National Survey of Student Engagement to be offered to students


graph compiled by Trevor Tyle

Trevor Tyle, Campus Editor

The biennial National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) will be emailed to freshman and senior undergraduate students on Feb. 15.

The survey is offered at universities around the country and is used as an opportunity for students to provide feedback on their college experience. The data collected gives schools more insight into how to improve the quality of their educational opportunities.

“It’s something that the administration looks at to make policies that affect students, to better understand how we can improve, and to see how we’re doing relative to our peers,” said Susanne Condron, assessment coordinator for the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA). “It’s important for us to know if students are getting the types of educational experiences that they are setting out here to do.”

Many of the survey’s questions pertain to how students spend their time on and off-campus, the content of the courses they have taken and their interactions with various on-campus resources and employees. When the NSSE was last administered in 2016, it found that students’ experiences with academic advisers were rated high, while employees in other administrative offices, such as the registrar and financial aid, received lower scores.

“We’re ecstatic to see the increase in the appreciation of the advising that happens in the first year,” said Sara Webb, director of the First Year Advising Center. “We’ve put time and attention into making sure that students have a connection to someone, and that we’re paying attention, that we’re reaching out when we’re seeing things that don’t look so great and we’re celebrating the successes that they’re having, that there’s someone in their corner.”

Condron said there have been efforts to make services “more student-focused and easier for students to navigate” in response to the low ratings they received in 2016.

“We just want to emphasize that students’ voices are heard on this survey and that we take the information that they report very seriously and we use it to improve their experiences,” she said.

In addition to the impact the NSSE’s results can have on the improvement of campus as a whole, students who choose to participate will be entered in a drawing to win Oakland University gear, including OU water bottles, baseball hats, power boosts and hoodies.

The OIRA is hopeful that the incentives offered will lead to an increase in overall student feedback. The 2016 survey had 2,195 participants, an all-time high that they hope to exceed this year.

“By participating, it’s really allowing students to give us the feedback we’re going to need to do better—to do better as an institution, to do better in how we interact with them and to really benchmark what we’re providing,” Webb said. “Is it similar to, or having the same impact, as what other institutions are seeing? And really, that comparison is important, because students have choices of where they want to go to college, and we want to be a place that is doing the best that we can do for our students.”

Once it opens on Feb. 15, the NSSE will be available for students to take until the end of March.