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National Survey of Student Engagement Begins Today

Freshmen and Seniors Provide Insight on High-Impact Practices

Feb. 11, 2014

Every other year, Cal State Fullerton participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The results of the survey allow the campus to better understand the experiences of its students.

Today (Feb. 11), freshmen who entered in fall 2013 and seniors who will graduate this spring, will be invited to participate in the web-based survey. Results should be available next fall.

"The last time our students participated in this survey, we discovered that they wanted more guidance regarding career plans," said Paul J. Levesque, chair and professor of comparative religion and chair of the University's Student Academic Life Committee. "Based on the response, we expanded on-campus employer events, increased internship opportunities and added new workshops.

"We also found that students are more successful when engaged in research with faculty," he continued. "This led to more student-faculty research projects."

"The freshman responses provide perspective on anticipated engagement activities while seniors provide a look at actual participation in activities as they near graduation," said Ed Sullivan, assistant vice president for institutional research and analytical studies.

The information gathered through NSSE is used by the University, colleges, the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Academic Life Committee of the Academic Senate to assess and improve opportunities for student engagement.

"NSSE allows us to compare our student experiences to those of other campuses," said Berenecea Johnson Eanes, vice president for student affairs. "While our results are similar to our peers, we want to do more. Areas for greater focus are evident in the data, and the colleges and programs have purposeful, targeted efforts to improve student experiences. Particular attention has been paid to faculty-student interactions and enriching educational experiences. Although our scores are fine, there are always opportunities to do better."

"We appreciate the student input we receive from NSSE because it highlights the high impact practices we need to develop to engage our students," said José Cruz, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "With the focus on these practices, as articulated in the University's strategic plan, it is clear that having this kind of information provides insight and clarity into how we reach out and engage our students."

The five "engagement indicators" that are highlighted in the survey are academic challenge, experiences with faculty, learning with peers, campus environment and high-impact practices (such as service learning, study abroad, research and internships).

"The results of the survey allow us to see if there are any changes in students' experiences over time," said Sullivan. "It also helps us understand current student experiences and how they relate to what we, as a campus, see as important experiences. With this information, we can provide more or different opportunities to engage our students in high impact practices."

Tags:  Campus Updates