Las Cruces – Students at New Mexico State University rated their overall experience higher than previous years and higher than those at comparable schools, according to the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement released this month.
The survey of freshmen and seniors at NMSU showed students learn actively and collaboratively, are challenged academically, have a supportive campus environment and participate in student-faculty interactions.
"We're pleased to learn that on every NSSE indicator, New Mexico State University appears to be showing more positive results every year, which indicates that our faulty and staff are here doing a great job helping our students become more engaged in their learning and our students are having positive campus experiences," said NMSU President Barbara Couture.
NMSU leads peer schools in four out of five categories, including the level of academic challenge and supportive campus environment. NMSU's peer group for this study included Iowa State, Montana State, Texas Tech, University of Idaho, University of New Mexico and the University of Texas-El Paso. Seniors also rated NMSU higher than peer schools in student-faculty interaction and supportive campus environment.
The first-year students also rated active and collaborative learning and student-faculty interaction higher than institutions in the same Carnegie class as NMSU (Research Universities - High Research Activity) and higher than institutions that are members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, which is a non-profit association of public research universities, land-grant institutions and state university systems.
"We're particularly pleased to see that we're outranking our peers and even our Carnegie class institutions in the level of academic challenge we're presenting our students," Couture said.
NMSU voluntarily participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement along with nearly 1,500 other institutions. Judy Bosland, assistant vice-president of institutional analysis, said the data is shared with enrollment management, student affairs and faculty to track progress and make changes in programs.
Among the highest performing items, 64 percent of NMSU's first-year students and 75 percent of seniors said they contributed to class discussions, compared to 50 and 67 percent of students at peer schools, 55 and 69 percent at schools in the same Carnegie class and 51 and 64 percent at APLU institutions, respectively.
Sixty-one percent of NMSU's first-year students also worked with other students during class, which is 15 percent higher than peer schools, 18 percent higher than schools in the same Carnegie class and 17 percent higher than APLU institutions.
Bosland said NMSU will use the results to look at trend analysis and focus on specific questions for improvement. The university also will see if improvements noted in other analyses are supported by the results from this survey.
"We really appreciate student participation," Bosland said. "It gives us information that is useful so we can continue to grow in the future."