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New National Report Finds Student Engagement at DePauw to be Strong

November 10, 2008

Students Talk Nov 2008-1.JPGNovember 10, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - A new, national survey puts DePauw freshmen and seniors in the top 10% of all colleges and universities for the level of academic challenge they experience. The 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), "Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within," also ranks DePauw seniors in the top 10% of all participating institutions nationwide for enjoying enriching educational experiences. Overall, the survey finds DePauw provides its students with more academically challenging, interactive and stimulating learning experiences than those found at peer institutions and the national average of all colleges and universities.

Released today, the report is based onDavid Alvarez 2008 Class 1.JPG information from approximately 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year colleges and universities. NSSE is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

"Prospective students and parents are inundated with information provided by college guides and rankings, which are almost exclusively created by for-profit entities using questionable methodology," notes DePauw President Brian W. Casey. "The National Survey of Student Engagement is based on hard, quantifiable data, and provides institutions with a statistically valid measure of how they're performing, and most importantly, how they're serving their students. As I work to further enhance the intellectual life of DePauw, this report indicates we have a very solid foundation to build upon."

Pam Propsom Class.jpgThe findings of NSSE, now in its tenth year, provide comparative standards for determining how effectively colleges are contributing to learning. Five key areas of educational performance are measured: 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 (PLA), peer institutions in the Great Lakes Colleges Association and Associated Colleges of the Midwest (GLCA-ACM), and a national average of all colleges and universities benchmarked by the NSSE.

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): East College Class Lawn 2008.jpg

  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 63.2 66.9
Private Liberal Arts Colleges 57.7 61.3
GLCA-ACM 60.0 63.3
National Avg. 52.9 56.5

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 34.3 58.1
Private LA 30.4 52.4
GLCA-ACM 32.4 55.3
National 27.5 40.4

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 50.1 55.5
Private LA 45.0 52.6
GLCA-ACM 46.5 53.8
National 42.5 50.8

ec door 22.jpgStudent-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 42.3 51.8
Private LA 38.0 52.8
GLCA-ACM 37.7 52.0
National 34.6 42.3

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 67.0 64.2
Private LA 67.0 63.6
GLCA-ACM 67.2 63.2
National 61.0 58.0

The highest-performing individual areas for DePauw included:

First-Year Students:

...who wrote more than 4 papers/reports between 5-19 pages:Great Fall EC Shot Gold Leaves.jpg

DePauw 63%
Private LA 45
GLCA-ACM 50
National 33

...who asked questions/contributed to class discussions:

DePauw 78%
Private LA 65
GLCA-ACM 74
National 59

...who made a class presentation:

DePauw 44%
Private LA 29
GLCA-ACM 33
National 33

...who spent 5+ hours/week participating in co-curricular activities:

DePauw 66%
Private LA 52
GLCA-ACM 52
National 30

...who worked with classmates outside of class to prepare assignments:EC Gate 44c.jpg

DePauw 69%
Private LA 56
GLCA-ACM 55
National 42

Seniors:

...who read more than 10 assigned books or book-length packs of readings:

DePauw 66%
Private LA 50
GLCA-ACM 63
National 34

...who wrote more than 4 papers or reports between 5 and 19 pages:

DePauw 85%
Private LA 62
GLCA-ACM 69
National 47

..who wrote more than one paper or report 20 pages or longer:Students Roy O West Summer aa.jpg

DePauw 82%
Private LA 63
GLCA-ACM 70
National 50

...who spent 10+ hours/week preparing for class:

DePauw 86%
Private LA 71
GLCA-ACM 81
National 56

...who completed a culminating senior experience (thesis, comp. exams):

DePauw 77%
Private LA 57
GLCA-ACM 61
National 32

"At a time when U.S. standards for higher education are being evaluated in a competitive global context, NSSE data provide real insights into the qualities of the campus learning environment," according to Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education.

On a national basis, the 2008 report found:

  • First-year students wrote, on average, 92 pages during the Raymonda Burgman Class.jpgacademic year, while seniors totalled 146 pages.
  • When courses provided extensive, intellectually challenging writing experiences, students engaged in more deep learning activities such as analysis, synthesis, and integration of ideas from various sources, and they grappled more with course ideas both in and out of the classroom. These students also reported greater personal, social, practical and academic learning and development.

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

Articles on the 2008 NSSE can be found in today's edition of Inside Higher Ed and in USA Today, which includes a searchable database of the survey's results.

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