Student survey helps Brock University shape its future

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First-year and final-year Brock undergraduate students can help shape the University’s future practices by filling out the National Survey of Student Engagement survey.

Done every three years, Brock uses the data collected to benchmark itself against Ontario universities and provide Facutly and program level analysis to inform improvement effort.

Email invitations from President Jack Lightstone were sent out to eligible students Feb. 12. Students are also receiving several reminders in the upcoming weeks.

The survey - basically a census for first-year and final-year undergraduate students - is a valuable tool for Brock to understand students’ experiences.

NSSE captures student engagement in three ways:

• What students do - time and energy devoted to educationally purposeful activities;

• What institutions do - using effective educational practices to induce students to do the right things;

• Educationally effective institutions channel student energy toward the right activities

Institutions use their data to identify aspects of the undergraduate experience inside and outside the classroom that can be improved through changes in policies and practices more consistent with good practices in undergraduate education.

“Through the benchmarking exercise we will know where we are among peer schools,” said Juan Xu, Brock director, institutional analysis and planning.

For example, if an increase in service learning has been identified as one of Brock’s strategic initiatives, the survey results will tell the University what percentage of its students are involved with service learning and how Brock compares with other schools.

“NSSE itself does not provide a solution to problems,” Xu said, “but it provides a tool for self-assessment and benchmarking.”

Xu is hoping 40 per cent of students participate in the survey.

In 2013, 621 colleges and universities in North America participated in NSSE and 371,284 students completed the NSSE survey.

There are prizes for Brock students who complete the survey, including one of four iPads or one of four $600 bookstore gift cards. Five $20 gift cards to Union Station are also available.

Posted on February 21, 2014

2 Comments

  1. Jeff Boggs says:

    Good work, Xu.

    For the reporter: we readers would love to hear more about the sampling procedure for selecting students to survey. Is this a non-obligatory census? Are ‘good’ students cherry picked using a non-random sampling procedure? Or is a random sampling procedure used? These are methodologically important questions, and given that most Brock students will have had a course that covers inferential statistics, they should understand why it is important to clarify the sampling procedure.

  2. Juan Xu says:

    Hi, Jeff:

    It is a census. Any undergraduate students who are currently registered in a Bachelor’s degree program completing less than 5.0 and any undergraduate students expecting to complete 15 credits (for a PASS program) and 20 credits (for a 4-year or an honour program) by the end of this winter term were invited to participate. Thanks for asking. It is a good question. Thanks.

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