2008
National survey gives Benedictine high marks in educational effectiveness

National survey gives Benedictine high marks in educational effectiveness
October 3, 2008

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094
pbrozynski@ben.edu

College faculty continually ask themselves if they are succeeding as teachers. Potential students want to know which institution will provide them with the best education. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), conducted by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, was designed to help answer these questions. Each year, NSSE asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to respond to questions about the various learning activities in which they are engaged at their respective institutions. The survey measures responses in five critical areas: Level of Academic Challenge; Active and Collaborative Learning; Student-Faculty Interaction; Enriching Educational Experiences; and Supportive Campus Environment. All five areas are recognized indicators of educational effectiveness. Last spring, Benedictine was among 714 institutions that administered the survey to a random segment of first-year and senior students. More than 375,000 students replied nationwide. Results were distributed in September. How well did Benedictine perform? In all five areas measured, students scored Benedictine higher than the average score for 171 comparable institutions. In fact, first-year students scored Benedictine as well or higher than the highest scoring institutions in all classifications. In several key areas, Benedictine University’s educational opportunities exceeded those of most other institutions. For example, Benedictine’s students were far more likely to collaborate with classmates on assignments outside of class than were students from other institutions. Benedictine’s first-year students reported using computers and technology significantly more than first-year students elsewhere. Seniors gave Benedictine high marks on providing a broad general education, and more said they developed a deepened spirituality than seniors at other schools. Benedictine students also reported a greater emphasis on writing clearly and effectively. Benedictine students wrote more papers and were required to produce more drafts than students at other institutions. They also felt better prepared to solve complex, real-world problems. Benedictine’s diversity was reflected in its scores as well, with both first-year and senior students reporting much higher scores than students from other campuses on questions involving interaction with peers from different racial or ethnic backgrounds. Two of the survey’s final questions asked students to summarize their feelings about the institution: “Are you satisfied with your overall educational experience?” and “If you could start over again, would you go to the same institution you are now attending?” In both cases, favorable responses from Benedictine students exceeded those from comparable institutions. Furthermore, Benedictine seniors not only gave the University a more favorable rating than students from comparable institutions, they gave the University higher marks than students from all institutions participating in the survey. In short, 93 percent of Benedictine’s first-year students were satisfied with their overall education experience, and more than 80 percent of seniors said that if they could start their college career over, they would attend Benedictine University. Next spring, Benedictine University will participate in the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, answering questions about the learning environment they create in order to generate widespread student participation in their own education. The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.