Kan. -- Students at Fort Hays State University enjoy productive relationships
with faculty members and with administrative personnel and offices and spend a
lot more time than the average college student working off campus and providing
care for dependents living with them.
this, and more, according to this year's National Survey of Student Engagement,
which received responses from 285,000 freshmen and seniors at 546 colleges and
universities. The survey, abbreviated NSSE and called "Nessie," was
begun in 1999 with funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
report for 2012, the 13th, titled "Annual Results 2012," is sponsored
by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Released today, the
full report can be downloaded from a link on the NSSE home page at http://www.nsse.iub.edu/.
participation in the National Survey of Student Engagement is another example
of our continual pursuit of excellence," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU
president. "It not only shows us where we're doing well but also helps us
find problem areas and develop strategies for addressing them."
purpose of the survey as stated on the report's table of contents page, is "surveying
college students to assess the extent to which they engage in educational
practices associated with high levels of learning and development." The
survey asks freshmen and seniors to answer questions about aspects of their
college education and life.
several areas of measurement, "We always do well," said Dr. Chris
Crawford, assistant provost for quality management at FHSU. These are such
things as statistically significant higher levels than many peer institutions
Academic advising, on which seniors have rated FHSU more than 3.0 on a 4-point
scale every year except one since 2004 (3.19 for 2012).
Using computers in academic work, which 2012 seniors rated at 3.56 on a 4-point
scale of 1 very little to 4 very much.
On the same scale, 2012 seniors rated FHSU at 3.35 on a more overall question
of using computing and information technology.
freshmen, FHSU's highest performance benchmarks were at or above average
compared to its peer groups and NSSE overall, in percentage of students, for:
A level-of-academic-achievement question on whether students had to write more
than 10 papers or reports of five or fewer pages (29 percent).
Asked questions or "contributed to class discussions" (59 percent).
"Discussed grades or assignments with an instructor" (52 percent).
"Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework" (19
"Used an electronic medium to discuss or complete an assignment" (59
addition, 60 percent of freshmen and 62 percent of seniors said felt that
"the institution is committed to their success." These also are
higher than peers at statistically significantly levels.
do best on the level of academic challenge and the supportive campus environment,"
questions on which FHSU does less well, he said, are on active and
collaborative learning (ACL), which asked, "Are your students actively
involved in their learning, individually and working with others?" and
student-faculty interaction (SFI), which asked, "Do your students work
with faculty members inside and outside the classroom?" The ACL percentage
was 39 for freshmen and 45 for seniors, while SFI was 33 for freshmen and 39
consistently not done as well on these," he said. Crawford said those are
at least partially an "artifact of virtual learning."
have a high virtual participation, 20 percent for freshmen and 70 percent for
seniors," he said. "We've addressed it through seeking great
instructors for Virtual College classes. We're always looking for higher quality
heavy virtual component is also at play in the high numbers of hours
"providing care for dependents living with you, which for FHSU students
was an average of almost 10 hours per week, well above the peer group averages
of less than six.
said that FHSU has participated in NSSE because "it really is the best
national level engagement survey for freshmen and seniors." It is also the
only national benchmark survey in which FHSU has participated. It is part of
the "overall retention picture for the institution," he said, which
means, basically, keeping students in school.
more concerned with performance over time," he said.
examples, he pointed to how 2012 seniors responded to what he called "the
big-picture satisfaction" questions:
"How would you evaluate your entire education experience at this
institution?" FHSU got an average rating of 3.31 in 2012 on a 4-point
scale of 1 poor to 4 excellent.
In the category of educational and personal growth, one question was
"acquiring a broad general education." Seniors this year gave FHSU an
average rating of 3.31 on a 4-point scale of 1 very little to 4 very much.
In that same category and scale, the question of "acquiring job or
work-related knowledge and skills," 3.12.
Still in the educational and personal growth category and scale, "learning
effectively on your own": 3.22.
finally, Crawford pointed to one of the most telling "big-picture" questions:
"If you could start over again, would you go to the same institution you
are now attending?" Seniors this year, on a scale of 1 definitely no to 4
definitely yes, gave FHSU an average ranking of 3.39.
will not participate in next year's survey, which will be an extensive overhaul
of the survey as it has evolved over the last 13 years.
want to see how it plays out," said Crawford.