Thinking critically and analytically, working effectively with others, writing clearly and effectively, and developing or clarifying a personal code of values and ethics were just some of the areas where Catawba College seniors who participated in the 2017 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) said they made significant gains during their college careers.
By the time Catawba College students reach their senior year, these same responding students report that they have participated in one of more high-impact practices at rates higher than their peers at other southeast private institutions. This trend is documented in the 2017 and 2016 National Surveys of Student Engagement (NSSE). In those surveys, Catawba’s undergraduate students were asked in their first and final years of college to assess their levels of engagement and other information about their collegiate experience.
In operation since 2000, NSSE has helped Catawba College and other institutions gauge how effective they have been in getting students to participate in high-impact practices shown to positively affect student learning and retention. High-impact practices include learning communities, service-learning, research with faculty, internships, study abroad opportunities, and a senior capstone experience.
In the 2017 survey, Catawba seniors reported participation in two or more high-impact practices at a rate 12% greater than their peers at southeast private institutions. In 2016, Catawba seniors reported that same participation in two or more high-impact practices at a rate 15% greater than their peers at Southeast private institutions.
Catawba seniors in 2017 also reported they were engaged at higher rates than their peers in reflective and integrative learning, quantitative reasoning, collaborative learning, discussions with diverse others, student-faculty interaction, and a supportive environment. In contrast, Catawba first-year students in 2017 only reported engaging in collaborative learning and student-faculty interactions at higher rates than their peers at other southeast privates.
In 2017, 84% of responding Catawba seniors said their institution emphasized spending a significant amount of time studying and on academic work. And, Catawba seniors said they also had been assigned an average of 103 pages of writing during the 2016-2017 academic year, more than their peers at other southeast privates had reported being assigned.
“What year after year of NSSE data tells us is that we as an institution continue to move the needle in very positive ways that benefit our students,” explained Dr. Michael Bitzer, Catawba Provost. “We are delivering on our mission of providing an education rich in personal attention that is grounded in liberal studies combined with career preparation. We are graduating students with the skills that employers want, but who are more than adequately prepared to meet the challenges of their first and subsequent jobs.”
94% of first-year students at Catawba rated their overall experience at the institution as good or excellent, and 89% of Catawba seniors reported the same.