Whether institutions are new to NSSE or have participated for many years, each campus faces the question of how to best get data and results to leaders and practitioners who can effect change. Volume 4 of Lessons from the Field includes a number of stories from institutions that have intentionally developed tools, reports, data visualizations, and presentations to give wide campus audiences better access to and information about the actionable information NSSE provides. From creating data dashboards, to tailoring reports for trustees, offices and units, the stories below offer a range of suggestions for how to best get the word out about NSSE data.
At Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the Office of Institutional Research and Decisions Support has embraced Tableau as their data visualization tool of choice. By mapping NSSE results to IUPUI's Principals of Undergraduate Learning, campus Tableau users are able to disaggregate results by student characteristics or high-impact practice (HIP) participation, as well as see comparative results from peer institutions. Opening access to this information has allowed the institution to put data directly into the hands of those who want to know more about their department's or unit's contribution to various goals and practices on campus.
Broadening dissemination of NSSE results to important stakeholders who guide and influence institutional decision-making is also important. At St. Olaf College, the Board of Regents' interest in examining the quality of the student experience at the institution led the Institutional Research and Effectiveness office to share NSSE's metrics on HIP participation. Seeing the comprehensive picture of student engagement in HIPs, contextualized with comparison group results, allowed the Board greater insight into student engagement on campus and provided a data-driven foundation from which to offer recommendations.
In concert with faculty and governing boards, student affairs professionals are also deeply invested in facilitating quality student experiences on campus. At the University of Minnesota Duluth, the Division of Student Life looked to NSSE data on retention and student success in the context of meeting the needs of diverse student populations. By discussing data points on access to academic support, interactions with campus staff, and outside demands on student time (family, work, etc.), the Division gained a deeper understanding of the challenges facing some of their student populations and ways in which they could better meet student needs.
As the demand for more data-driven decision making across all campus departments and units increases, these institutional stories provide guidance for ways in which NSSE data can support institution-wide planning and discussion. For more details about the examples above and many others, read our Lessons from the Field volumes. You can also use this search tool for more examples of NSSE, FSSE, and BCSSE data use examples. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please feel free to share it with us here.