Skip to main content

Impact of academic experience and school climate of diversity on student satisfaction


Utilising data from a research university (N = 7219), we examined the extent to which three factors, climate of diversity (COD), course learning experience (CLE) and research practice experience, predicted undergraduates’ overall satisfaction. COD was the most influential predictor of student satisfaction after controlling for the other two. In addition, the moderation effects of gender and race/ethnicity on these predictive relationships were tested. Only race/ethnicity had a moderation effect on COD and CLE.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  • Abbasi, M. N., Malik, A., Chaudhry, I. S., & Imdadullah, M. (2011). A study on student satisfaction in Pakistani universities: The case of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan. Asian Social Science, 7(7), 209–219.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Adelman, C. (1991). Women at thirtysomething: Paradoxes of attainment. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alves, H., & Raposo, M. (2007). Conceptual model of student satisfaction in higher education. Total Quality Management, 18(5), 571–588.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Astin, A., & Chang, M. (1995). Colleges that emphasize research and teaching: Can you have your cake and eat it too? Change, 27(5), 44–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bailey, T., Jenkins, D., & Leinbach, T. (2005). What we know about community college low-income and minority student outcomes: Descriptive statistics from national surveys. New York: Community College Research Center, Columbia University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baker, J. A., & Maupin, A. N. (2009). School satisfaction and children’s positive school adjustment. In R. Gilman, E. S. Huebner, & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology in schools (pp. 189–196). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bangera, G., & Brownell, S. (2014). Course-based undergraduate research experiences can make scientific research more inclusive. CBE Life Sciences Education, 13(4), 602–606.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baturay, M. (2011). Relationships among sense of classroom community, perceived cognitive learning and satisfaction of students at an e-learning course. Interactive Learning Environments, 19(5), 563–575.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beck, D. E., Maranto, R., & Lo, W. J. (2014). Determinants of student and parent satisfaction at a cyber charter school. The Journal of Education Research, 107(3), 209–216.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bini, M., & Masserini, L. (2016). Students’ satisfaction and teaching efficiency of university offer. Social Indicators Research, 129(2), 1–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowman, N., & Smedley, T. C. (2013). The forgotten minority: Examining religious affiliation and university satisfaction. Higher Education, 65(6), 745–760.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowman, L. L., & Waite, B. M. (2003). Volunteering in research: Student satisfaction and educational benefits. Teaching of Psychology, 30(2), 102–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brint, S., Douglass, J. A., Thomson, G., & Chatman, S. (2010). Engaged learning in a public university: Trends in the undergraduate experience (Report on the Results of the 2008 University of California Undergraduate Experience Study). Berkeley, CA: Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California.

  • Center for Studies in Higher Education. (2011). Student experience in the research university (SERU) survey. Retrieved 22 Mar 2015.

  • Chan, G., Miller, P. W., & Tcha, M. (2005). Happiness in university education. International Review of Economics Education, 4(1), 20–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chang, M. (2001). The positive educational effects of racial diversity on campus. In G. Orfield (Ed.), Diversity challenged: Evidence on the impact of affirmative action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Publishing Group, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chatman, S. P. (2009, August). Factor structure and reliability of the 2008 and 2009 SERU/UCUES questionnaire core (Research & Occasional Paper Series). Berkeley, CA: Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), University of California. Retrieved from

  • Chatman, S. P. (2011, August). Factor structure and reliability of the 2011 SERU/UCUES questionnaire core (Research & Occasional Paper Series). Berkeley, CA: Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved from

  • Chen, P. D., Ingram, T. N., & Davis, L. K. (2014). Bridging student engagement and satisfaction: A comparison between historically black colleges and universities and predominantly white institutions. Journal of Negro Education, 83(4), 565–579.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chiders, C., Williams, K., & Kemp, E. (2014). Emotions in the classroom: Examining environmental factors and student satisfaction. Journal of Education for Business, 89(1), 7–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cole, M., Shelley, D., & Swartz, L. (2014). Online instruction, e-learning, and student satisfaction: A three year study. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(6), 111–131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coles, C. (2002). Variability of student ratings of accounting teaching: Evidence from a Scottish business school. International Journal of Management Education, 2(2), 30–39.

    Google Scholar 

  • Denson, N., Loveday, T., & Dalton, H. (2010). Student evaluation of courses: What predicts satisfaction? Higher Education Research and Development, 29(4), 339–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeShields, O., Jr., Kara, A., & Kaynak, E. (2005). Determinants of business student satisfaction and retention in higher education: Applying Herzberg’s two-factor theory. International Journal of Educational Management, 19(2), 128–139.

    Google Scholar 

  • Einarson, M. K., & Matier, M. W. (2005). Exploring race differences in correlates of seniors’ satisfaction with undergraduate education. Research in Higher Education, 46(6), 641–676.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • El Ansari, W., & Oskrochi, R. (2006). What matters most? Predictors of student satisfaction in public health educational courses. Public Health, 120(5), 462–473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elliot, K., & Healy, M. (2001). Key factors influencing student satisfaction related to recruitment and retention. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 10(4), 1–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elliott, K. (2002). Key determinants of student satisfaction. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 4(3), 271–279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Flacks, R., Thomson, B. C., Douglass, J. K. C., & Caspary, K. (2004). Learning and academic engagement in the multiversity (Student Experience in the Research University—21st Century (SERU21) Project). Berkeley, CA: Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California.

  • Grebennikov, L., & Shah, M. (2013). Student voice: Using qualitative feedback from students to enhance their university experience. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(6), 606–618.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Greene, T. G., Marti, C., & McClenney, K. (2008). The effort–outcome gap: Differences for African American and Hispanic community college students in student engagement and academic achievement. Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 513–539.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Greenwell, R. (2013). Exploring the relationship between students’ life satisfaction and school-based social and behavioral success. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 74.

  • Helm, E., Sedlacek, W., & Prieto, D. (1998). The relationship between attitudes toward diversity and overall satisfaction of university students by race. Journal of College Counseling, 1(2), 111–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hernandez, E., Mobley, M., Coryell, G., Yu, E. H., & Martinez, G. (2013). Examining the cultural validity of a college student engagement survey for Latinos. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 12(2), 153–173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hurtado, S., & Carter, D. (1997). Effects of college transition and perceptions of the campus racial climate on Latino college students’ sense of belonging. Sociology of Education, 70(4), 324–345.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Javed, M. W., Bhatti, R., & Khan, S. A. (2014). Satisfaction with library services: A survey of post graduate students at Nishtar Medical College, Multan. Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal, 45(3), 77–83.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jiang, X., Huebner, E., & Siddall, J. (2013). A short-term longitudinal study of differential sources of school-related social support and adolescents’ school satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 114(3), 1073–1086.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kacire, İ., Kurtulmus, M., & Karabiyik, H. (2015). The effect of perceived diversity climate on general satisfaction of university students. International Journal of Learning and Development, 5(2), 20–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, Y. L., & Lee, S. M. (2015). Effect of satisfaction in major at university on academic achievement among physical therapy students. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(2), 405–409.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, Y., & Sax, L. (2009). Student–faculty interaction in research universities: Differences by student gender, race, social class, and first-generation status. Research in Higher Education, 50(5), 437–459.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kotler, P., & Fox, K. (1995). Strategic marketing for educational institutions. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. (2010). Students’ perceptions of and satisfaction with faculty diversity. College Student Journal, 44(2), 400–412.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, G., Jolly, N., Kench, P., & Gelonesi, B. (2000, July). Factors related to student satisfaction with university. In Proceedings of 4th pacific rim first year in higher education conference.

  • List of Research Universities in the United States. (2010). Wikipedia. Retrieved 20 June 2015.

  • Milem, J. F., Clayton-Pedersen, A. R., Hurtado, S., & Allen, W. R. (1998). Enhancing campus climates for racial/ethnic diversity: Educational policy and practice. The Review of Higher Education, 21(3), 279–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Milton-Wildey, K., Kenny, P., Parmenter, G., & Hall, J. (2014). Educational preparation for clinical nursing: The satisfaction of students and new graduates from two Australian universities. Nurse Education Today, 34(4), 648–654.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Misanew, A., & Tadesse, M. (2014). Determinants of student and staff satisfaction with services at Dilla University, Ethiopia: Application of single and multilevel logistic regression analysis. Social Indicator Research, 119(3), 1571–1587.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2012–2015). Mplus user’s guide: Statistical analysis with latent variables (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Author.

  • Nettles, M., Thoeny, A., & Gosman, E. (1986). Comparative and predictive analyses of Black and White students’ college achievement and experiences. The Journal of Higher Education, 57(3), 289–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nunez, A. M., & Cuccaro-Alamin, S. (1998). First-generation students: Undergraduates whose parents never enrolled in postsecondary education (NCFS 1999-082). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parahoo, S. K., Harvey, H. L., & Tamim, R. M. (2013). Factors influencing student satisfaction in universities in the Gulf region: Does gender of students matter? Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 23(2), 135–154.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parasnis, I., Samar, V. J., & Fischer, S. D. (2005). Deaf college students’ attitudes toward racial/ethnic diversity, campus climate, and role models. American Annals of the Deaf, 150(1), 47–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Portolese, D. L., & Trumpy, R. (2014). Online instructor’s use of audio feedback to increase social presence and student satisfaction. Journal of Educators Online, 11(2), 1–19. Retrieved from

  • Rienzi, B., Allen, M., Sarmiento, Y., & McMillin, J. (1993). Alumni perception of the impact of gender on their university experience. Journal of College Student Development, 34(2), 154–157.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robins, L., Gruppen, L., Alexander, G., Fantone, J., & Davis, W. (1997). A predictive model of student satisfaction with the medical school learning environment. Academic Medicine, 72(2), 134–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rockenbach, A., & Mayhew, M. J. (2014). The campus spiritual climate: Predictors of satisfaction among students with diverse worldviews. Journal of College Student Development, 55(1), 41–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roebken, H. (2007). The influence of goal orientation on student satisfaction, academic engagement and achievement. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 5(3), 679–704.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sarrico, C. S., & Rosa, M. J. (2014). Student satisfaction with Portuguese higher education institutions: The view of different types of students. Tertiary Education and Management, 20(2), 165–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schertzer, C. B., & Schertzer, S. M. (2004). Student satisfaction and retention: A conceptual model. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 14(1), 79–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shakurnia, A., Alijani, H., Najjar, S., & Elhampour, H. (2014). Correlation between educational satisfaction and approaches to study and academic performance: A study of nursing and midwifery students. Iranian Journal of Medical Education, 14(2), 101–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smimou, K., & Dahl, D. W. (2012). On the relationship between students’ perceptions of teaching quality, methods of assessment, and satisfaction. Journal of Education for Business, 87(1), 22–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Soria, K. (2013). Factor structure and reliability of the 2013 Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Survey. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Office of Institutional Research.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stamatoplos, A., & Mackoy, R. (1998). Effects of library instruction on university students’ satisfaction with the library: A longitudinal study. College & Research Libraries, 59(4), 322–333.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stebleton, M., Soria, K., Huesman, R., Jr., & Torres, V. (2014). Recent immigrant students at research universities: The relationship between campus climate and sense of belonging. Journal of College Student Development, 55(2), 196–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Strayhorn, T. L., & Johnson, R. M. (2014). Black female community college students’ satisfaction: A national regression analysis. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 38(6), 534–550.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Villalpando, O. (2002). The impact of diversity and multiculturalism on all students: Findings from a national study. NASPA Journal, 40(1), 124–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wiers-Jenssen, J., Stensaker, B. R., & Grøgaard, J. B. (2002). Student satisfaction: Towards an empirical deconstruction of the concept. Quality in higher education, 8(2), 183–195.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yunhee, B., & Troy, M. (2013). Academic engagement, high impact practices, and learning outcomes and comparison with other institutions by department [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from website:

  • Yunhee, B., & Troy, M. (2014). High impact practices (hip), learning outcomes, and students’ background. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from website:

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shuqiong Lin.



Factor structure



Course learning experience

Attention and interests in class (AIC)


Contributed to a class discussion


Brought up ideas during class discussions


Asked an insightful question in class


Found a course so interesting that you did more work than was required


Chosen challenging courses


Made a class presentation


Interacted with faculty in class

Class preparation (CP)


Turned in a course assignment late


Gone to class without completing assigned reading


Gone to class unprepared


Skipped class


How much of your assigned course reading have you completed this year

Faculty connection (FC)


Had a class in which the professor knew your name


Communicated with a faculty member by e-mail or in person


Talked with the instructor outside of class about issues derived from a course


Worked with a faculty member on an activity other than coursework

Consolidated learning (CL)


Raised your standard for acceptable effort due to the high standards of a faculty member


Extensively revised a paper before submitting it


Sought academic help from instructor when needed


Worked on class projects with classmates outside of class


Helped a classmate better understand the course when studying together

Research practice experience (RPE)

On-class research activity (OCR)


A research project or paper as part of your work


At least one student research course


At least one independent research course


Assist faculty in research with course credit


Work on researches under the direction of faculty with course credit

Extra-curricular research activity (ECR)


Assist faculty in research for pay without credit


Assist faculty in research as a volunteer without credit


Work on researches under the direction of faculty for pay without credit


Work on researches under the direction of faculty as a volunteer without credit

Research skills gain (RSG)


Computer skills


Internet skills


Library research skills


Other research skills

School climate of diversity (COD)


Students are respected here regardless of their economic or social class


Students are respected here regardless of their gender


Students are respected here regardless of their race/ethnicity


Students are respected here regardless of their religious beliefs


Students are respected here regardless of their political beliefs


Students are respected here regardless of their sexual orientation


Students are respected here regardless of their disabilities


I feel free to express my political beliefs here


I feel free to express my religious beliefs here


Students of my race/ethnicity are respected here


Students of my socio-economic status are respected here


Students of my gender are respected here


Students of my religious beliefs are respected here


Students of my political beliefs are respected here


Students of my sexual orientation are respected here


Students of my immigration background are respected here


Students with a physical or psychological disability are respected here

Satisfaction and agreement (SAA)


Level of satisfaction with grade point average


Level of satisfaction with academic experience


Level of satisfaction with social experience


Value of your education for the price you’re paying


I feel that I belong at this institution


Knowing what I know now, I would still choose to enroll

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lin, S., Salazar, T.R. & Wu, S. Impact of academic experience and school climate of diversity on student satisfaction. Learning Environ Res 22, 25–41 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Climate of diversity
  • Course learning experience
  • Research practice experience
  • Student satisfaction