Beginning Tuesday, freshmen and seniors at UW–Platteville will take the National Survey of Student Engagement.
The NSSE is widely used across the U.S. to help institutions of higher learning measure their students’ experiences.
UW–Platteville has previously participated in the NSSE five times.
The results of the survey are not used for ranking universities. Rather, they show administrators and faculty what their institutions are succeeding at and what needs improvement. Only freshman and senior students are asked to participate in order to show changing attitudes toward the university over time.
Dr. Dominic Barraclough, assistant professor and counselor of education at UW–Platteville, will report the results of the NSSE to university administrators.
“NSSE scores are an important internal number, used for quality management,” said Barraclough. “It gives us an accurate snapshot of our students’ feelings toward our school.”
Since UW–Platteville last administered the NSSE in 2011, the university has worked to advance what Barraclough calls “high-impact” learning practices. These include service learning, education abroad, Living and Learning Communities, undergraduate research and introduction to college life courses.
“Studies show that students involved in these five practices have more success,” said Barraclough.
All of the high-impact learning practices have been addressed at UW–Platteville in the last several years, said Barraclough. The Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement and UW–Platteville’s education abroad program have both been promoted extensively. A Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics Living–Learning Community is now offered in Melcher Hall. Additional LLCs are being developed.
The new Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors Office offers students the chance to conduct their own research and present it in a professional setting, and Introduction to College Life courses have recently been made requisite for incoming freshmen.
But all these changes were not made for the end of improving a test score. “There is always quite a bit of constant internal pressure to improve, because that’s what we are trying to do as a university,” said Barraclough.
Nonetheless, students’ opinions of UW–Platteville are extremely important to the continued improvement of the university, said Barraclough. “We need as many students as possible to take the survey and give honest feedback,” he said.