Engagement Surveys Help UW Improve Student Experience

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A recent national survey shows the University of Wyoming ranks among the nation's best for student engagement.

LARAMIE –University of Wyoming students have more interaction with faculty members, spend more time preparing for class and receive more encouragement to participate in campus activities than students at other public universities in the region, according to newly released results from a national survey.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has been administered every three years at UW but, starting this year, will be administered annually.

UW will send out invitations in coming weeks to students to participate in the 2019 survey, along with invitations to faculty members to participate in the annual Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE).

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“These surveys are important to give us more real-time information on how we can improve our services for learning, teaching and campus support activities. We hope many students and faculty will participate,” Associate Vice Provost Anne Alexander says. “Overall, we performed at a level similar to our Rocky Mountain regional peers in the 2018 survey, but there are some specific areas where we really shine — as well as areas where we can improve.”

UW scored 15 points higher than its Rocky Mountain region peers in the area of institutional emphasis on first-year students attending campus and activities and events; 9 points higher in first-year students engaging in discussions with faculty members outside of class; and 7 points higher in UW’s support for first-year students’ overall well-being.

For seniors, UW was 10 points higher than its peers in the emphasis on attending campus activities and events; 7 points higher in providing opportunities to be involved socially; and 5 points higher in support for students’ overall well-being.

Areas where UW scored below its peers included opportunities for student discussion with people of races or ethnicities other than their own.

Among the other highlights:

  • UW first-year and senior students both spend more time preparing for class than their peers at other schools in the region — 15.3 hours per week for first-year students and 16.7 hours for seniors.
  • UW seniors are assigned more writing and spend more hours reading per week than their peers.
  • UW first-year students reported a higher degree of challenge to do their best work than did their peers.
  • Some 89 percent of UW first-year students rated their overall experience as “excellent” or “good,” compared to 86 percent for their peers. The number slips to 78 percent for UW seniors.
  • The percentage of first-year students who would “definitely” or “probably” choose to attend UW again was 88 percent, compared to 87 percent for their peers. The number slips to 79 percent for UW seniors.

“The numbers on overall satisfaction are similar to what we’ve seen in our other student satisfaction surveys: First-year students are extremely satisfied, but the level of satisfaction decreases over time,” Alexander says. “That’s something we want to focus on and improve.”

Complete UW results from the 2018 NSSE and FSSE surveys, as well as previous years, may be found at www.uwyo.edu/assessment/nsse.