Enhancing Educational Practice
This brief presents summaries of four examples among myriad ways institutions can use student engagement results to inform efforts to enhance educational practice on their campuses including to strengthen a particular student outcome such as learning with technology, to align the curriculum and co-curriculum, to foster students’ mindset for learning, and to deepen faculty understanding of student feedback needs and expectations.
ENHANCING STUDENTS’ OFF‐ AND ON‐CAMPUS EXPERIENCES
Keuka College, an institution that emphasizes real-world experience, uses NSSE data to monitor student satisfaction and engagement in key educational experiences and to illuminate areas for improvement. The college’s First-Year Experience seminar is crucial because it is beginning students’ first opportunity to learn about the college’s Field Period®—a credit-bearing, off-campus learning opportunity that can resemble an internship or may take the form of community service, spiritual exploration, creative endeavor, cultural exploration, or international travel.
While Keuka College has been intentional in supporting its students through traditional methods like orientation and academic advising, NSSE results indicated first-year students reported low quality interactions with students, advisors, faculty, and staff—leading to conversations on campus about how best to foster interaction between firstyear students and other campus community members. Changes to the curriculum and campus culture were implemented. The first-year experience course was revamped to allow more opportunities for students to interact with faculty on topics such as multicultural education, adventure and recreation, and leadership. Advising and course registration were incorporated into new student orientation to encourage engagement with faculty. In fall 2016, every incoming student was assigned both a major advisor and a student success advisor, forming a team committed to collaborative and proactive support for each student’s persistence and success. As a participant in NSSE every other year, Keuka College is excited to see if these implemented changes enhance their Quality of Interaction scores.
MULTI‐YEAR FINDINGS SPARK EFFORTS TO IMPROVE FEEDBACK
Andrews University results from NSSE 2013 suggested students received less feedback from faculty than students at comparison institutions. However, these findings were met with skepticism from faculty, motivating further investigation to expand the understanding on campus of what constitutes effective feedback. To mitigate faculty apprehension about NSSE data, a separate survey was conducted asking students about the timeframe within which feedback should be given for different types of assignments and about the value of different types of feedback. Results from this survey indicated that over 80% of students valued most forms of feedback and that they expected feedback the next class period on quizzes and short assignments and within a week on larger assignments. The findings informed faculty of multiple ways they could provide feedback and of students’ needs and expectations for feedback. To evaluate the effects of this intervention, using their Multi-Year Report to compare NSSE 2013 and 2015 results, researchers tracked change in the Student- Faculty Interaction Engagement Indicator, revealing improvements in student engagement related to interaction with faculty by both first-year and senior students.
DEVELOPING A STUDENT MINDSET FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL LEARNING
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
In 2014, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology received a Kern Family Foundation grant to develop entrepreneurial minded learning (EML) opportunities that foster an entrepreneurial mindset and enterprising attitudes. To assess the impact of their efforts to infuse EML initiatives throughout the institution both in and outside the classroom, in their NSSE 2015 administration, Rose-Hulman appended the First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions Topical Module. A number of items in this module were identified as having the potential to measure progress toward EML goals—particularly, in the senior students’ section of the module, the items related to entrepreneurial skills, selfemployment, and starting your own business. The module findings are serving as benchmarks as Rose-Hulman extends EML initiatives across the institution. Even before readministering the module in 2018, which would provide data for longitudinal comparisons, Rose-Hulman used the existing data to examine what was already happening on their campus. Supporting greater use of NSSE results at the program-level and outlining a plan to employ student engagement results to monitor the infusion of EML have been effective approaches for making data use more widespread at Rose-Hulman.
MAPPING NSSE ITEMS AND DEVELOPING FACULTY
Carlow University maximizes information derived from NSSE results by using data from both the core survey and the Topical Modules. In 2014, Carlow administered NSSE and participated in two modules: Learning with Technology and Experiences with Information Literacy. Analysis of these data contributed to the articulation of explicit guidelines for a new core curriculum and specific faculty development initiatives for the improvement of instruction. Mapping Carlow’s NSSE results to clear action steps reimagined NSSE results in a single “crosswalk” chart, an easy-to-understand information display tool that delineated the connections between data and action. For example, low NSSE scores from seniors for faculty feedback on a draft or work in progress were addressed by creating various labs in specific skills, by implementing a writing-intensive curriculum in the critical exploration courses, and by embedding assessment checkpoints during junior-year seminars. Because the survey results also indicated participation rates in some High-Impact Practices (HIPs) were lower at Carlow than at other institutions, an action step called for the inclusion in the core curriculum of five HIPs: writing intensive curriculum, capstone courses, service-learning experiences, internships, and research opportunities with faculty.
Carlow’s results from NSSE’s Learning with Technology Topical Module indicated that Carlow students were less likely than their peers at other institutions to use certain technologies inside the classroom. To address this, Carlow organized an internal professional development institute focused on sharing faculty successes at implementing technology as a way to inform and motivate late adopters. Carlow will use data from future NSSE administrations to prove the effectiveness of these actions or to develop new strategies to enhance these measured outcomes.