Eastern University’s Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment is currently administering the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to first-year and senior undergraduate students. The survey will be available to take online through June 1 for eligible Eastern students. Results of the survey will be compiled over the summer and spread throughout campus during the fall 2017 semester.
The NSSE is a self-funded organization within the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University of Bloomington that aims to record the study habits, work ethic and classroom participation of students in schools across the country. It also seeks to see how each institution allocates its resources toward student learning opportunities, both within and outside of the curriculum and campus. With the results we are shown how undergraduates in more than 560 schools across the nation spend their time.
The NSSE reports that 322,582 students completed the survey in 2016 and approximately 5.5 million students have participated since the study’s inception in 2000. It proposes questions to students such as, “How many hours per week do you study?” or “How often do you participate in classroom discussion?” With this extensive data, “The College Student Report” creates a comparative study of student habits across each school. This allows participating institutions crucial access to various reports that compare their own students’ responses to institutions of similar status. This data provides a benchmark to measure Eastern’s students’ academic standings, successes and habits. As a result, institutions such as Eastern are given an idea as to which programs or activities need development or attention in order for their students to receive beneficial learning experiences that will shape their future academic achievements and goals.
This survey was last conducted at Eastern in 2014, and the results have provided the school with information that could be used to encourage student participation in high-impact activities that would bolster their education and experience here at Eastern. In reviewing this information, Eastern administrators noticed a lack of student engagement in service learning projects and sought to implement this in their curriculum. As a result, INST 150 and 151 classes now incorporate a service learning day into their syllabus, and now 92 percent of first-year students reported participating in a volunteer or service learning project in 2014. The 2014 survey results also show that only 22 percent of seniors took part in research projects with their professors, whereas similar schools to Eastern report 27 percent of their students engaging in research with faculty. Although only a small difference between the two, Eastern faculty has actively been striving to incorporate more research opportunities and field experiences into their classes and programs as a direct result of the NSSE survey.
The NSSE survey is an integral tool in measuring Eastern’s students’ involvement in their academics as well as the effectiveness of our school’s educational programs and opportunities. If you are currently one of the 743 eligible first-year or senior students here at Eastern, you should consider spending 15 minutes to complete the survey because the information gained through your time is invaluable to the University. Currently, only 23 percent of eligible students have completed the survey; the Office of Institutional Planning hopes to receive over 40 percent participation by the June 1 deadline. In hopes to increase these numbers, a raffle of 30 $10-Wawa gift cards, for those who have completed the survey, will be drawn April 21. The survey is available to take through a link sent to eligible students’ emails, Eastern’s Brightspace portal or in person at the Mall Cottage.
Sources: Thomas Dahlstrom, Laura Sturgill