Students encouraged to participate in national survey

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is participating in a nationwide survey designed to collect information about student participation in courses, programs and activities.

The National Survey of Student Engagement, in which UNL participates every three years, began Feb. 10 and is open to all first-year and senior students. The survey will be accessible to eligible students via a link on their MyUNL/Blackboard page,

UNL administrators use the survey results to improve the campus climate for student learning and engagement. This year's survey includes two new modules to assess student experiences with diverse perspectives and global learning.

“We use NSSE results to examine where we can improve as a campus in areas of teaching and learning,” said Amy Goodburn, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Our 2013 NSSE results indicated that we could improve in encouraging contact with students from different backgrounds and including diverse perspectives in courses, discussions and assignments. The two new modules will ask questions about students’ experiences with diverse perspectives and global learning so that we can pinpoint where we should prioritize our efforts for improvement.”

Some of the new global learning questions include:

* I frequently interact with people from a race/ethnic group different from my own;

* I consider different cultural perspectives when evaluating global problems; and

* I take into account different perspectives before drawing conclusions about the world around me.

The new questions on diverse perspectives ask students whether they have participated in events or class discussions in the current school year. Topics include economic or social inequality; issues of race, ethnicity or nationality; religious or philosophical differences; different political viewpoints; and issues of gender or sexual orientation.

Students also will be asked to assess the extent to which the institution offers events or activities that emphasize perspectives on societal differences (economic, ethnic, political, religious, etc.).

In addition to these questions, the NSSE asks undergraduates about their in- and out-of-class activities, what they feel they have gained from classes, their assessment of the quality of interactions with faculty and students, and other educational activities (such as undergraduate research, study abroad and internships).

UNL will receive an institutional scorecard of its results as well as comparison results to peer institutions.

Overall, the survey should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

“Students have a great opportunity to provide feedback that can make a difference,” Goodburn said. “The more responses we receive, the more we can disaggregate the data by college, giving deans information about how to improve teaching and learning in specific majors and programs.”

Eligible students should have received an email invitation to participate on Feb. 10. Reminders will be sent Feb. 18, March 1, March 7 and March 15.

Since its implementation in 2000, more than 1,300 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have administered the NSSE. For further information about the survey, contact Vanessa Roof at