National survey ranks DePauw in top 10 percent

Monday, November 15, 2010
DePauw University, East College

GREENCASTLE -- A national survey finds that DePauw University is within the top 10 percent of colleges in the nation for the challenges it provides its students and for seniors who report their educational experiences have been enriching.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), "Major Differences: Examining Student Engagement by Field of Study -- Annual Results 2010," details results from a 2010 survey of 362,000 first-year students and seniors attending 564 U.S. colleges and universities.

NSSE compares the DePauw experience with what is provided to undergraduates at peer institutions and the national average at all colleges and universities.

The report also finds that DePauw seniors score significantly higher than both peer institutions and all schools in the categories "Active and Collaborative Learning" and for "Student-Faculty Interaction" reported by seniors.

NSSE's annual survey results provide diagnostic, comparative information about effective educational practices at participating colleges and universities. The results can be used to inform improvement efforts.

"There are many things prospective students and their parents may consider as they consider colleges," DePauw President Brian W. Casey said. "NSSE uses quantifiable data to weigh each college's strengths and, unlike many of the rankings compiled by for-profit entities, has a rigorous and widely accepted methodology.

"DePauw continues to make a very strong showing in NSSE, which confirms that the residential liberal arts experience DePauw provides is quite unique, compelling and powerful," he said.

NSSE's Annual Results 2010 report -- the 12th -- is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The findings provide comparative standards for determining how effectively colleges are contributing to learning. Five key areas of educational performance are measured: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment.

On a national level, noteworthy findings from the 2010 survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include:

* Learning with other students -- for example, participating in study groups, working on group projects and exchanging feedback with other students -- was positively related to other forms of student engagement, and greater involvement in peer learning was also related to higher levels of reflective learning.

* About four out of five biology faculty said it is important or very important for undergraduates to do research with a faculty member. The relatively high rate of research participation among senior biology majors (40 percent, twice the overall average) reflects this faculty priority.

* About two in five seniors majoring in business administration and accounting had internship or field experiences, compared to about half of other majors.

* Senior English majors were more engaged in integrative learning--such as incorporating diverse perspectives in assignments and combining information from multiple sources--than seniors in other fields.

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