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University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point National Survey of Student Engagement, 2001

The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in the spring of 2001.  The survey was distributed—in both paper and web versions—to a random sample of 350 first-year students who initially enrolled at UWSP fall 2000 and 350 seniors who had applied for May 2001 graduation.  First-year students returned 201 surveys and seniors returned 223 for an overall response rate of 62%.  The following tables compare the mean responses of UWSP students to public masters degree granting institutions (PMGDI).  The tables are organized according to NSSE’s “five areas of effective educational practice.”  Additional information is located at
[The single sample t-test is used to test for statistical significance.  A ++ after a mean indicates that UWSP is significantly higher than public masters, p < .05.  A -- indicates the UWSP mean is significantly lower.] 

Level of Academic Challenge

 1st Year Senior
Preparing for class per week (studying, reading, writing, rehearsing, and other activities related to your academic program) 3.99++ 3.60 4.22++ 3.87
Number of assigned textbooks, books, or book-length packs of course readings 3.20 3.17 3.01 3.11
Number of written papers or reports of 20 pages or more 1.13 1.23 1.61 1.61
Number of written papers or reports of between 5 and 19 pages 2.06-- 2.22 2.60 2.52
Number written papers or reports of fewer than 5 pages 3.33++ 3.11 3.31++ 3.03
Coursework emphasized analyzing the basic elements of an idea, experience or theory 2.99 2.99 3.12 3.22
Course work emphasized synthesizing and organizing ideas, information, or experiences into new, more complex interpretations and relationships 2.66 2.70 2.93 2.96
Course work emphasized making judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods 2.72 2.73 2.78 2.87
Course work emphasized applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations 2.85 2.85 3.09 3.13
Worked harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor’s standards or expectations 2.52 2.56 2.61 2.69
Campus environment emphasized spending significant amounts of time studying and on academic work 3.06 3.05 2.95-- 3.05


Active and Collaborative Learning

 1st Year Senior
Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions 2.63 2.69 2.96 3.07
Made a class presentation 2.04 2.13 2.86 2.84
Worked with other students on projects during class 2.50 2.49 2.65 2.62
Worked with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments 2.13 2.18 2.95++ 2.70
Tutored or taught other students 1.34-- 1.53 1.86 1.75
Participated in a community-based project as part of a regular course 1.17-- 1.31 1.58 1.58
Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with others outside of class (students, family members, co-workers, etc.) 2.60 2.63 2.94 2.85

Student Interactions with Faculty Members

 1st Year Senior
Discussed grades or assignments with an instructor 2.27-- 2.49 2.76 2.76
Talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor 2.20++ 2.07 2.64++ 2.36
Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members outside of class 1.51-- 1.65 1.99 1.97
Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student-life activities, etc.) 1.39 1.42 1.98++ 1.74
Received prompt feedback from faculty on your academic performance (written or oral) 2.53 2.48 2.74 2.74

Enriching Educational Experiences

 1st Year Senior
Participating in co-curricular activities (organizations, publications, student government, sports, etc.) 2.14 2.00 2.47++ 1.93
Had serious conversations with students that have different religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values 2.76 2.75 2.91++ 2.72
Had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity 2.14-- 2.51 2.24-- 2.55
Used electronic technology (list-serve, chat group, internet, etc.) to discuss or complete an assignment 2.72++ 2.46 2.77 2.69
Campus environment encouraged contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds 2.37 2.43 2.03-- 2.31

Supportive Campus Environment

 1st Year Senior
Campus environment provided the support you need to help you succeed academically 3.05++ 2.89 2.81 2.76
Campus environment helped you cope with your nonacademic responsibilities (work, family, etc.) 2.06 1.99 1.85 1.76
Campus environment provided the support you need to thrive socially 2.37++ 2.22 2.24++ 2.00
Quality of relationships with other students on a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being worst and 7 being best 5.65 5.57 5.87++ 5.69
Quality of relationships with faculty members on a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being worst and 7 being best 5.39 5.24 5.64++ 5.43
Quality of relationships with administrative personnel and offices on a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being worst and 7 being best 5.02++ 4.80 4.89++ 4.52
First-year students at UWSP score significantly higher than public master degree granting institutions on seven of the thirty-four index items--significantly lower on five items.  UWSP Seniors score significantly higher on eleven items--significantly lower on two items.  While there are many positive outcomes in these data, UWSP believes that it can substantially improve on these results.
To achieve such improvement, Academic Affairs and Student Affairs have jointly set up an ad hoc committee to study questions of student success and retention and develop an action plan to address them.  Specifically, the committee will:
  1. Identify key factors affecting retention efforts at UWSP based on NSSE results and other institutional data. 
  2. Identify 4-5 reasonable strategies that would have the potential of increasing the retention of first-year students at UWSP. 
  3. Design an action plan for each strategy and present them to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs for action. 
  4. Evaluate the impact of the strategies that are implemented.