2007 NSSE Information

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Academic Challenge Active and Collaborative 
Student Faculty Supportive Campus 


Level of academic challenge

Challenging intellectual and creative work is central of student learning and collegiate quality. Colleges and universities promote high levels of student achievement by emphasizing the importance of academic effort and setting high expectations for student performance.

  • Preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, rehearsing, etc. related to academic program).
  • Number of assigned textbooks, books, or book-length packs of course readings.
  • Number of written papers or reports of 20 pages or more; number of written papers or reports of between 5 and 19 pages; and number of written papers or reports of fewer than 5 pages.
  • Coursework emphasizing analysis of the basic elements of an idea, experience or theory.
  • Coursework emphasizing synthesis and organizing of ideas, information, or experiences into new, more complex interpretations and relationships.
  • Coursework emphasizing the making of judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods.
  • Coursework emphasizing application of theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations.
  • Working harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor's standards or expectations.
  • Campus environment emphasizing time studying and/or academic work.

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Active and collaborative learning

Students learn more when they are intensely involved in their education and asked to think about what they are learning in different settings. Collaborating with others in solving problems or mastering difficult material prepares students for the messy, unscripted problems they will encounter daily during and after college.

  • Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions.
  • Made a class presentation.
  • Worked with other students on projects during class.
  • Worked with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments.
  • Tutored or taught other students.
  • Participated in a community-based project as part of a regular course.
  • Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with others outside of class (students, family members, co-workers, etc.).

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Student-faculty interaction

Students learn firsthand how experts think about and solve practical problems by interacting with faculty members inside and outside the classroom. As a result, their teachers become role models, mentors, and guides for continuous, life-long learning.

  • Discussed grades or assignments with an instructor.
  • Talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor.
  • Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members outside of class.
  • Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student-life activities, etc.).
  • Received prompt written or oral feedback from faculty on your academic performance.
  • Worked with a faculty member on a research project outside of course or program requirements.

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Supportive campus environment

Students perform better and are more satisfied at colleges that are committed to their success and cultivate positive working and social relations among different groups on campus.

  • Campus environment provides the support you need to help you succeed academically.
  • Campus environment helps you cope with your non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.).
  • Campus environment provides the support you need to thrive socially.
  • Quality of relationships with other students.
  • Quality of relationships with faculty members.

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