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11/24/2014

NSSE Survey Shows Winthrop Students Value Their College Experience

Quick Facts

 Winthrop’s participants - 440 first-year students and seniors - were among students from 622 institutions in the United States whose university experiences were reflected in the 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) report, “Bringing the Institution Into Focus."
 Eighty-nine percent of first-year and senior respondents said their college experience was positive, either excellent or good. Studies have consistently found that the more students are actively involved in their learning and campus life, the more successful they are in other areas.

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Debra Boyd
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University students agree: The Rock Hill school has delivered on the promise of a quality education.

An overwhelming number of first-year students and seniors rated their educational experience in college as excellent or good, according to a recent national online survey.

Winthrop’s participants - 440 first-year students and seniors - were among students from 622 institutions in the United States whose university experiences were reflected in the 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) report, “Bringing the Institution into Focus”.

The survey asks first-year students and seniors about five key areas: academic challenge, learning, interaction with faculty, educational experiences and the campus environment. In campus environment, the survey asked students how satisfied they are with their educational experience. View Winthrop's results here.

Eighty-nine percent of first-year and senior respondents said their college experience was positive, either excellent or good. Studies have consistently found that the more students are actively involved in their learning and campus life, the more successful they are in other areas.

Acting President Debra Boyd said the NSSE results affirm the university’s student-centered approach. “Winthrop’s faculty and staff truly care, and they work hard to ensure educational success is within reach for each and every student,” she said. “I’m proud of the work we do to put students first.”

Other highlights of Winthrop's 2014 results include:

• About 90 percent of first-year students reported that Winthrop placed substantial emphasis on learning support services, whether tutoring, the Writing Center or other services. Winthrop has created an Academic Success Center to help students adjust to more rigorous studies. Some 60 percent of first-year students reported that their courses “highly” challenged them to do their best work.

• By their senior year, 63 percent of Winthrop respondents reported participating in some form of practicum, internship, field experience or clinical assignment, compared to 46 percent at peer institutions. Academic departments and the Center for Career & Civic Engagement encourage and facilitate internships locally in the Rock Hill area as well as in nearby Charlotte.

• Among Winthrop's first-year students, 73 percent report having frequent discussions with people with different political views, 76 percent frequently had talks with those from different economic backgrounds and 86 percent frequently had discussions with people from a different race or ethnicity, providing evidence of Winthrop’s commitment to deliver learning experiences that enable undergraduates to gain competency collaborating with members of diverse academic, professional, and cultural communities as informed and engaged citizens. Winthrop ranks higher than other peer schools in each category.

• More than half of new students report that faculty members are accessible and supportive. More than 60 percent of seniors have frequently discussed career plans with faculty members, something that only 42 percent of NSSE seniors had done. By senior year, 30 percent of students had worked on research with a faculty member. This number should continue to grow as Winthrop’s undergraduate research initiative expands across the campus.

• Eighty-two percent of seniors have participated in community service projects by their last year, reflecting Winthrop's commitment to public service that is of benefit to South Carolina, the nation, and beyond. At peer institutions, only 65 percent had similar participation.

Winthrop officials have used NSSE results over the years to improve student learning and sharpen the focus on engagement through such initiatives as University-Level Competencies and the Global Learning Initiative.

Winthrop has participated in 12 NSSE administrations, including the 2012 pilot of the updated instrument and the 2014 administration. Winthrop publicly reports its NSSE results on an easy-to-read web site that is highlighted by NSSE for integrating campus initiatives with its NSSE results, and was featured in NSSE's 2013 June newsletter as a model institution.

NSSE was established with a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Subsequent research and development projects have been supported by Lumina Foundation for Education, the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, the Spencer Foundation, The Teagle Foundation, and the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative.

NSSE’s Annual Results report is sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, in the Office of University Relations at 803/323-2236 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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