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And the survey says…

Concordia freshman and senior students are, in general, significantly more satisfied than the other private and public schools and universities who participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement, according to the 2010 survey. When it came to the aspect of the survey dealing with student-faculty interaction, however, Concordia students rated significantly lower than the other private schools. Additionally, student satisfaction with administration personnel and offices at Concordia was 12 points lower than the private school average.

The NSSE aims to assess satisfaction and student engagement of freshman and seniors who have attended either a public or private four-year college or university for at least two semesters. The NSSE uses five benchmarks to determine whether students are satisfied with their institutions. These benchmarks include academic challenge, active learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching education experiences and supportive campus environment.

One specific question on the survey aimed at the seniors dealt with positively rating their relationships with administration personnel and offices in general. Concordia seniors had a 52 percent satisfaction rate here, contrasted with 58 percent of public schools, 64 percent of private schools, and 57 percent with the overall NSSE results.

The NSSE was started in 1998 with the support of a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. NSSE collects data each year from hundreds of four-year colleges and universities to investigate student learning and personal development. Concordia previously gave the survey out to students every two years, but now it will be administered every year.

Elaine Ackerman, director of assessment, is involved with interpreting the data from the NSSE to our campus. She said that although there is no scientific data to support it, there seems to be a relationship between how much students are engaged on campus and their academics. Ackerman said that before they can focus on raising the numbers from the student-faculty interaction, more analysis and interpretation have to be done.

“Before we can form a plan, we have to identify what the issue is,” she said, “and we start with individual offices. We have more work in identifying what the challenges are, but we have taken note of it and we will be actively working toward identifying specifics and developing a plan.”

Junior Mike Eikmeier tends to think negatively of administrative offices because he said he feels those offices don’t make themselves known to the campus.

“There’s a great disconnect between the administration and the students,” he said. “Unless the students are involved in things like SGA, they don’t know how the administration is at all.”

Eikmeier said one of the reasons he leans negatively is because he isn’t sure what the administration does.

“It seems like there is so many of them and yet I’m not sure who they are or what they do exactly,” he said.

Sophomore Nikolai Sherepa, however, said in general his experiences have been positive, although his interactions have been primarily with faculty since he had had little experience of the administration.

“With only a few exceptions, all of the teachers I’ve had have been competent, passionate about their subjects and effective at teaching the material of the course,” he said. “I get the feeling that my teachers care about me and want me to succeed. Whether or not this is true, it feels like that to me.”

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