"Nessie" survey reports Centre a national leader in "student engagement"
RELEASED: Jan. 11, 2007
DANVILLE, KY—The results are in for the 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, pronounced "nessie") administered by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. Once again Centre College ranks among national leaders in student engagement compared both to liberal arts colleges nationwide and selected colleges in Centre's peer group of selective colleges.
In four of five engagement categories (or "benchmarks"), Centre students' scores were higher than the average of the "high-performing institutions," defined as schools with benchmark ratings in the top 10 percent of all U.S. NSSE institutions. Centre was ranked highest in the engagement category of Supportive Campus Environment, which means that Centre students find that the College promotes and cultivates positive working and social relationships among different groups on campus. Centre also ranks highly in the categories of Level of Academic Challenge, Student-Faculty Interaction and Enriching Educational Experiences.
Most comparisons among colleges are made on the basis of reputation and inputs. For example, the ranking system used by U.S. News and World Report, in which Centre ranks in the national top 50 (highest ranking of any Kentucky institution), depends on perceived prestige, finances and admissions data.
However, NSSE relies on students' views of the outcomes of their education—in other words, what actually happens after they enroll. The NSSE survey asks questions such as: How many hours do you study? How often do you talk to faculty members or students with different political beliefs? What are some of your outside-the-classroom activities?
Research shows that the best predictor of learning and personal development among college students is the amount of time they spend "engaged" in their own education. NSSE is designed to measure the extent to which colleges effectively engage students in their education.
The 2006 NSSE results are based on surveys completed by approximately 260,000 randomly selected first-year students and seniors from 523 institutions. They measure student engagement in five key areas:
* Level of academic challenge
* Student interactions with faculty
* Enriching educational experiences
* Supportive campus environment
In all of these areas, Centre's scores were above the mean scores of national liberal arts colleges.
"We're exceeding the goals that NSSE has set for us as a college," Roush says. "High school students and their families should use NSSE measures to see which colleges do the best job in helping students learn. Centre's results in the survey are one more clear indication that Centre students are intensely and personally challenged to achieve their educational goals."
Centre has participated in NSSE every year since the survey began in 2000 and is one of only a handful of colleges to have participated every year and made all of its NSSE results available to the public.
Participation in NSSE, and the release of results to the public, is voluntary, although certain states, including Kentucky, require that their state institutions of higher learning take part and publish their results.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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