Help UWL provide the best experience

Seniors, first-year students: Respond to a survey on your UWL experience by March 13 to be entered to win one of many $25 gift cards

Starting Thursday, Feb. 13, first-year students and seniors will receive an email asking them to participate in a 15-minute survey about their UWL experience — the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Answering questions about their academic and campus experience will help the university gather data to identify areas of strength, as well as where the university can improve undergraduate education.

Students who respond by Friday, March 13, will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card for the University Bookstore. A total of 40 prizes will be drawn.

Questions from the NSSE cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • How often students have experienced certain types of learning activities in their courses such as collaborative work and faculty-mentored research
  • How students spend their time and their satisfaction with their interactions with students, faculty and staff
  • Beliefs about how their UWL experience has impacted their skill development such as writing, speaking, and working effectively with diverse groups of people
  • Students experience with advising and the quality of their experience doing high-impact practices, such as study abroad or research.

The university has learned valuable information from past surveys. For instance, 2017 NSSE data shows:

  • UWL has a greater emphasis on well-being: UWL places an emphasis on support for students’ overall well-being (recreation, health care, counseling, etc.) at a higher percentage than several comparison groups: other UW System campuses, the national comparison group, and the university’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System peer group. Both senior and first-year student data shows this trend.
  • Stronger exposure to High Impact Practices: 96% of UWL seniors reported exposure to at least one High Impact Practice (examples of HIPS include: Learning Community, Service Learning, Research with Faculty, Internships, Study Abroad, or Culminating Senior Experience) while on campus. This is compared to 88% of students in the UW System comparison group.
  • Challenging courses: When asked to what extent their courses challenged them to do their best work, 48% of first-year and 53% of seniors rated courses to be a high level of challenge (with a score of 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale).
  • Academic advising work underway: The university learned it needed to improve its academic advising model as first-year student scores on several items related to academic advising were rated lower that the national average. This spurred work in Academic Advising to structure a new, more proactive model for students. This spring’s NSSE will repeat the same academic advising questions to measure any improvements.

The survey will remain open until end of May 2020. However, prizes will only be drawn for those who respond by March 13.

NSSE results are shared internally with faculty and staff groups to make decisions to improve campus supports for students. The survey is administered about once every three years, allowing campus officials to track progress or changes in student needs.

Survey administrators have a goal of a 50% response rate from UWL’s first-year and senior students this spring. Survey administrators are also reaching out to transfer students in the sophomore and juniors classes to gauge their needs.

“The more student responses, the better overall picture we can gain from the results,” says Patrick Barlow, university assessment coordinator.