Researchers at Indiana University are working to find the answer to the key question, How do we know if colleges are doing well at helping students learn and graduate on time? An innovative and influential survey conducted by these researchers called the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) shows that Illinois College is using survey information to increase the academic success of their students.
Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research released its annual NSSE report today in which Illinois College was recognized for increasing retention and improving the first-year student experience. The report, Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide – Annual Results 2011, details results from a 2011 survey of 416,000 first-year students and seniors attending 673 colleges and universities. The publication illustrates the value of connecting student engagement results to specific campus programs and units to encourage greater collaboration to improve the quality of the educational experience.
“The central message is that providing opportunities, activities and environments supportive of learning and student success is a concern that should permeate the campus,” explained Alexander C. McCormick, NSSE director and associate professor of education at Indiana University.
Illinois College was one of four colleges highlighted in the section titled, “Increasing Retention and Improving the First-Year Experience.” The section gives an overview of the college’s early intervention task force and student engagement retreat for faculty and administrators as two catalysts that positively increased retention. The report also credits Illinois College for creating a more supportive campus environment, one in which faculty, staff and coaches reach out to a student when in danger of academic trouble.
“We are dedicated to student success,” said Dean of Illinois College Elizabeth Tobin. “We believe that every student can learn if they work at it and if we use the best educational ideas. NSSE gives us information on how to improve, and we are glad to see that what we learn helps our students learn.”
In addition, the report acknowledges the college’s Center for Academic Excellence, an academic support center that includes student tutoring, supplemental instruction and improved advising, in helping first-year students make the transition into their sophomore year of education.
“ … Illinois College now has a critical mass of faculty and staff who expend a significant amount of time and energy to move students closer toward graduation,” the report reads. “It has been an all-college effort that has knitted together athletics, student affairs, faculty, and other departments across campus to review data, have input on policy decisions, and make suggestions for change.”