Laurier ranks high in survey

Wilfrid Laurier University has once again achieved positive results in the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) conducted by the University of Indiana.

The NSSE is a benchmarking survey completed by students at each of the 761 participating institutions across North America, 20 of which lie within Ontario.
The survey allows universities to internally judge and reflect on student engagement at the undergraduate level, both inside and outside of the classroom.

It is predominantly focused on the responses of first and fourth year students.
“It is suggested that the NSSE is, at the moment, probably one of the best indicators there is about quality of teaching and education at universities,” said Orna Duggan, director of institutional research and planning at WLU.
Laurier ranked above the Ontario average across the five main categories in which the NSSE provides a measure.

These categories are based on level of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, extra-curricular learning, active and collaborative learning and the supportiveness of the campus environment, including residences and counseling services.

Results show that 70 per cent of senior WLU students participate in community service or volunteer work, while the provincial average shows that only 54 per cent of students do the same.

In concordance, 79 per cent of first-year students and 68 per cent of senior students responded that WLU provides substantial support for academic success. These scores rank eight and ten per cent higher than the provincial average respectively.

In terms of co-curricular participation, 28 per cent of first-year students and 34 per cent of senior level students reported participation of five hours of more, against provincial averages of 19 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.
Since 2006, WLU has boasted similar results to that of the 2011 NSSE survey, which is administered every three years for participating universities.

According to Duggan, WLU’s results suggest that the university is succeeding in adhering to its integrated and engaged learning approach, which supports a comprehensive student experience in the academic and co-curricular realms.
“WLU is known for being a university that invests in its students and in providing high quality education for all of its students, and that has reflected very well in NSSE scores,” she said.

Duggan noteed that WLU’s exceptional survey scores contribute to a positive reputation for the university, and is something that the school should advertise to prospective students.

“Students are asked very simple questions and if they experienced something very well, not so well, or somewhere in the middle. It is the most direct measure on how students experience university education and for that reason it is a very important thing to communicate to incoming high school students,” she said.

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