Thursday, September 22, 2005

National Survey of Student Engagement shows problems at UWO

The provost recently sent out a report on the results of the 2004 NSSE survey. Oshkosh fell below the national average in every column. Another message suggested that these figures place us in the bottom 10% of all universities:

A summary:
For first-years:

Level of Academic Challenge 46.2 (natl. average 53.6)
Active and collaborative learning 34.0 (natl. average 42.3)
Student Faculty Interaction 24.8 (natl. average 33.3)
Enriching educational experience 19.0 (natl. average 26.7)
Supportive campus environment 55.3 (natl. average 62.8)

For Seniors:

Level of Academic Challenge 53.9 (natl. average 57.6)
Active and collaborative learning 47.8 (natl. average 51.4)
Student Faculty Interaction 35.6 (natl. average 44.0)
Enriching educational experience 33.3 (natl. average 40.9)
Supportive campus environment 53.4 (natl. average 59.7)

I don't know exactly how the questions were put together or exactly what the numbers mean, except that we are doing worse than most places across the board. At least seniors think slightly better of us than the first-years.

The provost made some vague statements about addressing these issues in the strategic plan, but they seem to suggest that something drastic might need to change if we want to improve the quality of education for students. I imagine that larger class sizes and fewer classes are not going to help when the survey is administered again next year.


Anonymous said...

Finding ways for students to work less and participate more in a variety of university activities would help. The other week I asked students why they aren't participating in a club they have interest in. The rather uniform answer was they have no time, especially because of work. The legislature does not accept that tuition hikes and low financial aid are degrading the academic experience.

Lake Winneblogo said...

Thanks for your comments. I have experienced exactly the same comments from my own students. A student came up to me recently and explained that she was working full-time third shift and may not be able to make it to class on time, if the plant decides to go on mandatory overtime. How much time will she have to do her classwork?

Oshkosh students seem to work a huge amount, which leaves them little time for learning and thinking. Part of a college experience should include time for reflection and introspection, not simply be part of a harried work schedule!