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- Beginning College Survey for Student Engagement (BCSSE)
- National Survey of Student Engagement-2013 (NSSE)
- Cooperative Institutional Research Programs (CIRP) College Freshman Survey
- Cooperative Institutional Research Programs (CIRP) College Senior Survey
- Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology (ECAR)
- Advising Survey
- Essential Studies USAT (end-of-course evaluations) forms
- First-Year Experiences (FYEs)
- Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)
- National Survey of Student Engagement-2011 (NSSE)
- Sophomore Satisfaction Survey (SSS)
What experiences and expectations are typical of students who enroll at UND? This is the question addressed by the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement, a survey administered nationwide to determine the level of "engagement" that entering students had in high school and anticipate experiencing during college. The survey provides a great deal of information about entering first-year students, as these examples demonstrate.
• Students enrolling at UND feel less prepared for key academic tasks than do students elsewhere. For example, they are less confident in their preparation for critical and analytical thinking, for learning independently, and for writing effectively.
• On the other hand, new UND students were often very involved in class discussions while in high school and expect to continue that pattern in college. New students also frequently worked with peers on class projects, something that can be quite important for study in many of UND's majors.
The National Survey of Student Engagement or NSSE is a nationwide survey that allows UND to see how our students compare with those elsewhere in terms of their level of "engagement" on campus. And engagement matters: students who are more engaged are also more successful in college and happier with their college experience. First year and senior students take the survey, and we learned things like the following:
• First year (FY) students at UND spend an average of 14 hours per week preparing for class; seniors spend an average of 16 hours per week.
• In an academic year, first-year students at UND were assigned an average of 41 pages of writing and seniors estimated they were assigned 75 pages.
• A slight majority of UND students (56%) complete a "culminating senior experience", such as a capstone project, senior thesis or project, comprehensive examination, portfolio, etc. This percentage is significantly more than students at peer institutions.
• UND students do not participate in learning communities, service learning activities, internships, co-ops, or study abroad as much as students at other institutions do. We encourage you to get involved in these types of activities. Make the most of your college experience!
• Graduating seniors were quite well satisfied with their UND experience. The majority (85%) of seniors indicated that they would "probably" or "definitely" attend UND if they had to make the choice again.
The CIRP Freshman Survey provides baseline data that UND can use (in conjunction with the CIRP College Senior Survey) to study how students change between their first and last years of college. Students take the College Freshman Survey during Getting Started, answering questions about their plans for getting involved on campus, likely majors, aims for their education, and opinions. Here's a sample of what first-year students told us in the most recent survey.
The top five reasons that entering UND freshmen chose to attend UND were:
o Very good academic reputation (60%)
o Graduates get good jobs (52%)
o Cost of attending (41%)
o Good reputation for social activities (39%)
o Campus visit (37%)
The top five areas where entering UND students rated themselves as the "highest 10%" or "above average" when compared with the average person their age were:
o Drive to achieve (71%)
o Cooperativeness (66%)
o Academic ability (63%)
o Leadership ability (62%)
o Competitiveness (61%)
But relatively few entering UND students rated themselves as in the "highest 10%" or "above average" when compared with the average person their age in:
o Artistic ability (22%)
o Spirituality (29%)
o Public speaking ability (33%)
o Computer skills (33%)
o Popularity (34%)
Entering students in the most recent survey reported higher expectations for their likely campus involvement than did students in the previous survey. Examples of ways to be involved included being members of student organizations, volunteering, socializing with someone of another racial/ethnic group, studying abroad, and participating in student government. Despite that increase, UND students were significantly less likely to anticipate getting involved in these activities than were students at peer institutions.
The CIRP College Senior Survey allows UND to find out how students change during their years in college. Students answer questions about their plans for getting involved on campus, likely major, goals for college, and opinions. Here is a bit of what we found out last year.
- Senior students were less satisfied in 2013 than they had been in 2009 with the services received for career planning (based on those reporting very satisfied or satisfied to the survey items). Career counseling satisfaction rates dropped from almost 80% to 60%, and job placement services satisfaction rates dropped from 63% to 44%. These drops in satisfaction might have been influenced by a big decrease in the number of students who reported having discussed their career plans with an adviser or counselor. These are definitely numbers that UND will be watching in future years.
- In addition, students were less satisfied with instruction (76% vs. 91% satisfied) and with general education courses (65% vs. 85% satisfied) in 2013 as compared to 2009.
- Students believed that they engaged in and had strong abilities in critical thinking (98%), problem solving (72%), and integration of skills and knowledge (78%).
- More students planned to pursue the Ph.D. However, fewer planned to pursue a master's degree or a degree in law or medicine.
- Students see themselves as exceptionally tolerant and skilled at working with diverse people. More than 80% of the respondents rated themselves as above average or in the top 10% (compared to the typical person their age) regarding their ability to see the world from someone else's perspective, to be tolerant of others with different beliefs, and to work cooperatively with diverse people. These are key strengths that UND emphasizes within the Essential Studies program as well as within many majors.
The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology is designed to tell UND about student use of and comfort with various kinds of educational technology. According to the most recent survey results,
• 97% own a laptop computer and 73% of them use a Windows operating system;
• 48% own a desktop computer and 89% of them use a Windows operating system;
• 83% do not use tablets and 86% do not use e-readers;
• 58% own smartphones and they are divided basically evenly between iPhone and Android.
UND students rate their instructors more highly for technology use than do students at other institutions. They describe faculty as able to use technology effectively to improve student success, use "the right kind of technology," and use technology to aid understanding. They also say faculty have the technical skills necessary to teach effectively and they provide students with training for technology used in their courses. Despite that, students appreciate face-to-face interactions with their instructors when they need to communicate.
Students like the ways in which technology
1) helps them achieve their academic goals and prepares them for their future academic and workplace activities,
2) broadens their ability to explore blended learning environments,
3) expands how they can use their mobile devices especially when they are getting encouragement from their instructors to do so, and
4) enhances connectivity and engagement but within limits – students make clear distinctions between their academic and social lives.
Most students rated the advising process as positive. Well over half (62%) of students indicated that they were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their academic advising experience at UND. What areas of advising could use improvement? Students noted that they would benefit from more discussion of career choices during meetings with advisers.
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is one of the most important student surveys that UND conducts. First-year and senior students are asked to participate. What have faculty and administrators at UND learned about students from the most recent NSSE survey?
- Students say they feel supported at UND and that UND cares about their success. Most students would attend UND again if they could start over.
- On the other hand, UND could improve on providing certain kinds of learning activities that are known to have an especially high impact on student learning. For example, it would be good to have more students doing internships, traveling abroad, and working on independent research projects under the direction of faculty. Students at other universities are taking advantage of these opportunities more often than students at UND. These types of experiences make you more competitive for jobs, so take the extra initiative to participate in them.
- NSSE includes a great deal more information, including answers to questions broken down by college. If you would like to learn more about how students in your college score on NSSE questions, go to this web link:
What do student responses to the end-of-course evaluation form questions about Essential Studies tell their faculty about the program?
• Most student respondents in 2011-12 believed they were improving on the Essential Studies skills, especially in the area of critical thinking.
• Students in Social Science classes saw themselves learning a great deal about Social-Cultural Diversity.
• A number of students scored their learning of ES skills at the top level of 4.0 (on a 1.0-4.0 scale), although 3.0 was the mostly commonly selected score.
For more information, please see the charts of scores at this website: http://und.edu/research/institutional-research/_files/docs/usat/ess-summary.pdf
Sophomores surveyed in the Sophomore Satisfaction Survey provided information about what they're learning and how they're spending their time. Two examples are as follows:
• 69% of sophomores report spending less than 10 hours per week watching TV, contrary to the stereotype sometimes portrayed in books or movies.
• When asked how much their UND experience has contributed to their learning, students reported gains in many areas – but the biggest gain was in developing skills for learning on their own.
Read more by clicking on the full report, which you'll find at this web address: http://und.edu/research/institutional-research/surveys/soph-2012.cfm
UND surveys faculty as well as students! Here's what we learned in the recent Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (complete survey can be found at this link: http://und.edu/research/institutional-research/surveys/2011-fsse.cfm)
• Faculty, generally, place a high level of importance on students having the kinds of learning experiences that are often described as "high impact educational practices" because they are known to have an especially positive impact on student learning. These include activities such as community service/volunteer work; internship, co-op or clinical experiences; research with a faculty member; study abroad; and, senior capstone experiences.
• That said, with the exception of service/volunteer work, the numbers of seniors completing these high impact activities or planning to complete them are lower than faculty would like to see. Study abroad in particular has low participation, as does undergraduate research with a faculty member. As UND improves on providing these high-impact learning activities, take the extra initiative to participate in them - these types of experiences make you more competitive for jobs.
• UND faculty are organizing their courses so that students develop critical and analytical thinking/problem-solving skills. Over three-quarters of UND faculty members indicate that much of that kind of learning and skill development occurs now in classrooms that emphasize active, student-directed, small group learning during class (classes no longer involve simply sitting in lecture). Faculty call this the "flipped classroom" – and it's good for student learning.
UND offers a variety of (optional) First-Year Experiences (FYEs) for students starting college. Among the opportunities currently available are First-year Seminars, Introduction to University Life courses, the Integrated Studies Program, the first-year components of the Honors Program, and a living/learning community sponsored by the College of Engineering and Mines. We've used surveys to find out how these are working from the perspective of students taking part. Here's some of what we've learned.
• Students reported that they expected to be "more engaged in academically important activities" in their first year of college than they actually were.
• Those taking FYE courses said that their experiences in those courses helped them to be more reflective about their own learning.
• About 75% of the students in the First-Year Seminars felt they engaged in activities that promoted "active and collaborative" learning. This is a kind of learning that's often described as "high-impact" because it makes such a big difference in a student's academic success. So that's good news for those taking the seminars, and good news for UND.