2018 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Student Engagement Survey Results

Posted by Allie Ellenbogen on February 8, 2019

In the Spring of 2018 the University of North Carolina Asheville administered the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to Freshmen and Seniors. The results of this survey were analyzed in relationship to the last administration (2015) and our peer comparison groups. The selected peer comparison groups were COPLAC institutions, UNC System schools, and our Carnegie Baccalaureate Arts and Sciences classification peers.

The response rate from freshmen was 39% which was higher than all of our peer comparison groups, and for seniors it was 28%. Notably, students rated their overall experience at UNCA quite high and many indicated that if they started their college career over again they would still choose UNCA.

UNCA’s results were relatively stable as compared to our last administration of the survey in 2015, but show a few key differences as compared to both 2015 results and our peer groups. UNCA students:

  1. Rated themselves higher than our peers in their perceived ability to relate their own understanding and experiences to course material (reflective and integrative learning). This skill helps students make connections between their learning and the world around them, reexamine their own beliefs, and consider issues and ideas from others’ perspectives. Both seniors and first-year student’s results were higher than all three peer groups on every Reflective and Integrative Learning question.
  2. Are significantly more civically engaged than their peers. This is shown in students’ high scores on questions related to connecting learning to societal problems or issues; perceived institutional emphasis on attending events that address important social, economic, or political issues; and institutional contribution toward becoming a more active and informed citizen.
  3. Report a perceived decline in academic rigor. The results indicate that seniors don’t perceive their experience of the curriculum to be as academically rigorous as they did in 2015. There are a notable number of learning objectives where seniors were lower than all three benchmark groups and 2015 results. Both freshmen and seniors reported a perceived decline in the extent to which course work challenged them to do their best work and how much UNCA emphasizes spending a significant amount of time studying and on academic work. (See page 5-6 of the executive summary for more information about these results)
  4. Express mixed experiences related to interactions with diverse people and perspectives. Results suggest that students perceive some contexts to be more diverse than some of our peers and other contexts to be less so. These results raise questions about student’s experiences with diversity on this campus.

More information about each of these areas and the corresponding data can be found in the executive and data summaries on IREP’s survey results page. For any other questions please contact Allie Ellenbogen, aellenbo@unca.edu.