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National Survey Again Finds DePauw's Educational and Social Environment Better Than Peer Schools and USA Averages

November 7, 2005

Faculty Student Interaction 3.jpgNovember 7, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - Students at DePauw University have an experience that is significantly more challenging, stimulating, interactive and dynamic than students at peer institutions and the national average at all colleges and universities, according to the 2005 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The seventh annual national study also finds that DePauw's benchmark scores have all climbed since 2001. Sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the report is based on information from about 237,000 first-year and senior students at 528 four-year colleges and universities.

"There are many reports that come out each year, but the National Survey of Student Engagement is one we pay particular attention to because of the scientific methodology it utilizes and the areas it explores," says DePauw University President Robert G. Bottoms. "Again this year, the study finds that DePauw's campus environment is far more supportive than the averages in meeting the academic and social needs of students and continues to outpace peer institutions and national averages in every category. We're delighted with this external affirmation of DePauw's excellence and its increasing national prominence."

The NSSE measures five benchmarks: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment. DePauw's scores are compared with the average of private liberal arts colleges, baccalaureate-liberal arts colleges, and a national figure, which represents all colleges and universities benchmarked by the NSSE. DePauw placed in the top 10% ofFaculty Student Interaction.jpg all participating schools in Level of Academic Challenge, Student-Faculty Interaction, and Enriching Educational Experiences. All scores are ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, with the higher score being better.

Level of Academic Challenge (includes: preparing for class, number of assigned readings, number of written papers or reports, coursework emphasizing application of theories or concept to practical problems or in new situations, campus environment emphasizing time studying):

  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 65.0 66.6
Private Liberal Arts Colleges 57.2 61.5
Baccalaureate-LA Colleges 56.8 61.0
National Avg. 52.6 56.5

Active and Collaborative Learning (includes: asking questions/contributing to class discussions, making class presentations, working with fellow students in and out of class, participating in a community-based project as part of coursework)

  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 50.4 57.3
Private LA 43.8 53.0
Bac-LA 44.2 53.4
National 42.3 51.

Student-Faculty Interactions (includes: discussing assignments and career paths with faculty member, working with faculty members on activities other than coursework, working with faculty member on a research project outside of course or program requirements)

  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 44.9 54.7
Private LA 35.5 52.5
Bac-LA 36.5 51.2
National 34.0 44.1

Enriching Educational Experiences (includes: participating in co-curricular activities, internships and community service projects; study abroad; serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity or of different religious beliefs, political opinions or personal values; using electronic technology to discuss or complete an assignment)

  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 34.1 58.9
Private LA 32.0 54.0
Bac-LA 30.5 51.1
National 27.8 42.1

Supportive Campus Environment (includes: provides the support students need to succeed academically, thrive socially and cope with non-academic responsibilities; quality of relationships with other students, faculty members and administrators)

  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 69.1 60.8
Private LA 65.6 62.9
Bac-LA 64.3 61.4
National 60.1 57.

"Engagement is a critical factor in the educational process because the more timeFaculty Student Interaction 4.jpg and energy students devote to desired activities, the more likely they are to develop the habits of the mind that are key to success after college," says George Kuh, director of the NSSE and professor of higher education at Indiana University in Bloomington. "In addition, engagement is positively linked to grades and graduation, outcomes that everyone agrees are important."

"Student engagement results are invaluable for every campus and organization hoping to deepen and enrich student learning in and out of the classroom," adds Elizabeth Hollander, executive director of Campus Compact.

The 2005 NSSE study, titled "Exploring Different Dimensions of Student Engagement," also finds:

  • At institutions like DePauw, where faculty members use techniques such as class discussions and frequent feedback, students are more satisfied and more likely to interact with their teachers and peers.
  • The 54% of all first-year who took a first-year seminar were more likely to use campus services, were more satisfied with college, and gained more in terms of personal and social development. All new DePauw students participate in the University's first-year experience -- depauw.year1.
  • High-profile student-athletes -- male football and basketball players and female basketball players -- generally take part in effective educational practices at the same level as other students.
  • Graduates of institutions where students interact more with faculty and have a more supportive campus environment are more likely to make financial contributions to their school.

Visit the National Survey of Student Engagement's Web site by clicking here.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked DePauw in the nation's top tier of national liberal 2006 us news best colleges.gifarts colleges for six consecutive years. The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2006 ranks the University as one of 45 "best values," a designation Princeton Review also made in its 2006 edition of America's Best Value Colleges. Princeton Review also offers a very positive assessment of DePauw's academic programs in its 2006 guide to The Best 361 Colleges. The book's rankings place DePauw #1 in the nation for "major frat and sorority scene"; its student-run radio station, WGRE is rated the fourth-best college radio station in the U.S.A.; and DePauw is #15 for "more to do on campus". College Prowler's new guide to DePauw also gives the University high marks.

Prospective students who would like more information on DePauw University, including access to an online application form, can click here.

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