USAO Students Opinions Sought With NSSE
For the fifth year in a row, freshmen and seniors at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma have the opportunity to participate in a national survey in which they can rate the university on academic challenge, active learning and student-faculty interaction.
Students have until April 9 to complete the online or print survey in order to be eligible for a prize drawing. Students can still complete their survey after this date, but will not be eligible for the drawing. The national survey ends in early June.
The assessment is part of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE – commonly called 'nessie'). It is an assessment that focuses on how effectively universities engage their students in academic endeavors by going to the source -- the students.
The 85-question survey asks first-year students and seniors how involved they are with their studies, professors, and the campus community, all of which have proven effective in bolstering student learning. The survey is administered by USAO's Assessment Center. USAO is one of nine colleges and universities in Oklahoma taking part in the program in 2010. A total of 450 USAO students have been invited to participate in the survey.
The survey measures an institution in five benchmark areas, which schools can compare against national averages for institutions of their type. The benchmarks include level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment. Survey results are important for institutional growth and student recruitment, said Anna Marie Pratt, institutional research assistant at USAO.
"The statement that 'you cannot fix what you do not know is broken' comes to mind. The student perception of what is working and what is not is invaluable to the university as it highlights what students are concerned about," Pratt said.
The survey at USAO began in February and ends in early June. The 2010 survey results are scheduled to be complete in August with a final report issued in November. A total of 164 students participated in the 2009 survey, but greater participation is needed from students, Pratt said.
"USAO students are missing their invitation to take this survey. The surveys are sent to their postal addresses as listed in their permanent records and reminder letters are sent via their USAO e-mail address. We need students to check their mail, read the invitation letters and complete the survey."
The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and each student should have received a paper copy in the mail. The survey also is available online. Participation in last year's survey at USAO was 29.54 percent. Incentives have been added to increase student participation.
"We incorporated a $100 incentive in 2007 and repeated it in 2008. We added additional incentives for the 2009 survey. This year's incentives include 10 cash awards of $5, four $6 free meal awards, three $10 meal awards, one large pizza award (valued at $10), four drink awards (valued at $4), three duffle bag awards (valued at $18) and one $100 cash award.
"The incentives will be awarded as a result of a drawing of names of students who have completed the survey. We don't know how the student responded in the survey, we only know that the student completed the form and is eligible for the drawing," Pratt said.
USAO was a part of a NSSE pilot test in 2002 and has participated in the survey since 2004.
"USAO was asked by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to take part in NSSE in 2004 because USAO was becoming a part of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). NSSE also was tied to the Mission Enhancement Plan and has been helpful in providing some feedback of how the MEP is working," Pratt said.
The NSSE results can provide prospective students with insights into how they might learn and develop at a given college.
"The NSSE survey results are beginning to be used by universities as a means to help prospective students get a different picture of the university. Some universities are placing the results on their websites. The criteria are evolving and it is anticipated that the NSSE surveys may very well be an important factor in future standings in national rankings," Pratt said.
Results of the 2008 NSSE survey are available on the USAO website at www.usao.edu/infoservices/institutionalresearch.php.
"Students who have not received a letter from Dr. Huguenin informing them of the test may call the Assessment Office for additional information at 574-1281," Pratt said.