2003 NSSE and 2003 FSSE

Executive Summary:

Jean Chen
Carmen Williams
Office of Institutional Research
December 18, 2003

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), administered near the end of the spring semester, asked a series of questions of first-year students and students about to graduate. The study is intended to give participating schools feedback from students concerning their learning environments, how well they are learning, and what they are getting out of their undergraduate experiences. UND administered the NSSE in 2000 and 2003. This summary reports 2003 NSSE results for first-year students and seniors and compares them to UND 2000 results as well as the results at other Doctorate-Intensive institutions and other schools that participated in NSSE during 2003.

The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) is a project coordinated by NSSE and was piloted in Spring 2003. UND participated in this pilot. It is designed to measure faculty expectations for student engagement in educational practices that are known to be empirically linked with high levels of learning and development. The information from faculty members at UND can be used to identify areas of strength as well as aspects that the UND campus may decide warrant attention. The results are intended to be a catalyst for productive discussions related to teaching, learning, and the quality of UND students' educational experience.

Satisfaction. UND first-year students were satisfied (87% rated excellent or good) with their educational experience, and rated the experience higher than respondents at Doctorate-Intensive institutions. Seniors (84%) at UND were slightly less satisfied than their first-year peers but maintained a similar level of satisfaction with their Doctorate-Intensive peers. Over 80% of students would attend UND for undergraduate work. UND students rated their relationships with students above the national comparative averages, but relationships with faculty rated lower. Senior students at UND found relationships with administrative personnel more friendly, helpful and supportive than respondents at Doctorate-Intensive peer institutions.

Advising. UND students rated the quality of advising at UND as fair. The ratings, however, were slightly lower than those at Doctorate-Intensive peer institutions. In addition, UND students also reported that they talked with faculty members or other advisors about career plans with a similar pattern with students at peer institutions.

General education outcomes. The general academic rigor of the learning experience at UND lagged behind that at Doctorate-Intensive peer institutions. When students were asked, "To what extent has your experience at this institution contributed to your knowledge, skills, and personal development in the specific academic areas,” firstyear students at UND rated writing, speaking, critical/analytical thinking, analyzing and synthesizing, and general education lower than the peer average while seniors rated these items near the peer average, but still lower.

Diversity. In general, UND students reported having less frequent discussion with students who hold diverse religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values; or who are from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds. UND students also cited diversity as a lagging opportunity in their collegiate experience. Over one-third of UND students planned to participate or have participated in foreign language courses. Significantly fewer UND students planned to participate or participated in study abroad programs when compared to Doctorate-Intensive peer students.

Community-based experiences. UND students participated in practicum, internship, field or co-op experience, clinical assignment, community service or culminating senior experiences less often than their peers at Doctorate- Intensive institutions did. UND students, however, indicated they vote more frequently than their national peers.

The “Effect Size” or practical significance shows UND persistently lagging behind Doctorate-Intensive peer institutions in 29 key areas for first-year students and 12 key areas for seniors, from academic rigor to interaction with faculty, from co-curricular involvement to learning outcomes. The NSSE results have been aggregated into five main benchmarks to allow comparison to other Doctorate-Intensive institutions (UND stands between 10th to 50th percentile ranges) and can be used to help direct continual institutional improvements.

Results from the NSSE student survey and the FSSE faculty survey were compared to identify similarities and differences in engagement practices. In nearly all items, faculty placed greater importance on engagement activities than they provided opportunities for students. This was seen during 2000 and 2003 NSSE administration periods that seniors often indicated that they engaged in these activities more frequently than first-year students did. In many items, seniors reported greater frequency in engagement activities than faculty reported providing opportunities. Further, faculty respondents reported lower division students participating in many classroom activities less engaged than upper division students.

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