Courtesy of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
The National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement (NASCE) will be offered to Oakland University undergraduate students beginning Monday, Oct. 8.
Developed by Siena College Research Institute Drs. Don Levy and Mathew Johnson, the survey is intended to measure the community engagement of universities across the country. It was last distributed to OU students in 2015, receiving nearly 2,500 participants—16 percent of the overall student population.
The survey also fulfills one of the goals of the Office of the President’s strategic plan—“become a leader in serving the needs and aspirations of our communities and region through expanded community relationships, institutional reputation and visibility, and engagement.”
Since the NASCE was last distributed, several efforts have been implemented on campus to increase service opportunities for students. University officials are hoping the efforts will improve the results of this year’s survey.
“They’re putting more emphasis on the importance of community service with students,” said Susanne Condron, assessment coordinator for the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA). “So, we’re hoping that we’ll see greater levels of service from students.”
However, previous survey results also reflected that community involvement could be difficult for students due to busy work schedules.
“OU students work a lot,” Condron said. “We realize that’s a barrier, but even just trying to get people involved, even for one or two hours a month—any little bit can really help.”
The NASCE asks students about their experience in community service projects across nine different domains of human need—civic, economic, environmental, health, youth, homelessness, elder care, hunger and religious. Many of these domains, Condron said, are already a part of many students’ daily lives.
“Students may not really be thinking about all that they’re doing to support their community, both the OU community and the broader community in which they live or where they work,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for students to reflect on all of the ways that they are contributing and giving back, when they might not be consciously thinking of what they’re doing as community service.”
Condron further credited internships, service-oriented student organizations and courses with service components for helping students stay involved in their own communities.
“I think it helps students think about the world from other perspectives,” junior Isaac Culos said of the importance of service opportunities for college students.
Condron said the NASCE results are also important because they could help OU qualify for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, which recognizes universities’ commitments to community engagement.
However, she affirmed that the most important reason to take the NASCE was to promote the significance of students’ involvement in their communities both on and off campus.
“It gives an opportunity to really enrich your educational experience with practical, on-the-ground application,” Condron said. “When you actually talk to someone who’s experiencing poverty or homelessness or some of these real social issues, it brings it more to life for you, and you can understand the importance of trying to create a world where these things are not such an issue.”
The NASCE will be emailed to students on Monday, Oct. 8 and will be available to take through Friday, Oct. 19. Additionally, the OIRA will have tables in the Oakland Center for students to take the survey in-person as well. Those who complete the survey will have the opportunity to win OU-themed prizes and a reserved study room in Kresge Library during finals week.
For more information, visit the OIRA website or call the OIRA at (248) 370-2387.