NSSE questionnaire hits freshman and senior inboxes

More than 700 Castleton seniors and first-year students will soon have the opportunity to win one of three cash prizes worth $300, $200 and $100. Eligible students received e-mails last Thursday encouraging them to participate in the National Survey of Student Engagement, which measures student involvement inside and outside of the classroom.”The survey provides valuable feedback from a student perspective regarding issues that would otherwise be difficult for faculty and staff to assess,” said Colleen Klatt, special assistant to the president for Institutional Grants and Research.

Students are questioned about how they spend their free time, what their plains are after graduation and how they interact with faculty and other students.

Although the survey takes only about 15 minutes to complete, Castleton takes student input very seriously.

“It helps us understand better who our new students are and what students are like after their fourth year here,” said Joe Mark, Academic Dean.

Castleton is able to contrast its results with hundreds of colleges across the country that also conduct the NSSE. Such comparisons allow CSC to celebrate its strengths and make improvements on weak areas.

Mark was most excited about Castleton’s newfound opportunity to create a “custom comparison.” This option allowed the college to make a customized list of similar institutions in order to compare data. Colby-Sawyer, Saint Michaels College and Norwich University were included in the group.

Information collected from the NSSE is used to improve the undergraduate experience at Castleton.

Last year’s survey results influenced Castleton’s decision to increase the number of study abroad programs and international students on campus said Mark.

“It’s kind of like voting where your voice matters,” said Klatt. “It’s your opportunity to share your honest feedback.”

The organization that distributes the survey couldn’t agree more.

“I have to give Castleton State credit for wanting to know this information,” said Jillian Kinzie, NSSE Associate Director. “It would be easy for them to ignore the opportunity to collect this data, but they take student feedback very seriously.”

Castleton seniors and first year students have until Apr. 15 to complete the online survey and be entered to win one of the cash prizes.

Mark hopes that students will take advantage of the opportunity to elevate their Castleton experience.

“It’s a service honestly. It’s a gift they give the college that helps us improve,” he said. “Some changes will be realized while they are still here and for others their alma mater will be made better.

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