Preliminary results of student survey point up improved participation

Every three years, the University invites students in their first and final years to take part in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), where students share their perceptions of what’s happening in and out of class, what engages them, what works — and what needs work.

In Spring 2017, they responded in unprecedented numbers, owing to the joint efforts of faculty, staff, and the students themselves: about 59 per cent of eligible students participated, more than double the participation rate in 2014.

Overall data from the survey is now undergoing analysis. Some preliminary findings include:

  • 79 per cent of first-year students rated their overall educational experience at the University as “good” or “excellent” – a significant increase over 2014 respondents. Responses from fourth-year students held steady.
  • 80 per cent of fourth-year and 50 per cent of first-year students reported participating in at least one high-impact practice — specific activities associated with deep involvement in learning and the development of strong campus relationships. Of particular note were the high rates of involvement in service learning: the proportion of fourth-year students reporting involvement in this activity was 11 per cent higher than Ontario universities generally.
  • Both first- and fourth-year students reported more frequent collaboration with peers than in previous NSSE surveys, at rates comparable to or above the Ontario provincial average.
  • Student-faculty interactions — meaningful discussion and work with faculty outside of class — continued to be a significant Windsor strength compared to other Ontario universities.
  • Students identified classroom upgrades and repairs as an important priority.
  • Significant numbers of first-year students reported struggles with time management, learning course materials, and finding help with school work, but final-year students reported confidence in their skills, from writing and critical thinking to research and technology use.

“There is much to do to understand what students are telling us and to respond to their feedback effectively,” says provost Douglas Kneale. “NSSE is a truly rich source of information about what students are doing and experiencing, and we are looking forward to digging into this information and working to make improvements based on what students have told us.”

As a first step, deans and department heads convened in November to explore the results — both at the institutional and the faculty level — and discuss possible next steps. A summary data report, as well as reporting on current and planned initiatives, will be available on the University website once the data analysis has been completed and as projects unfold.