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Source: Steven Hawks, 785-5325712,
Web site:
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010


MANHATTAN -- First-year students and seniors at Kansas State University have an opportunity to help improve K-State by participating in a national survey.

The 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement, also know as NSSE, will be bigger than ever this year, according to Steven Hawks, assistant director of K-State's office of assessment.

"For the first time, the National Survey of Student Engagement is allowing institutions to survey their entire population of first-year and senior students," Hawks said. "Previously, NSSE has only allowed a sample of those populations to take part. By surveying the entire first-year and senior population -- about 9,300 students at K-State -- we hope to have a broader representation of students."

The online engagement survey, which helps K-State and other institutions find out where they need to improve policies and practices to help students succeed, will begin Feb. 8.

The survey obtains, on an annual basis, information from hundreds of four-year colleges and universities nationwide about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.

Hawks said the university will encourage students to participate through direct e-mails, flyers across campus, social media and campus newspaper advertisements. Students who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for prizes including tickets to the upcoming performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" at McCain Auditorium and Varney's gift cards.

"K-State uses the survey data to identify aspects of the undergraduate experience inside and outside the classroom that can be enhanced by incorporating changes to policies and processes that reflect best practices in undergraduate education," said Ruth Dyer, K-State's senior vice provost.

This will be the fourth time that K-State has participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement; the university also participated in 2001, 2004 and 2007.

A variety of questions are asked in the survey, such as how often a student has participated in a community-based project as part of a regular course; how often a student has talked about career plans with a faculty member or adviser; how often a student has worked harder than he or she thought they could to meet an instructor's standards or expectations; how often a student has tried to better understand someone else's views by imagining how an issue looks from that person's perspective; the quality of relationships with other students; the quality of relationships with faculty members; to what extent does K-State emphasize providing the support a student needs to help succeed academically; and, if they could start all over, would they attend K-State again.

Once K-State receives its data from the survey, the office of assessment analyzes the information and produces reports at the university, college and program/area level.

"In these reports, the office of assessment also will show the data longitudinally to view changes in opinions from every three years," Hawks said. "Benchmark reports also are created to compare K-State's scores to select peer groups."

K-State shares its survey results with the public in several ways, Hawks said.

"NSSE results are posted on the office of assessment Web site, the K-State College Portrait, an online source at for potential students to view comparable information about public colleges and universities," he said. "USA Today publishes an annual report on engagement benchmark categories for all participating institutions, and K-State will share the data in the university's self-study document for reaffirmation of its accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission in 2011-2012."

All first-year and senior students at K-State will receive an e-mail invitation from the National Survey for Student Engagement beginning Feb. 8, inviting them to complete the study. Each student receives a unique link to the survey in that e-mail.

Since the survey was first administered in 2000, more than 1,300 different colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada have participated. More information on the National Survey of Student Engagement is available at: