Centre College rates high in new survey of education
RELEASED: Nov. 13, 2000
DANVILLE, KY - Centre College has received some of the highest marks in the nation on a new survey designed to evaluate the quality of higher education in America. The first report of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), issued today, showed that only Centre and three other liberal arts colleges scored in the top 20 percent in five categories that measure student engagement in active learning.
The final tabulation showed that Centre ranked well above other four-year colleges in terms of student interaction with faculty members, the level of academic challenge and the sense of support that students feel on campus. The college also rated high for encouraging independent reading, as well as provision of enrichment activities for students outside the classroom.
Centre and one other school, Antioch College in Ohio, were further singled out for praise based on evidence cited in the survey. The NSSE summary report noted that students at "Antioch College and Centre College are highly engaged in intellectually challenging activities, setting the standard for the liberal arts colleges in NSSE 2000."
Funded by a $3.3 million foundation grant and administered by Indiana University, the survey collected information from 63,000 students at 276 colleges and universities. The students were in either their first year or final year of college, and the final statistical analysis compared the two groups. Centre had a strong participation rate, with responses from 131 first-year students and 139 seniors (response rates of around 50 percent and 60 percent, respectively).
The NSSE report refers to this year's results as "benchmarks" and has indicated that the survey will be repeated on an annual basis.
According to Centre's dean, John C. Ward, survey responses by Centre students show that they appreciate the academic rigor at Centre. Even more gratifying, says Ward, is the evidence that Centre's education transforms students by encouraging them to read more independently, think critically, and synthesize information effectively.
Ward commented: "While US News and World Report does its ranking primarily on the basis of reputation, resources, and the strength of the incoming class, the NSSE report provides insight into how learning takes place on campus, regardless of external measures. Centre's faculty and staff are justifiably proud of the results presented by the NSSE report, feeling that its categories are truly meaningful , and not just measures of wealth or reputation."
Centre President John Roush said of the report: "Centre College is pleased to have data that confirms the quality of our educational program and, to a large measure, describes the life-changing experience offered to students in our classrooms, laboratories, and student life program. This report represents high praise, in particular, for our faculty, and that is well deserved."
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Public information coordinator: Patsi Barnes Trollinger