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Southwestern Ranks Above Peer Institutions in National Survey of Student Engagement

Results from a recent national survey show that students at Southwestern University rank above students at peer institutions - and significantly above the national average - when it
comes to being engaged in their academic endeavors.

Results from a recent national survey show that
students at Southwestern University rank above students at peer
institutions - and significantly above the national average - when it
comes to being engaged in their academic endeavors.

The findings come from the 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement
(NSSE), which was sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching and administered by the Indiana University
Center for Survey Research.

The NSSE is given annually to first-year students and seniors. This is
the fifth year that Southwestern has participated in the study.
Forty-five percent of eligible Southwestern students responded to the
2006 survey. Nationwide, about 260,000 students from 523 four-year
colleges and universities participated in the survey.

The survey measures five areas that are associated with high levels of
learning and development: level of academic challenge, active and
collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching
educational experiences, and supportive campus environment.

Southwestern was in the top 10 percent of schools nationally in the
areas of student-faculty interaction and enriching educational
experiences. It also ranked above its peer group in the other three
areas.

The section on student-faculty interaction asks students questions such
as whether they have discussed ideas from their classes with faculty
members outside of class, worked with faculty members on research
projects outside of class or talked about career plans with a faculty
member or advisor.

The section on enriching educational experiences asks students whether
they have participated in complementary learning opportunities such as
co-curricular activities, internships, community service or volunteer
work, study abroad or a senior capstone project.

“The survey gives us an idea of how well we are doing from the students’ perspective,” said Provost Jim Hunt.

Colleges and universities can use the NSSE to identify areas where
changes are needed in policies, curriculum and allocation of resources.

For example, as a result of student responses to NSSE, Southwestern has
implemented additional social and recreational opportunities on
weekends, more comprehensive health and wellness services, and
living/learning communities. In addition, budgets for social activities
with students and faculty have been created, collaborative research
opportunities continue to develop, and community-based learning
opportunities are expanding.

The NSSE also is one of several new instruments that can help consumers differentiate between schools.

“Prospective students and their parents can use the survey to help them
find a college or university that provides enriching educational
experiences that meet their goals and objectives,” Hunt said.

To see the results of Southwestern’s 2006 NSSE survey, visit www.southwestern.edu/nsse.

For more information on the National Survey of Student Engagement, visit www.nsse.iub.edu.