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Students Give HU High Marks for Educational Experience

Photo of Lee Allard

Lee Allard

August 28, 2019

Las Vegas, N.M. – Eighty-nine percent of seniors and 83 percent of freshmen rated their entire educational experience at Highlands as excellent or good, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

“This very high score for how our students rate their educational experience at Highlands speaks volumes for the work so many people are doing here to serve our students at the highest possible level,” said Sam Minner, Highlands University president.

The NSSE is a national survey of academic and co-curricular activities that are associated with increased student engagement.

The Highlands Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research coordinated the administration of the standardized survey in February and March 2019. Highlands participates in the survey every three years.

“Compared to our peer institutions in the Southwest, Highlands freshmen scored comparably or better on all 10 of the NSEE engagement indicators, with especially high scores on the indicators for quantitative reasoning and student-faculty interaction,” said Lee Allard, director for the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research. “Similarly, Highlands seniors scored especially high on the indicator for reflective and integrative learning.”

Shawn Flood, an institutional research and assessment analyst at Highlands, said the survey response rates this year broke records for all the years Highlands has participated in the survey, dating back to 2009.

“For seniors, the response rate was 31 percent, a 29 percent increase from 2016, and for freshmen the response rate was 26 percent, an increase of 44 percent from 2016,” Flood said. “These response rates are significantly higher than the mean response rate for our peer institutions in the Southwest.”

Highlands used a variety of communication channels with students to increase the response rate, such as advertising the survey through global email announcements, public service announcements on the university’s radio station KDEP, social media reminders on twitter and Facebook, and flyers placed across campus including the residence halls.

Some other findings for the National Survey of Student Engagement for Highlands include:

-90 percent of freshmen at Highlands said the institution emphasized the use of learning support services.

-89 percent of freshmen participated in high impact practices (HIPs) and 85 percent of seniors participated in HIPs such as community-based service-learning projects.

-86 percent of freshmen said instructors clearly explained course goals and requirements quite a bit or very much.

– 73 percent of freshmen and 65 percent of seniors said instructors gave prompt and detailed feedback on tests or completed assignments.

-Freshmen scored well in measurements relating to faculty interaction, such as talking with a faculty member about career plans and discussing course topics, ideas or concepts with a faculty member outside of class.

-Seniors scored well on connecting their learning to societal problems or issues.

-Seniors also scored well in the level of interaction with other students from different backgrounds such as economic, racial, political and religious.

-Compared to peer institutions in the Southwest, Highlands students expressed high levels of interaction with their advisers.

“One of the common themes we’re seeing in the survey results is the importance of interactions that our Highlands students have with faculty, advisers and other students,” Allard said.