National survey shows BU adds value to students’ lives

Date:  November 14, 2006

BLOOMSBURG— Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania seniors rank above the national average for active and collaborative learning and student faculty interaction, according to a survey done by the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE).

The survey looks at five key areas for a university: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environments. The results are based on answers from randomly selected first-year students and seniors. 

“The survey shows both our strengths and weaknesses. Knowledge like this helps us to be flexible and make needed changes in order to send students out into the world as well-rounded members of the community,” said James Mackin, BU’s provost.

BU freshmen and seniors ranked close to the national average on the items associated with academic challenge. This area looks at class preparation and the number of required reading and writing assignments. Mackin believes this is an area where the university can grow stronger.

“I’ve discussed these results with the writing strategy taskforce to get recommendations on what we can do to improve that,” said Mackin.

Mackin believes the area regarding active and collaborative learning shows the improvement that students undergo throughout their time at BU. This area focuses on class discussions and presentations, working with other students and tutoring other students. While first-year students were ranked below the national average in this category, seniors ranked above the national average, which indicates the growth and preparation students go through at the university.  

BU seniors ranked above the national average and freshmen tied it in the student-faculty interaction category. These items involve discussions with faculty members and advisers, working with faculty members outside of class and receiving feedback on academic performance. 

The survey also measured enriching education experiences and supportive campus environments. Both seniors and freshmen were tied with the national average in these categories. Enriching educational experiences examines participation in co-curricular activities, internships, community service and foreign language coursework. The supportive campus environments area measures the quality of relationships with other students, faculty and staff.

The NSSE randomly samples over 200,000 students from more then 500 colleges and universities around the nation. BU was one of the 58 universities in Pennsylvania that participated and one of the nine universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The NSSE survey documents dimensions of quality in undergraduate education and provides information and assistance to colleges, universities and other organizations to improve student learning. Its primary activity is annually surveying college students to assess the extent to which they engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development.  

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.