National student survey indicates greater improvement in Eastern Michigan's campus environment

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:

  • In 2011, 83 percent of first-year students said they would ''definitely'' or "probably" choose EMU again if they had to start over, compared to 78 percent in 2008. 
  • EMU received a score of 62 out of 100 from first-year students for having a supportive college environment, compared to previous year's score of 58.
  • If looking at the population of transfer students, more than 80 percent of those at the senior level reported that their overall experience at EMU was ''excellent'' or ''good'' in 2011, compared to 73 percent in 2008.
  • First-year students reported a higher level of faculty interaction inside and outside of the classroom through alternative academic activities such as research projects or committees. The overall score increased from 32.1 in 2008 to 34.7 in 2010.

"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."


Cherese Colston

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