Parma University City: here are the results of the research conducted by the University on students

A questionnaire answered by over 4 thousand students to measure their perception, use and degree of satisfaction with the services provided by the University and the City Council.

How do the students of the University of Parma consider the services that the University and the Municipality make available to them? How much do they use them? What is their level of satisfaction? And how do they evaluate living in Parma?

These are just a few of the questions that form the basis of the "Parma Città Universitaria" research project, carried out by the University as part of the "Parma Città Universitaria" project.

A first cognitive survey, the only one of its kind to date, created to measure the perception and use of the services that the University and the City of Parma make available to students, surveying their knowledge and degree of satisfaction and thus highlighting the areas in which the two institutions need to intervene to make Parma more and more a university city. It is also a snapshot of the "student universe": the characteristics, habits, behaviors and expectations of the students of the University of Parma.

Data were collected through an online questionnaire during the period June 2020 - September 2020. Due to the health emergency, it was requested to base the responses on the first semester of the 2019-2020 academic year in order to obtain a "snapshot" of "pre Covid-19" behaviors that will be a useful reference should we wish to repeat the survey periodically.

The sample size was 4,094 students, enrolled in bachelor's, single-cycle, and master's degrees. A representative sample (18% of the student universe) that reflects the composition of students by department, type of course and residence.

Various aspects were investigated: from living to studying, from leisure time to the perception of the city and knowledge, use, importance and satisfaction with the services offered by the University and the City.

Rector Paolo Andrei, Leonardo Spadi, coordinator of the Working Group Parma Città Universitaria, and Chiara Vernizzi, deputy coordinator of the Working Group Parma Città Universitaria, the research and its results were illustrated by Cristina Ziliani, Professor of Economics and Business Management and coordinator of the Working Group of the Department of Economics and Business Sciences.

Housing and home-university transfers

68.7% of students were staying in Parma in the first semester of 2019-20, with a significant difference between three-year + CU and master's students (66.9% vs. 75.8%) and between first-year and subsequent-year enrollees (61% vs. 71%). Social media and specialized websites (73.4%) were used most for finding housing, and were used significantly more by master's students.

On the home-university journey, the most critical issues were judged to be crowded public transport (critical for 72.7%) and not punctual (62.5%), and traffic congestion (57.9%).

What is Parma like for students?

In the perceptions of students, Parma is first and foremost welcoming (68%) and a good place to live (54%). It offers good services and is alive for 49% of them, it appears well managed for 40%. The city is alive more according to students in the years following the first (who also go out more) and for students from the South, who also evaluate all other aspects better.

University and City services: knowledge, use, importance, satisfaction

There is considerable variability in the degree of knowledge of the services: 60-70 percentage points of difference between the best known and the least known constitute a significant range, on which the two entities will have to intervene.

Moreover, for the services of both institutions there is a gap between knowledge and use.

For the University services, for example, the gap emerges in the use of services linked to the Student card, which is in itself well known and used, but not for certain functions: the Student card therefore offers a plurality of advantages for various aspects of daily life (shopping, free time, mobility and health) that are not exploited.

For the City, on the other hand, there is a clear gap in the use of bike sharing and car sharing, which are well known but little used. It is also interesting to note that the knowledge-use gap is much smaller for students residing in the South: fewer know about the services of the City, but if they do, they use them.

Other aspects investigated are importance of services and student satisfaction.

The University services considered important for student life are many (10 above the median), and revolve around the Student card with its discounts and agreements, and Er.Go (scholarships, etc.). On a scale of satisfaction from 1 to 7, 9 of the 15 services considered received grades of 6 and 7 from over 50% of respondents.

The importance of the City's services for the life of students in Parma revolves instead around a smaller number of services (3 above the median), all related to the world of mobility: subsidized season tickets, night bus schedules and "MiMuovo" are considered very important, are also well known and satisfaction is also higher than the median.

Next steps

The results of the research can provide very useful information to the University and the City, because they highlight the areas on which it is necessary to intervene to make Parma more and more a university city.

The research represents, in any case, a first step in an activity that can continue and be implemented, continuing, refining and further deepening the survey on the student component, monitoring some of the phenomena over time and adding, from time to time, insights on specific issues, as is the nature of an "Observatory" that we would like to establish on the subject; in addition, the picture would not be complete if we did not also collect the expectations, perceptions and vision of other stakeholders, such as public bodies, associations and cultural institutions of the city.



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