NSSE

May 14, 2012

NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) measures students' perception of RIC in five major categories: level of academic challenge; active and collaborative learning; student-faculty interaction; enriching educational experience; and supportive campus environment. NSSE chose the survey items because they correlate with retention and graduation. At RIC, NSSE is administered via the office of Scott Kane, Dean of Students. The detailed NSSE questions and results can be obtained from Dr. Kane for clues to improve teaching and student engagement.

The NSSE results are important to faculty and staff because they demonstrate that our actions are having a positive impact on student perceptions and retention. Most important, student satisfaction has increased steadily since our first NSSE survey in 2005, thanks to the efforts of all faculty and staff.

Sample

NSSE has been administered to RIC first year students and seniors four times (2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011). For spring of 2011, we surveyed a random sample of first year students (N= 1,197; n= 255; response = 21%) and seniors (N= 1,194; n = 333; response = 28%). These rates are comparable to all NSSE nationwide response rates (first year = 31%; senior = 31%).

Results

In nearly every major category, and every year, scores have improved for first year students and for seniors. It is remarkable that our students spend so much time off campus working, caring for dependents, and commuting and that simultaneously students are heavily engaged in campus. We know that many faculty members work closely with students to help students meet academic goals in the face of student personal problems.

Source of Table: Report on the Results of The National Survey of Student Engagement Spring 2011; Report # 11-13; Rhode Island College; Office of Institutional Research & Planning, March 2012.

Contributors to Results

These increases are due to the achievements of faculty and staff in improving campus life and the quality of academic programs.

(a) Universal Advising

The Universal Advising program, which requires students to contact a faculty advisor prior to registering for classes, has improved student satisfaction with RIC. Specifically, it increases Student-Faculty Interaction and improves Supportive Campus Environment.

(b) Technology

Students showed consistent increases in use of technology (i.e., computers in assignments; email with faculty) over time. These results are due to improvements in RIC technology and to implementation of RIC email as an official means of communication. The increased use of technology positively impacted all NSSE areas, either directly or indirectly.

(c) Assessment

Increased use of student learning outcomes assessment had a positive impact on students. Through conducting assessment, academic departments made changes to their courses and curricula that increased the Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, and Enriching Educational Experience.

(d) Open books – Open Minds

OBOM consists of programs and activities through which students, staff, and faculty read and discuss a common book. This program has increased student engagement, retention, and participation in extracurricular activities. OBOM positively impacted all NSSE areas, either directly or indirectly.

Comparisons to Other Colleges

Compared to other New England colleges, RIC now has the same scores in most areas, and in some areas, RIC has statistically significant higher scores (whereas in 2005 we scored lower than the other New England colleges). Compared to other comparison colleges, RIC has statistically significant lower scores in some areas. This result is to be expected, however, because RIC students differ from students at the other colleges in regard to percentages of commuter students and more hours worked per week, especially off campus. These differences cause lower student engagement outside of class.

Source of Table: Report on the Results of The National Survey of Student Engagement Spring 2011; Report # 11-13; Rhode Island College; Office of Institutional Research & Planning, March 2012. Peer I = New England Public; Peer II = Public Aspirational; Peer III = RIC's Carnegie Classification, public & private.


Author: Shani D. Carter May 14, 2012

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Page last updated: June 18, 2012