Monday, November 13, 2006

2006 NSSE results

NSSE released their summary results of the 2006 survey today. I want to mention two of the most troubling:

  • Students average only about 13-14 hours a week preparation for class
  • Students study far less than they expect during their first year

As I perused my old email, I missed a meeting at the provost's summit about our own NSSE results, so hopefully we know specifically about how these general numbers relate to our own.

These two strike me as suggestive that we are missing a huge opportunity with our first-year students. (And it is a pattern that those of us who teach them have seen). They come to school with a vision of hard work and challenge. That is lost by the end of the first semester, when they have become jaded by lack of challenge and a culture of drunkenness.

Susan McFadden and gang are supposedly studying this option, but it is in the context of the administration-approved course.

I don't think that a First year experience course will do it. Instead, we need to raise our standards and expectations across the board. If students learn that they need to work hard to get through college, we might see a wave of improvement here on campus. Do to this, however, demands more than a band-aid of a new "training course" on top of huge pit classes.


Susan McFadden said...

Greetings: I want to clarify that the First Year Experience Committee does not have a mandate to recommend an "administration-approved course." We are examining a number of different options related to the FYE at UW Oshkosh and are starting with a "blank page" (i.e., no one has told us we have to recommend a "band-aid" course"). Susan

Bill Wresch said...

I guess I am part of the "gang" since the Faculty Senate recommended that I join the review committee that Susan McFadden chairs. I was always too nerdy to be a gang member before, so I kind of like my description now. Now I need a Harley, or at least a black leather jacket.

As for an "administrative-approved course," I don't see it on the horizon. But maybe I'm being duped. Excuse me now, I need to find a Harley dealership.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I am a cynic -- why else would I be an anonymous blogger -- but when the growth initiative contains a first-year course, I take the administration's demands seriously.

What happens if the legislature approves the growth initiative? Are we going to give the money back?

I am glad to see two committee members insist that this course is not already accepted, but I also heard Susan say that any major reforms beyond the first year course were beyond the purview of her committee. That is the kind of discussion we really need to be having.