Survey to evaluate student involvement

Seniors and freshmen have the opportunity to tell Linfield about their experiences by completing a nationwide survey conducted by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research titled the National Survey of Student Engagement.

“The more we can learn about what students are experiencing, the more we can improve the experience,” Vice President for Enrollment Services Dan Preston said.

Students have until June 1 to complete the NSSE. Sophomores and juniors are not part of the surveyed group.

“There’s an increasing expectation that we assess what students are doing, how many are involved in certain types of activities and what that means for their educational experience,” Preston said.

Colleges and universities across the nation participate in the NSSE to learn about what Preston called high-impact educational practices that students partake in.

The survey allows colleges and universities to evaluate their students’ college experiences and use the information to improve their programs.

The survey accounts for items such as how many students study abroad, how many attend campus cultural events, etc.

Preston said the NSSE is a good source of information for Linfield because it shows change in student interest over time (Linfield participated in the study in 2005 and 2007) and compares with other schools. NSSE results are evaluated three ways: one, against schools Linfield chooses to be compared with; two, against schools comparable to Linfield; and three, against all colleges and universities that participated in the survey.

The survey comes at a critical time for Linfield because of new accreditation standards and processes that the school must adhere to.

The new accreditation system requires Linfield to develop themes and objectives (“Accreditation changes: Core themes are endorsed,” TLR, March 5) and be accountable for meeting them and evaluating their achievement on a yearly basis instead of every 10 years.

The data will help Linfield in terms of accreditation, budgeting and strategic planning, Director of Institutional Research Jennifer Ballard said.

Linfield will receive more information than ever before from the results because of other surveys the school has and plans to participate in. Freshmen took the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BSSE) in Colloquium in the fall. Ballard said the BSSE gauges student engagement in high school and anticipated engagement during their freshman year.

Because freshmen are now participating in the NSSE, “we’ll look at the contrast between what their expectations were of their first year and what actually happened,” Ballard said.

She said faculty will participate in the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), which measures what activities faculty members think students participate in at Linfield, in the fall.

“Then we have a picture that includes what entering students expect to experience, what faculty expect students to experience and what at least freshmen and seniors are experiencing, plus a snapshot versus other colleges,” Preston said about the combined results of the NSSE, BSSE and FSSE.

Ballard said students can find a link to the survey in an April 6 reminder email about the study.

Kelley Hungerford/Editor-in-chief
Kelley Hungerford can be reached at

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