DePauw's Environment for Teaching and Learning Gets High Marks in 2007 NSSE Report

DePauw's Environment for Teaching and Learning Gets High Marks in 2007 NSSE Report

November 5, 2007

Fall 2007 ROW.jpgNovember 5, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - Students at DePauw University are more academically engaged -- in and out of the classroom -- than undergraduates at peer institutions and the national average at all colleges and universities, according to a new survey released today. The 2007 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), "Experiences That Matter: Enhancing Student Learning and Success," is based on information from about 313,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 610 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

Sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the NSSE study gives schools an idea of how well their students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. Raymonda Burgman Class.jpg

"This is important and valuable data, both for university administrators as well as parents and students who are involved in a college search, "says President Robert G. Bottoms. "The National Survey of Student Engagement examines key questions in a fact-based way, allowing all of us to see, in quantified terms, how teaching and learning is taking place on this and other campuses and how satisfied students are with their overall experiences. For DePauw, the report is further affirmation that we are connecting with our students in powerful ways."

Now in its ninth year, the survey findings provide comparative standards for determining how effectively colleges are contributing to learning. Five key areas of educational performance are measured: level of academicStudents August 2006 4.jpg 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), Carnegie peers (institutions with the same 2005 Basic Carnegie Classification), and a national figure, which represents all colleges and universities benchmarked by the NSSE.

The 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) at DePauw is particularly strong in the 2007 report.


  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 60.1 65.9
Private Liberal Arts Colleges 58.0 60.6
Carnegie Group 55.9 59.8
National Avg. 51.7 55.6

The environment for active and colloborative 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) is also notably higher at DePauw than in the other groups:


  First-Year Students Seniors
DePauw 46.8 55.4
Private LA 46.3 55.4
Carnegie 44.7 52.8
National 41.2 50.1

The highest-performing individual areas for DePauw included:

First-Year Students:

...who spent more than 10 hours per week preparing for class:


DePauw 80%
Private LA 69
Carnegie 65
National 55

...who worked with classmates outside of class to prepare assignments:


DePauw 58%
Private LA 47
Carnegie 48
National 41

...who used an electronic medium to discuss or complete an assignment:


DePauw 62%
Private LA 54
Carnegie 51
National 52

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


DePauw 55%
Private LA 48
Carnegie 39
National 29

...who said the institution provides substantial support for academic success:


DePauw 91%
Private LA 83
Carnegie 82
National 75


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


DePauw 67%
Private LA 51
Carnegie 46
National 32

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


DePauw 79%
Private LA 63
Carnegie 60
National 46

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


DePauw 81%
Private LA 61
Carnegie 64
National 55

...who worked with classmates outside of class to prepare assignments:


DePauw 73%
Private LA 59
Carnegie 58
National 58

...who spent 5+ hours/week participating in co-curricular activities:Jackie Roberts Research.jpg


DePauw 72%
Private LA 50
Carnegie 40
National 24

Other DePauw highlights:

  • By their senior year, 36% of students have done research with a faculty member.
  • 67% of first-year students indicate they frequently get prompt verbal or written feedback from faculty members.
  • 68% of first-year students frequently discuss readings or ideas from coursework outside of class.
  • By the time they are seniors, 92% of students have participated in community service or volunteer work.
  • 91% of first-year students report a favorable image of the institution; 84% of seniors would choose DePauw again if they could start their college career over.

East College Spring 2006.jpg"NSSE is an institution's most trustworthy lens for seeing deeply into the quality of students' experiences because its results can translate directly into plans for action and reform and transformation strategies," says Lee S. Shulman, president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Adds Paul E. Lingenfelter, president of the State Higher Education Officers: "NSSE is becoming increasingly helpful in improving student success and building public confidence in the commitment of colleges and universities to improve teaching and learning."

Key national findings in the 2007 report are:

  • Students who meet with their adviser at least twice a year are more engaged and gain more from college, yet 10% never meet with their adviser.
  • Only 29% of seniors at public institutions do a culminating senior experience, compared with 42% of theirStudy Emison 2007 1.jpg private college and university counterparts.
  • An internship or field placement is the most powerful form of a culminating senior experience in terms of greater self-reported gains.
  • Students who study abroad report greater gains in intellectual and personal development than their peers who do not have such an experience.

Learn more at NSSE's Web site.

First-year students at DePauw meet 2 to 3 times per week with their faculty advisers during their first semester on campus, and the University is perennially ranked among the nation's top colleges and universities for the percentage of students who study abroad in the Open Doors report.