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Catawba Students Interact More with Faculty than Their Peers at Other Institutions

December 05, 2013

Category: Academics, Students


NSSECatawba College first-year students and seniors interact more with their faculty members and other students than their peers at other Southeast Private institutions. This according to the responses these students submitted while participating in the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Each year since 2000, NSEE had collected information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in activities and programs that promote their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending their college or university.

Catawba first-year students reported that they discussed course topics, ideas, or concepts with a faculty member outside of class at a rate 17% higher than that of their peers at other Southeast Private institutions. They reported collaborative learning at a rate 15% higher than their peers, and that they worked with a faculty member on activities other than classwork at a rate 14% higher.

Catawba first-year students responded that their instructors provided prompt and detailed feedback on tests or completed assignments and that they had discussions with people with political views other than their own at a rate that was 11% higher than their peers at other Southeast Private institutions.

These aforementioned responses by first-year students were mirrored at an even higher percentage rate by Catawba College seniors who responded to the 2013 NSSE. Catawba seniors reported that they had participated in an internship, a co-op, field experience, student teaching or a clinical placement (all considered high impact practices in higher education) at a rate 29 percent higher than what was reported by their peers at other Southeast Private institutions.

Catawba seniors participating in the NSSE survey said they discussed their academic performance with a faculty member and prepared for exams by discussing or working through course material with other students at a rate 28% greater than their peers reported. These seniors reported they worked with a faculty member on activities other than coursework at a rate 24% higher than their peers. And, like their first-year counterparts at Catawba, these seniors reported that they had discussions with people with political views other than their own; these seniors reported this at a rate 22% higher than their peers at other Southeast Private institutions and at a rate 11% higher than their first-year counterparts at Catawba.

"We know where Catawba's strengths lie – in faculty-student interactions, in collaborative learning, and experiential learning," explained Catawba Provost Dr. J. Michael Bitzer. "The personal interaction that our low student-to-faculty ratio allows is something that we are very proud of, because that is who we are from our mission statement. We provide an education rich in personal attention, that on our campus our students aren't just numbers, and what these responses tell us is that we are delivering on those promises and the college's reason for being."

Catawba seniors also reported on how much their Catawba experience contributed to their perceived gains in knowledge, skills, and personal development. Ninety-one percent of these seniors reported that they gained critical and analytical thinking skills. Eighty-nine percent said they had become more adept at writing clearly and effectively, while 80 percent reported they had improved in their ability to work effectively with others.

"What employers want in today's college graduates are excellent thinkers and communicators," Bitzer said. "It is rewarding that Catawba students feel prepared to meet the demands and possess the traits that employers want in their employees."

Ninety-two percent of the Catawba seniors reported that their overall experience at Catawba was "excellent" or "good." This ninety-two percent satisfaction response mirrors what their peers at other Southeast Private institutions reported. Eighty-six percent of the Catawba seniors said they would "definitely" or "probably" attend Catawba again.

Catawba College and its students have participated in NSSE annually since 2009. Institutions, including Catawba, use their data to identify aspects of undergraduate experience that can be improved through changes in policy and practice. NSSE has been in operation since 2000 and has been used in more than 1,500 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada.

 


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