St. Andrews University has received a major recognition of institutional quality with the release of the results of the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement.
This annual survey collects information from students about the nature and quality of their undergraduate experience.
This year, the survey included more than 300,000 students at more than 500 institutions in the United States and Canada who filled out an extensive questionnaire asking them to rate all aspects of their educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom.
The responses of the St. Andrews University seniors, placed St. Andrews above the national average in all five of the key NSSE Benchmark categories: Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction, Enriching Educational Experiences, and Supportive Campus Environment.
This is the sixth year in a row in which St. Andrews seniors have rated their educational experience above the national NSSE average in every Benchmark category.
“This is a clear indication of why St. Andrews also appears among the best regional colleges and universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings,” said Dr. Robert J. Hopkins, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University. “Looking back on their years at St. Andrews, our seniors feel that they are challenged academically to do their best work.”
Among other things, the Academic Challenge Benchmark looks at the degree to which students believe their coursework emphasizes analysis, the synthesis and the organizing of information; development of the ability to make judgments about the value of information or arguments; and the application of theories to practical problems.
The Active and Collaborative Learning Benchmark focuses on how often students made presentations and contributed to class discussions, worked with other students on assignments, and participated in community or service learning projects. And the Student-Faculty Interaction Benchmark focuses on how often students interacted with faculty outside of class on coursework, student life activities, or research projects.
The Benchmark for Enriching Educational Experiences asks students to indicate whether their coursework encourages them both to integrate and to apply knowledge; and what opportunities they had for activities such as internships, senior projects and capstone courses. Finally, the Supportive Campus Environment Benchmark asks students to rate the support they received to help them succeed academically, and the quality of relationships with professors, administrators, and other students.
“The Supportive Campus Environment Benchmark is an area of particular pride at St. Andrews,” said President Paul Baldasare. “We put an emphasis on being a supportive community in all aspects of the SAU experience. Having 91 percent of first year students report that their peers are friendly, supportive and give them a sense of belonging is a clear statement on how successful we are in this area.”