3/10/2010 - National Survey Finds High Degree of Student Satisfaction
A Satisfying college experience at Judson College?...
Students at Judson College reported significant satisfaction with their learning and environment compared to students at other American colleges and universities according to results recently published by the National Survey of Student Engagement.
The NSSE survey is sponsored by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research in Bloomington in cooperation with the Indiana University Center for Survey Research. The project was begun in 2000 by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
According to registrar Eleanor Drake, Judson was in the pioneer group who first used NSSE in 2000, and has used the survey every year since.
"We provide mail and e-mail addresses of our students, and NSSE initiates contact with them," Drake explained. "Students complete the survey without our supervision and the results are tabulated in Bloomington and sent to us."
According to NSSE documents, schools use the survey to confirm their unique identities, to effect institutional improvement and to provide accountability to accrediting agencies.
The most recent results from last year contained responses from students in 640 colleges and universities.
Results from the Judson surveys demonstrated at least five areas of strength since both first-year students and seniors taking the survey rated their college experiences significantly higher than NSSE averages.
Fifty-five percent of Judson first-year students indicated they had participated in community service or volunteer work compared to 39 percent in the NSSE average.
Judson director of Faith-Based Service and Learning, Susan Jones, noted that last year Judson students offered hospitality to 200 New Orleans residents who were evacuated to Perry County during Hurricane Gustav. Students distributed food to 300 families in the area and placed books in the hands of over 500 children. They were part of health fairs and school screenings serving 800 people. They spent hundreds of hours working to improve the Perry Lakes Park and invested more than 1,000 hours in the lives of children in the community.
"Providing our students with service opportunities like these is one means of the development of character," Jones said.
"We believe that giving students opportunities to serve now helps foster a desire to spend their lives in service to God and to other people, regardless of their profession, and students can make a real meaningful difference right now."
Sixty percent of first-year students at Judson indicated they had "talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor," compared to 32 percent in the NSSE average.
Judson's current student-faculty ratio is 9-1 and the smaller class sizes accounts for much interaction with faculty.
Additionally first-year students rated their relationships with administrative personnel and offices at 74 percent, compared to the 58 percent NSSE average.
According to NSSE documents, students do higher quality work and are more satisfied at colleges that "cultivate positive working and social relations" in the various offices. Judson's scores indicate most students find administrators considerate and helpful.
Results from Judson seniors also found a significant degree of satisfaction.
Forty-six percent of seniors performed a community-based project as part of a regular course, contrasted with 17 percent in the NSSE average.
Fifty-two percent of seniors indicated they did an independent study or self-designed major, compared to 17 percent in the NSSE average.
The survey also found that Judson students apparently become more involved in extra-curricular activities as they advance in their college careers. Thirty-seven percent of the first-year students said they spent more than five hours each week in clubs and groups and 52 percent of the seniors placed themselves in this category.
The NSSE averages for last year are 31 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
Not only did Judson students show greater satisfaction than NSSE averages in the above-cited five benchmark areas, but they also showed greater satisfaction than students in the women's colleges demographic.
"The NSSE instrument clearly demonstrates the importance of good teaching in settings that encourage dialogue between faculty and students, small classes and meaningful opportunities to use one's knowledge and studies to advance the human condition through service," said Judson president Dr. David Potts. "In effect, Judson is every woman's honors college."
* Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department.