survey will go more in-depth and become more focused.“It’ll be an ongoing project for next semester,” he said. “It’s going to dig deeper. Some of it will involve doing focus groups with certain subsets of students.”