Clemson University Scores High in Survey Measuring Student Engagement

November 13, 2008

CLEMSON, SC – November 13, 2008 – Clemson University delivers an engaged education at a level better than its peers, according to survey results that measure satisfaction among first-year students and seniors.

Students at Clemson say they receive an education in a challenging intellectual environment that includes opportunities to work closely with instructors and other students inside and outside the classroom. Clemson students also feel the university is committed to their success.

The results come from the annual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which shows that Clemson does better than peer institutions in most of these areas and at least as well in the others. The comparisons were made against other national doctoral-extensive universities. (See more about the NSSE results here.)

The responses were provided by 1,151 randomly selected Clemson students in their first or senior years. Ninety-three percent of the first-year students reported a favorable image of Clemson while 91 percent of seniors would choose Clemson again if they could start over with their college career. Among first-year students, 89 percent feel the university places substantial emphasis on academics and 89 percent believe Clemson has a substantial commitment to their academic success.

“The results of NSSE provide evidence that the current activities in the Academic Success Center, living-learning communities, support programs such as PEER and WISE, and freshmen and sophomore year programs are working,” said Debbie Jackson, vice provost and assistant to the president at Clemson University. “Students have told us through NSSE that they recognize the caring, supportive atmosphere of the university. Students have also identified that their educational programs are rigorous and demanding, and that the faculty care if they are doing well in classes.”

PEER and WISE — Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention and Women In Science and Engineering — are College of Engineering and Science programs designed to help women and minorities majoring in science and engineering.

“Clemson’s goals include improving both our freshmen to sophomore retention and our graduation rate. These goals reflect the university’s commitment to admitting strong students with the potential to do well, to providing academic and personal support from freshmen to seniors, and to graduating students who will do well in their future endeavors,” Jackson said.

Clemson University students reported engagement in high numbers in other areas too: contributing to class discussions, making presentations, working with other students during class and in working with students outside class.

According to research by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, which conducts the survey, activities that engage students and promote interaction with faculty and peers improve retention, graduation rates and satisfaction with the college experience.

The results are compiled in a report called “Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within.” The publication highlights Clemson as a university that has used the survey to improve the culture of engagement on campus. The 2008 report is based on information from students at 722 four-year colleges.