Student engagement survey starts Feb. 5

UNL will participate in the National Survey of Student Engagement starting Feb. 5.

The survey is a nationwide instrument that collects information from hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that provide opportunities for learning and personal development. The NSSE surveys all first-year and senior bachelor’s degree-seeking students.

This is the fifth year UNL has participated in the survey. Previous years are 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

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. Results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and their opinions of what they gain from attending college. This year UNL will be piloting a new module that asks students their opinions about academic advising services.

“We are very excited to review the data from the advising modules,” said Bill Watts, director of campus advising services and assistant dean for student success in Arts and Sciences. “Over the past year, we have implemented the MyPLAN system as well as added additional advisors to support students. We are very interested in students’ evaluation of these changes.”

Data from the 2010 NSSE reported that only 52 percent of UNL’s first-year students felt they would graduate in four years. Amy Goodburn, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said the same figure at peer institutions was 73 percent.

“As a result, Academic Affairs used this information to change the way we talk to students about graduation goals, as well as integrating academic messages in our programming to encourage more planning.”

In addition to direct survey responses, UNL receives and reviews comparison responses from other institutions. Students will receive an email invitation to participate on Feb. 5, followed by reminders. The entire online survey takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Faculty and staff should encourage students to complete the survey.

Since its implementation in 2000, more than 1,300 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have administered the NSSE, and NSSE reports 619 institutions will participate in the spring of 2013.