NSSE eNews is a periodic electronic newsletter created to keep NSSE users and others informed about current project activities.
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- 2nd Annual Teaching and Learning National Institute—Apply Now to Join Us!
- NSSE 2017 Launched! New Content and Enhanced Services
- Topical Module Local Administration Option Now Available
- Check Out Our New Blog—NSSE Sightings
- Oregon Tech Uses NSSE to Explore Learning Outcomes Achievements
- BCSSE 2017 Survey and Interface Improvements
- FSSE 2017 Update and New Webinar
- Webinars Update
- NSSE at AIR 2017 Annual Forum
- Don’t Be Confused! NSSE Is Not Affiliated with the "U.S. Student Survey"
- Quality Instruction to Be Recognized: Global Teaching Excellence Award
2nd Annual Teaching and Learning National Institute—Apply Now to Join Us!
Putting NSSE results to use can improve the quality of the undergraduate experience. However, it is challenging to find the time and the environment to assemble the right people to plan these changes. To support campuses in their efforts, we are sponsoring the 2nd annual Teaching and Learning National Institute (TLNI): Using Evidence for Improvement, to be held July 30–August 2, 2017, at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
NSSE participating institutions are encouraged to apply. The review of applications begins March 1, but space is limited.
At last summer’s institute, teams of faculty, student affairs professionals, institutional researchers, and administrators from 29 two-year and four-year institutions used evidence, first, to identify areas of the student experience to strengthen and, then, drawing from known successful practices, to construct more effective approaches both in and outside the classroom.
Teams applied diverse uses of NSSE results to:
- align curriculum and co-curriculum;
- enhance a particular student learning outcome;
- design faculty development programs tied to student learning goals; and
- reshape general education.
Work by the campus teams was scaffolded with sessions that informed their action plans and c teams worked with resource faculty who facilitated their processes and provided feedback on draft plans.
TLNI is a partnership of NSSE, Achieving the Dream, Inc., the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (WSBCTC).
For more information, visit or contact Jillian Kinzie
NSSE 2017 Launched! New Content and Enhanced Services
More than two million students at 720 U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities will receive invitations to complete NSSE 2017. This administration includes several new changes to the instrument and design as well as enhancements to boost student response, to improve data quality, and to enable customized reporting.
- The infrequently selected Experiences with Diverse Perspectives Topical Module has been replaced with a new module, titled Inclusiveness and Engagement with Cultural Diversity.
- All NSSE respondents using the survey’s desktop format will experience a new survey design, similar to that of the mobile format, launched in 2016, which has been shown to improve data quality.
- Over 150 institutions have elected to post the survey link to their learning management systems and student portals, easing student participation.
- NSSE’s IRB protocol now allows institutions to send directly to students 2 additional IRB-approved recruitment email messages—raising to 7 the maximum number of direct promotional contacts with students.
- This year, all survey respondents have the opportunity to answer NSSE’s sexual orientation question, increasing the capacity of NSSE and participating institutions for in-depth analysis of under-studied student subpopulations.
- For the first time, institutions will be able to designate which students to include in their NSSE reports, depending on their specific assessment goals.
These new developments reflect NSSE’s desire both to stay current with the various trends in higher education and to remain attuned to our institutional users and their needs.
Topical Module Local Administration Option Now Available
NSSE is pleased to announce that its popular Topical Modules—question sets on designated topics appended to the core survey during standard administrations—will now be available to recently participating institutions for separate local administration during an institution’s NSSE "off-year." In the local administration option, all aspects of survey administration are managed by the institution, giving it the flexibility to use the modules for tailored assessment and improvement activities such as:
- assessing initiatives to enhance advising practices with Academic Advising;
- targeting the breadth of cultural understanding in a student population with Global Learning;
- collecting baseline data on the quality of student writing assignments with Experiences with Writing and assessing the impact of improvement efforts with a follow-up administration;
- evaluating grant activities to enhance educational technology usage on campus with Learning with Technology; and
- studying the impact of diversity programs on the experiences of specific student groups with Inclusiveness and Engagement with Cultural Diversity.
The 9 Topical Modules currently available are question sets on academic advising, first-year experiences and senior transitions, writing experiences, global learning, civic engagement, experiences with diversity, development of transferable skills, experiences with information literacy, and learning with technology. To learn more about what a local administration entails, fees, and getting started, go to our website.
Check Out Our New Blog—NSSE Sightings
Unlike our elusive namesake from the depths of Loch Ness, our blog makes information on student engagement easy to find.
NSSE Sightings shares current findings and much more from NSSE, BCSSE, FSSE, and other projects at the Center for Postsecondary Research. This new blog features publications, presentations, webinars, examples from institutions, and opinion pieces or interviews on engagement-related topics.
Recent blog posts include:
- Differences in Biracial Student Engagement
- NSSE Thanks Dr. Pat Hutchings for Her Service
- Student Affairs + NSSE Data: Webinar Recap
- NSSE Researchers Present at the 2017 Dalton Institute on College Student Values
- The Latest Review of Higher Education: We’re in It!
- Support for Learners Links to Academic Effort, Academic Performance, and Retention
- Time Use During College: Is It Study or Party Time?
- Optimizing Surveys for Smartphones? Yes, It’s Important!
Oregon Tech Uses NSSE to Explore Learning Outcomes Achievements
For institutions examining their achievement of student learning outcomes, NSSE offers an in-depth look at behaviors related to student learning. In 2013, Oregon Institute of Technology began reviewing its general education curriculum to find ways to ensure student achievement of the Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLO) including knowledge and skills in oral and written communication, effective collaboration, and critical thinking. In this review, integral to investigating disparities between the ISLOs and students’ performance were NSSE data and reports including results on the Reflective and Integrative Learning Engagement Indicator, the type and frequency of participation in High-Impact Practices (HIPs), reports on perceived gains, and data from the Experiences with Information Literacy Topical Module. Findings showed that while first-year students were on par with their peers from comparable institutions, seniors were less engaged than their peers—confirming concerns that Oregon Tech’s general education foundation was not sufficiently reinforced throughout students’ educational experience at the institution.
The review of these findings initiated a redesign of Oregon Tech’s general education structure to intertwine the ISLOs throughout the general education and major courses. One approach was to better incorporate HIPs into the general education curriculum. For example, although NSSE results showed that most students completed a capstone project, this HIP had just been an expectation; in the redesigned curriculum, it became a requirement of all students. In another approach, Oregon Tech designed and implemented a collaborative, interdisciplinary experience for their junior students to increase their engagement in areas related to NSSE’s Reflective and Integrative Learning Engagement Indicator. Oregon Tech’s new general education curriculum, approved in April 2016, is now being implemented, and a future NSSE administration is planned to assess its impact. Institutional NSSE data offer a map for stakeholders at Oregon Tech to celebrate achievements in student learning while also presenting guidance on opportunities for future enhancements.
BCSSE 2017 Survey and Interface Improvements
More than 75,000 entering first-year students at 129 institutions participated in BCSSE 2016, and we are looking forward to another great year—with registration for BCSSE 2017 opening on March 1.
During recent months, BCSSE staff have implemented several improvements to the survey and the Institution Interface. One improvement added survey items asking students about whom they expect to seek academic help from during their first year of college. These items are aligned with complementary items on NSSE’s First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions Topical Module. Results from these new items will be included on an enhanced BCSSE Advising Report providing additional important information for advisors working with first-year students.
These changes, along with others, will be presented on April 18th by Jim Cole, BCSSE Project Manager, in a free live webinar that will also discuss using results from BCSSE and the First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions module. Further information about the webinar can found here.
BCSSE 2017 registration opens March 1, 2017, and continues through the summer. Details about BCSSE participation and registration are at the links below and here.
Questions or requests? Email BCSSE at firstname.lastname@example.org
FSSE 2017 Update and New Webinar
With more than 150 institutions set to participate in this year’s Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), a new Topical Module on inclusiveness and engagement with cultural diversity, and survey text updated to better reflect campus populations—FSSE 2017 is off to a great start! Along with these areas of growth, FSSE will continue its practice of returning to participating institutions their instructional staff’s demographic responses to allow for further campus-level analysis. In a free live webinar in February, now available for viewing at the Webinar Archive, FSSE staff discussed these changes and other aspects of the survey—focusing particularly on how to use demographic data to explore the influences of faculty characteristics on behaviors such as effective teaching practices, engagement in high-impact practices, and time spent in and outside the classroom. Following an overview of the FSSE instrument and the demographic information it collects, the webinar presenters will show attendees how to use demographics in their own institutional research, will discuss the limitations of this type of analysis, and will answer participants’ questions. The techniques demonstrated in the webinar with FSSE examples can also be used with NSSE data. Contact us with questions.
"Ask Me Anything—NSSE Research Analysts," featured two of NSSE’s most experienced analysts discussing NSSE data, reports, and resources in response to questions received from the webinar’s registration and chat function. After reviewing NSSE analysis resources, the analysts offered participants support in their own data analysis that included tips for analyzing key performance indicators, considering multiyear analysis, and using the online Report Builder. The recording and slides for this webinar can be accessed from NSSE’s Webinar Archive.
NSSE has several webinars scheduled for spring. In February, FSSE reviewed how to explore the influence of faculty characteristics on teaching practices. The March webinar offers insight into data analysis for often-ignored small subpopulations on campus. In April, BCSSE provides an overview of the 2017 survey, highlighting new items on students’ academic help-seeking and explaining changes to the BCSSE Advising Report.
All webinars are recorded and available for viewing anytime. If you have suggestions for topics for future webinars to support your data use, please let us know at email@example.com.
NSSE at AIR 2017 Annual Forum
NSSE will be well represented at the upcoming Association for Institutional Research (AIR) Annual Forum in Washington, DC—in our staff’s paper presentations, demonstrations, and at our NSSE-hosted special interest group meeting. The following is a sample from the many events that institutions will find useful and interesting. Come join us if you plan to attend the conference!
Automate It: Optimize Your IR Workflow Using SPSS Macros
Brendan Dugan and Kevin Fosnacht
Evolving Identities: Survey Changes Over Time
Allison BrckaLorenz and Jana Clark
High School Engagement, College Expectation, and First-Year Engagement
Lanlan Mu and Jim Cole
Improving Survey Data Quality Through Experimentation
Shimon Sarraf and James Cole
Using Write-In Responses to Improve Survey Measures
Allison BrckaLorenz and Bridget Yuhas
NSSE Data Visualization to Inspire Action on Results
Jillian Kinzie, John Zlivinskis, and NSSE Users, Jeanie Gutheil-Bykerk, Polly Prewitt-Freilino, Craig Abbey and Jeff Burrow
Don’t Be Confused! NSSE Is Not Affiliated With the "US Student Survey"
NSSE-participating schools and their students have recently received survey invitations from a new project called the "US Student Survey." Because these solicitations may be confusing, we want to provide a few points of clarification. The "US Student Survey" is sponsored by Times Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal and has no affiliation with NSSE or Indiana University. Although some of the survey content is similar, NSSE’s mission and administration practices are very different. First and foremost, NSSE has never—and will never—publicly rank colleges and universities. NSSE’s primary goal is to improve undergraduate education by providing institutions reliable diagnostic information about practices that affect student learning and success. In terms of administration practices, NSSE always partners with colleges and universities to collect survey responses, allowing for campus survey coordination so that students do not receive multiple survey invitations concurrently. To ensure data quality and comparability of institutional results, NSSE closely reviews the student contact files provided by schools and employs a standard administration protocol. Furthermore, NSSE’s IRB-approved protocol ensures the security of students’ contact information and responses in their use for the intended purpose only.
Quality Instruction to Be Recognized: Global Teaching Excellence Award
NSSE Director Alex McCormick has been named to the international judging panel for the inaugural Global Teaching Excellence Award (GTEA). Organized by the UK's Higher Education Academy, the GTEA will recognize institution-wide efforts to support excellence in teaching and learning.