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National Survey of Student Engagement Shows Students Gain Through Winthrop Experience

Quick Facts

 According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, first-year Winthrop students report more participation in learning communities.
 Winthrop is the only public institution in South Carolina to have administered the survey each of the past seven years.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - First-time students and seniors at Winthrop University who took a recent national survey reported that they are more engaged in university life than many of their counterparts at other institutions around the country.
The National Survey of Student Engagement provides information to students and parents regarding effective teaching and student learning instead of rating colleges on the basis of their institutional resources, students’ incoming SAT scores and public reputation, like some college guidebooks.

The latest NSSE results found that Winthrop seniors report having completed more research with faculty, study abroad opportunities and culminating senior experiences than many of their peers. First-year students at Winthrop also report more participation in learning communities. Typically, students who take part in such high-impact activities during college have a higher performance in many areas, such as thinking critically, solving real world problems and working effectively with others.

NSSE questions focus on educational processes considered by informed observers and employers to be essential for a college educated person in the 21st century.

Winthrop’s students were among 316,000 freshmen and seniors at 610 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to complete the survey. More than 600 first-year students and seniors from Winthrop completed the survey in spring 2007.

Winthrop’s results exceeded those of its peers at other master’s granting universities in all five categories, according to Daniel Weinstein, executive director of Winthrop's Office of Institutional Effectiveness. The five benchmarks are: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interactions, enriching educational experiences and a supportive campus environment.
“Winthrop continues to put more and more stock in NSSE each year – especially in the pattern of results we see over time. It has turned out to be one of our most important tools for planning,” Weinstein said.

Winthrop is the only public institution in South Carolina to have administered the survey each of the past seven years.

Some of the highlights of Winthrop’s results include:

  • Both first-year and senior students reported this year making more class presentations, working with classmates outside of class and participating in a community-based project than their counterparts at other similar institutions.
  • Winthrop’s first-year students reported more favorably than their peers that they were encouraged to have contact with students from different economic, social and racial backgrounds.
  • Seniors reported talking more about career plans with a faculty member or advisor and completing foreign language coursework than many of their peers. 
  • Senior students self-reported significantly higher than their peers nationally in being engaged in such intellectual activities as synthesizing information, making judgments, and applying theories and concepts to solve real-world problems.

View the NSSE results online.

The National Survey of Student Engagement is supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and cosponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and The Pew Forum for Undergraduate Learning. For more information, contact Weinstein at 803/323-2169.

USA Today newspaper featured NSSE in its Nov. 5 edition as a tool for measuring excellence at institutions across the country and debuted a web site the newspaper created for 257 institutions that are willing to have their NSSE scores made public and appear in a comparative data base. In addition to having an impressive set of survey results reported, Winthrop is one of only 35 institutions nationally receiving special mention in the story under a heading that looks at "some approaches used by colleges that report higher-than-average levels of engagement …."

For more information:

Read the cover story on NSSE. Click here to see Winthrop’s NSSE scores relative to participating institutional averages as they appear on USA Today Web site. Access a story about "good things" going on at various standout institutions, including Winthrop, here.

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