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President James Danko has been inviting students to fill out the National Survey of Student Engagement via email in the recent weeks.
The survey has been sent to first year and senior bachelor’s degree-seeking students almost exclusively to test first impressions and overall impact.
The National Survey of Student Engagement, or NSSE, as it is commonly referred to, was created with two main goals in mind.
The goal is to give universities and colleges concrete information that will allow them to focus on improving their institutions, according to the results of the 2015 survey.
Butler has used NSSE for almost 15 years. This time around, they are motivating students to take the survey with an incentive.
Nandini Ramaswamy, part of the assessment staff here on campus, said that Butler’s main goal of the survey is to get feedback from the students.
“This is where we get the most specific feedback from students,” Rasmasawamy said. “We get their thoughts and opinions on almost every [academic] office on campus.”
All students who take the survey will have the chance to win a $50 credit to the bookstore on campus.
The survey itself is based on the principle that the more engaged a student is outside of the classroom, the better they will perform in every aspect of life.
It correlates the relationship between students who are engaged with their campus and how they are performing academically, in addition to observing the students well-being outside of the classroom.
The survey asks students to reflect on four different aspects of their college lives: academic challenges, learning with peers, experiences with faculty and campus environment.
According to the survey’s website, “Filling out the questionnaire takes about 15 minutes.”
First-year Lauryn Rees has not taken the survey.
“I’m ignoring the email because I am unhappy about the tuition raises,” Rees said.
She is also unsure that the survey will bring about any benefits on campus.
“I think changes will occur if there is one overall student reaction, otherwise I think the university caters solely to donors,” Rees said.
First-year Julia Bartusek, a peace and conflict studies major, said the survey actually took her between 20 and 30 minutes.
“Honestly, some questions it was hard to select a multiple choice answer,” Bartusek said. “I wish some had been short answers. I feel like the voice Butler wants to be heard was being questioned, not my actual opinions.”
Bartusek however, likes that Butler is trying to reach out to students. She thinks Butler does a lot more than other universities by trying to let the student’s voices be heard she would make a few changes to the survey if she could.
“I would make it in-person or short answer,” Bartusek said. “Multiple choice forces people to fit a mold and accommodate to fit only one.”
First year Marissa Weiner, a critical communication media studies major, also took the survey and said it took her about 30 minutes to complete.
“I think [the survey is] a step in the right direction that our input is being considered,” Weiner said. “But I’m not sure if it will have an immediate effect on campus.”
Weiner said she is definitely glad Butler is reaching out to students but thinks the school could make the survey more flexible.
“I think that the next step would be letting us put our input in without having us conform to yes or no questions and to let us elaborate on our answers,” Weiner said. “I think a lot of the conflicts on campus are more complicated than a yes or no.”
Weiner said that although she does not know if the survey will have any immediate effects on campus, she feels like her voice may be heard.
“I think it’s unique that Butler’s campus is so small and that it’s not as big as state schools, where students might not feel like they have the ability to have an impact on campus,” Weiner said. “There’s so few students here I feel like I could personally make an impact on campus through my voice, which I really appreciate.”
The results of the survey are taken very seriously amongst the departments here at Butler. Every bit of information received back is analyzed.
“We get very rich information back within the results,” Ramaswamy said. “We spend hours carefully looking over the date and then sending it to everyone with an upper administrative position.”