The central purpose of NSSE Institute is to extend understanding of effective educational practice and help institutions use student engagement results to improve teaching and learning. To that end, NSSE Institute works with a variety of organizations and institutions on special projects to advance the study of student engagement, convene stakeholders for institutes and workshops to explore topics of mutual interest, conduct research on effective educational practice, consult with institutions and systems about using student engagement results and other data, and explore approaches to using data to assess and improve the undergraduate student experience.
Past and current projects include:
Engaging Latino Students for Transfer and College Completion. This partnership between NSSE and the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at The University of Texas at Austin, with support from the Kresge Foundation and the Greater Texas Foundation, focuses on building and extending the knowledge base on the largest underserved, underrepresented, and fastest-growing minority population in the US. Following analyses of survey data on the experiences of Latinos in community colleges and bachelor’s institutions, an intensive 2½ day institute, in collaboration with Excelencia in Education, will provide partner institutions with actionable information and strategies for strengthening the engagement experiences of Latino students and facilitating their successful transfer and college completion.
Spencer Foundation Project: Learning to Improve. Using multi-year data from NSSE, this study identifies institutions that show a pattern of positive improvement on a robust set of measures of effective educational practice over at least four observations. Then, to inquire into the institutional change process, the study uses a mixed-methods approach to document institutional improvement and change initiatives in higher education—as well as contributing to the literature and current discussions about educational reform.
Project DEEP: Documenting Effective Educational Practice. NSSE collaborated with the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) on an initiative examining the daily activities of educationally effective colleges and universities in order to understand what they do to promote student success. Case studies of 20 high-performing colleges and universities of various sizes and types provided information regarding their higher-than-predicted graduation rates and higher-than-predicted scores on five NSSE clusters of effective educational practice.
BEAMS: Building Engagement and Attainment for Minority Students. BEAMS, a 5-year initiative to improve retention, achievement, and institutional effectiveness at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), entailed institutions using evidence from NSSE and other sources to analyze the scope and character of students' engagement in their learning. Results included institutions implementing action plans to improve engagement, learning, persistence, and success.
CIC-CLA Consortium Project. This initiative involves the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) continued work with a consortium of institutions using a specific instrument, the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), combined with NSSE to understand educational and programmatic features associated with gains in students’ analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and writing skills.
Wabash College Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (CILA) Projects. NSSE is being used with cohorts of the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education (WNSLAE), a longitudinal assessment of liberal arts outcomes, to explore the relationship between engagement and a variety of outcomes measures.
Parsing the First Year of College Project. This Penn State project uses NSSE and other data to map the comprehensive influences affecting student learning and persistence during the first year among new students entering 34 institutions nationwide. The study examines first-year student success as it is shaped by students’ experiences; the peer environment; faculty members’ values and activities; and internal institutional structures, practices, and policies.