Students rate Xavier well for academics and image in a national survey released recently

The National Survey of Student Engagement surveyed 904 Xavier students among 380,000 at 722 four-year schools | November 10, 2008

Results of a national survey of college students found that a majority of Xavier freshmen have a favorable image of the University, and most seniors would select Xavier again if they were just starting their college careers.

The National Survey of Student Engagement surveyed 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students this year at 722 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. including  904 students at Xavier.

The 2008 report, released Monday, Nov. 10, found overall that “the quality of undergraduate education varies far more within colleges and universities than between them.” It also found that students spend about half as much time preparing for class as their faculty expect them to, “suggesting that we in the higher education community need to examine whether we are truly holding students accountable for their side of the educational equation.”

The report, “Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within,” produced individual reports for each participating institution that compare them to groups of similar schools and help them see accomplishments as well as areas where they can make improvements. The survey encourages institutions to “look within” and examine variations in students’ experiences as revealed by the results.

“Improving the experience of your least engaged students may be the most effective way to raise your benchmark scores and improve your overall institutional quality,” the report says.

Five key areas measured by the survey are: the level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment.

At Xavier, where 450 freshmen and 454 seniors took the survey, several key findings show that a strong emphasis on academics carries through to graduation, that faculty are accessible and that students generally think well of the University:

• 91 percent of first-year students feel that Xavier places substantial emphasis on academics.
• 90 percent of seniors at least occasionally discussed career plans with faculty.
• 93 percent of first-year students report a favorable image of Xavier.
• 87 percent of seniors would choose Xavier again if they could start their college career over.
• 90 percent of first-year students feel that Xavier has a substantial commitment to their academic success.

In other areas, the survey found:

• 68 percent of students participate in community service or volunteer work by the time they graduate.
• 57 percent of first-year students frequently discuss readings or ideas from coursework outside of class.
• 56 percent of first-year students say their faculty are available, helpful and sympathetic.

The National Survey of Student Engagement, now in its 10th year, is produced by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research and is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. To learn more about the NSSE survey, or to download a copy, visit the web site at www.nsse.iub.edu.