by Cherese Colston, Published May 11, 2012
YPSILANTI - Students' perceptions of the campus environment, the academic advising process and the overall educational experience at Eastern Michigan University are showing visible improvements since 2008, according to a national survey of college students.
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has been administered annually since 2008 to current first-year and senior students. In winter 2011, more than 1,500 EMU students participated, up 4 percent from the previous year's participation rate.
Participating in the survey opens up a distinct opportunity for students to influence the University's future, survey administrators say.
"This is really their chance to give their input in what direction they want to see the University go," says Tingho Huang, a research analyst in the office of institutional research and information management (IRIM) at EMU.
Bin Ning, assistant vice president and executive director of IRIM, added that such a survey allows the University to acknowledge its strengths and refocus its efforts on opportunities for improvement.
"Our single purpose of gathering this information is to help current and future students," Ning says. "By identifying our strengths and weaknesses, it encourages administration to continue improving the areas that need attention."
The survey measures the effectiveness of the University's educational and service practices in various areas, including level of academic challenge, enriching educational experiences, active and collaborative learning, supportive campus environment and student and faculty interaction. Among the survey's noteworthy results:
"We create the learning environment, so this is an indicator that students are benefiting from the collective efforts of faculty and staff," Ning says. "The survey results show that our dedication is paying off. EMU will continue to make improvements to better serve our students."