National survey shows UW-Superior emphasizing academic challenge, active learning - Nov 17, 2011 - University News - UW-Superior News and Events

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National survey shows UW-Superior emphasizing academic challenge, active learning

Posted on Nov 17, 2011
A survey of UW-Superior students shows an emphasis on academics.
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National survey shows UW-Superior emphasizing academic challenge, active learning

The National Survey of Student Engagement completed by University of Wisconsin-Superior students indicates that many of those surveyed believe the university is doing a good job of emphasizing academic challenge and active learning.

The National Survey of Student Engagement asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities about the amount of time they spend on various learning activities. The survey helps participating schools to measure their use of effective educational practices.

 "The NSSE is a valuable tool for telling us how students evaluate their experience at UW-Superior," said Dr. Faith Hensrud, interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. "Overall, the survey shows that we are doing well in areas such as providing academic challenge; active learning opportunities; and having faculty members who are accessible to students and willing to answer their questions, discuss ideas outside class, and work with them on research."

The NSSE measures how well a university is using its resources to teach undergraduates compared with national norms and groups of similar institutions. Universities receive benchmark scores for first-year students and seniors that measure the level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching education experiences and supportive campus environment -- all factors that researchers have identified as crucial to student success in college.

In the five benchmark categories, UW-Superior was comparable or better in all areas to other University of Wisconsin comprehensive campuses when measured as a whole.

Results of the NSSE help administrators and faculty find areas where student opportunities should be expanded. In recent years, UW-Superior has responded to the survey by creating a first-year experience program for first-year students, adding service learning opportunities and expanding foreign language offerings.

"In the coming year we'll be examining the NSSE data and discussing it on campus. It's part of the process we use to keep making UW-Superior better," Hensrud said.

Of 153 UW-Superior students randomly selected for this year's survey, 87 percent of first-year students felt the university puts substantial emphasis on academics, and 78 percent felt the university has a substantial commitment to their academic success.

In other categories, 60 percent of students said they had participated in community service work by the time they were seniors, and a quarter of them had helped fellow students through tutoring or teaching.

Measured with other University of Wisconsin System four-year universities, UW-Superior first-year students reported writing academic papers, taking part in class discussions and working with faculty members on activities other than coursework more often than students at the other universities.

UW-Superior seniors surveyed reported writing more papers, making more class presentations and completing a senior experience such as a thesis or capstone project more often than students at other UW System universities.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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