Approval Ratings – Spring 2017

In the Record’s recent approval ratings poll, four campus institutions saw decreases in their approval ratings outside of the margin or error, one saw an increase and the remainder saw no change outside of the margin of error since the last approval ratings survey was conducted in fall 2016.

President Adam Falk’s approval rating declined to 46 percent from 61 percent, which sits at the boundary of the margin of error. Two student organizations also saw declines nearly outside or outside of the margin of error: the Record, from 78 to 65 percent and All-Campus Entertainment (ACE), from 74 to 59 percent.

Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom had an approval rating of 67 percent, up from 56 percent in the fall. However, this survey was the first time the Record polled separate approval ratings for the Dean of the College and the Dean’s Office, so the result may be affected by that change.

All other campus institutions had no significant change in their approval ratings from the fall semester. The Record chose to not poll approval ratings for three campus institutions that were included in the fall: the Honor and Discipline Committee, the Williamstown Police Department and academic advising. Each of these had a “no opinion” response rate of more than 50 percent in the fall. Additionally, the Record included four new institutions in this semester’s poll: the Zilkha Center, the Davis Center, the office of academic resources and the Dean’s Office, which had approval ratings of 92, 92, 95 and 65 percent respectively.

The approval ratings poll asked respondents to “check whether you approve or disapprove of the performance of each person or organization listed.” Respondents could mark “approve,” “disapprove” or “no opinion.” The approval rating is the ratio of “approve” votes to “approve” or “disapprove” votes (excluding “no opinion” votes). The poll was sent at approximately 9 p.m. last Wednesday to 500 randomly selected students across all four classes. There were 169 student responses, a response rate of 33.8 percent. At a 95 percent confidence interval, the median margin of error across all ratings was 7.8 percentage points, with the lowest being 2.4 percentage points and the highest being 9.9 percentage points. Additional statistics, including those of previous years, are available on the Record’s website.