University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
|For Immediate Release:||
November 14, 2001
UH Manoa, Karl Kim, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic
|University of Hawai`i Students On Track with Benchmark Institutions National Survey Measures Student Involvement in Effective Educational Practices|
Results of a national survey that focuses on contributions colleges and universities are making to student learning show that UH graduating seniors at UH Manoa, UH Hilo, and UH West O`ahu all report better than predicted levels of engagement in their academic learning processes. Survey results were released today by University of Hawai`i President Evan S. Dobelle.
Survey results from UH 2001 graduating seniors indicate that all three UH baccalaureate campuses are doing better than expected in all five categories measured in the NSSE survey: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student interactions with faculty members, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment. Entering freshmen experiences at UH Hilo and UH Manoa are mixed, with higher than predicted levels of engagement in three areas and lower levels in two others.
Nationwide, 105,000 randomly selected students at 470 four-year colleges have completed the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa participated in the 2000 and 2001 surveys, and showed higher levels of engagement this year than last. UH West O`ahu and UH Hilo students were surveyed for the first time this year.
Whereas other national "best college" surveys focus on factors such as reputation, entering students test scores, and institutional resources, the NSSE survey assesses the extent to which undergraduates actually engage in practices that are important to their learning. NSSE compiles information about experiences that research has linked to student learning including classroom participation, interactions with faculty and other students, and study habits. This information provides insights into effective teaching and learning.
Survey results permit institutions to benchmark themselves against national results for all types of institutions and against results for all public and private institutions with similar classification. But most importantly, results are indexed against predicted scores that take into consideration the types of students attending and various other institutional characteristics. This permits an assessment of whether UH campuses are doing better or worse than expected given student and institutional make up.
"Results show that UH Manoa scores are well above predicted levels in student interactions with faculty for both freshmen and seniors," said Karl Kim, UHM Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. "Survey results indicated that for freshmen, Manoa provides a strongly supportive campus environment, while for seniors, it excels in active and collaborative learning. The only area of concern is in the level of academic challenge experienced by freshmen (the level of challenge for seniors is high). Kim added, "This is no surprise to us; we are working hard to improve the quality of the freshman year through the expansion of learning communities and increased involvement of faculty mentors. In addition, we are re-designing and modernizing the general education core. These faculty led initiatives will serve to enrich the educational experience for all students at Manoa."
The indexed scores for UH Hilo show that freshmen find an unusually supportive campus environment there, while for seniors, the categories of student interactions with faculty, active and collaborative learning, and enriching educational experiences received high marks. Rose Tseng, Chancellor of UH Hilo notes, "These results reflect that UHH provides excellent student support services, small classes with high faculty/student interactions, opportunities for students to engage side by side with faculty in research projects, and strives to have administrative offices and services that are student oriented." However, she adds, "By focusing on best practices in higher education, NSSE is a great help to faculty in determining areas which might be improved." She reports that UH Hilo faculty are now discussing increasing the rigor of freshmen-level courses in response to campus performance in this area.
For UH West O`ahu, Chancellor Bill Pearman notes, "Our busy working adults have little time for outside-of-class interactions and traditional co-curricular activities. Yet UH West O`ahu received one of the highest scores of all NSSE participating schools in terms of student satisfaction with their college environment, including interactions with other students, faculty and administrators." All of the benchmark scores for UH West O`ahu are very high, with active and collaborative learning, student interactions with faculty, and supportive campus environment being especially outstanding.
"It is clear that as students move from freshman to senior status across the UH system they become increasingly engaged in their education," said Vice President for Planning and Policy Colleen Sathre, "and that is as it should be." She noted that the survey was conducted at a time when the university was beginning to come out of a prolonged period of budget cuts and about the time of the faculty strike. "For students in these circumstances and for campuses that are for the most part commuter campuses, the survey shows that we are engaging students in practices that are critical to their learning. This engagement is the most important thing we do," she added.
"University of Hawaii baccalaureate campuses will participate in the survey again next year and, as soon as the survey is extended to two year institutions, our Community Colleges will also join in," Sathre added. "Survey results help us to better understand how students actually use campus learning resources and this leads to continuous improvement in the student learning experience."