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Faculty Survey of Student Engagement - 2009 Campus Results

About FSSE

A companion to the NSSE, the FSSE measures how engaged faculty think their students are in the academic and personal development. A key factor are where there are "gaps" between what faculty perceive and what students report, providing an opportunity for improvement to narrow the gap.

The FSSE is designed to evaluate how faculty members perceive the level of effective student engagement, both in terms of faculty expectations and faculty perceived realities. When compared with NSSE data collected from student, it enables a college to look at discrepancies between how involved faculty think students are in effective student engagement practices and how involved students report themselves as being. Where discrepancies exist that are important to mission of the institution, strategies can be developed to help address concerns.

In addition, the FSSE asks faculty to self-report the time they spend on teaching, research/creative, and service activities, as well as the format/teaching style of their typical undergraduate class. The FSSE also asks faculty about the extent to which their students are prepared to contribute to society, and the willingness of faculty to adapt their teaching efforts to meet the learning styles of today's undergraduate students.

 

Gap Analysis - Comparison of Faculty Perceived (FSSE) and Student Reported (NSSE) Levels of Effective Student Engagement

In Spring 2009, the 363 of Western faculty members who taught undergraduate courses were asked to participate in the confidential on-line FSSE. Of these, 120 of faculty responded, generating the findings summarized below. A downloadable PDF is also provided.

Note that a 0.5 level was utilized to determine the most significant gap between student reporting and faculty perception of student activity.

 

Academic and Intellectual Experiences

Faculty perception and student report of effective student engagement was similar with respect to Academic and Intellectual Experiences, with the greatest differences being:

  • Students reported a higher rate of discussing ideas from their reading or classes with others outside of class than faculty perceived they did.
  • Students reported a lower rate of receiving prompt feedback from faculty on their academic performance than faculty reported providing.
  • Students reported having a higher frequency of conversations with other students who have very different religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values, than faculty perceived they did.

 

(1=Never, 2=Sometimes, 3=Often, 4=Very often)
Student Reported Level of Engagement Faculty Perception  of Student Engagement
Worked harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor's standards or expectations
 2.73  2.34
Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions
 2.93  2.54
Made a class presentation
 2.36  2.02
Worked with other students on projects during class
 2.53  2.58
Worked with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments
 2.53  2.32
Tutored or taught other students (paid or voluntary)
 1.71  1.68
Participated in a community-based project (e.g., service learning) as part of a regular course
 1.64  1.67
Discussed ideas from your reading or classes with others outside of class (students, family members, co-workers, etc.)
 2.65  2.01
Discussed grades or assignments with an instructor
 2.80  2.68
Talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor
2.50
 2.28
Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members outside of class
1.99  1.96
Received prompt feedback from faculty on your academic performance (written or oral)
2.72  3.35
Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student life activities, etc.)
1.92  1.85
Used an electronic medium (listserv, chat group, Internet, instant messaging, etc.) to discuss or complete an assignment
 2.58  2.38
Had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity than your own
 2.48  1.99
Had serious conversations with students who are very different from you in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values
 2.60  2.05

 

Mental Activities

Faculty perception and student report of effective student engagement was similar with respect to all but one of the Mental Activities parameters analyzed.

  • Students felt their coursework emphasized applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations to a greater extent than faculty did.

 

(1=Very little, 2=Some, 3=Quite a bit, 4=Very much)
Student Reported Level of Engagement Faculty Perception of Student Engagement
Coursework emphasizes memorizing facts, ideas, or methods from your courses and readings so you can repeat them in pretty much the same form
 2.91 2.74
Coursework emphasizes analyzing the basic elements of an idea, experience, or theory, such as examining a particular case or situation in depth and considering its components  3.60 2.73
Coursework emphasizes synthesizing and organizing ideas, information, or experiences into new, more complex interpretations and relationships
 2.85 2.58
Coursework emphasizes making judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods, such as examining how others gathered and interpreted data and assessing the soundness of their conclusions
 2.91 2.49
Coursework emphasizes applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations  3.09 2.57

 

Reading and Writing

Faculty perception and student report of effective student engagement was similar with respect to all but one of the Reading and Writing parameters addressed.

  • Students reported a higher number of assigned texts, books, or book-length packs of course readings than faculty reported requiring.

 

(1=None, 2=1-4, 3=5-10, 4=11-20, 5=More than 20)
Student Reported Level of Engagement Faculty Perception of Student Engagement
Number of assigned textbooks, books, or book-length packs of course readings
 3.11 2.55
Number of written papers or reports of 20 pages or more
 1.39 1.51
Number of written papers or reports between 5 and 19 pages
 2.34 2.17
Number of written papers or reports of fewer than 5 pages
 3.22 2.84

 

Time Usage

Faculty perception and student report of effective student engagement was differed considerably with respect all 3 of the Time Usage measures compared:

  • The greatest gap (1.52) was with respect to time spent relaxing and socializing, with faculty perceiving students spent at least 5 more hours/week socializing and relaxing that students reported doing.
  • In keeping with this contrasting view of how students spend their time, faculty also felt students spent far less time studying that students reporting doing.
  • And faculty also perceived students as spending more time participating in co-curricular activities than students reported.

 

(1=0, 2=1-5, 3=6-10, 4=11-15, 5=16-20, 6=21-25, 7=26-30, 8=More than 30)
Student Reported Level of Engagement Faculty Perception of Student Engagement
Hours per 7-day week spent preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, doing homework or lab work, analyzing data, rehearsing, and other academic activities)
 3.82 2.88
Hours per 7-day week spent participating in co-curricular activities (organizations, campus publications, student government, social fraternity or sorority, intercollegiate or intramural sports, etc.)
 2.62 3.37
Hours per 7-day week spent relaxing and socializing (watching TV, partying, etc.)
 4.03 5.55

 

Institutional Emphasis

Faculty perception and student report of effective student engagement was similar with respect to all but 1 of the Institutional Emphasis parameters analyzed.

  • Students felt that the institution placed a greater emphasis on spending significant amounts of time studying and on academic work that faculty perceived.

 

(1=Very little, 2=Some, 3=Quite a bit, 4=Very much)
Student Reported Level of Engagement Faculty Perception of Student Engagement
Spending significant amounts of time studying and on academic work
 2.96 2.46
Providing the support you need to help you succeed academically
 3.02 2.97
Helping you cope with your non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)
 2.29 2.42
Providing the support you need to thrive socially
 2.52 2.54
Encouraging contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds  2.62 2.58

 

Quality of Relationships

Faculty perception and student report of effective student engagement was similar with all but 1 of the Quality of Relationships parameters analyzed.

  • Students reported better relationships with administrative personnel and offices that faculty perceived they would.

 

(1=Unfriendly, Unsupportive, Sense of Alienation to 7=Friendly, Supportive, Sense of Belonging)
Student Reported Level of Engagement Faculty Perception of Student Engagement
Relationships with other students
 5.58 5.22
Relationships with faculty members
 5.38 5.38
Relationships with administrative personnel and offices
 4.79 4.28

 

Enriching Educational Experiences

Faculty perception of the importance of Enriching Educational Experiences and student reporting on their having or planning to participate in these experiences was similar.

  • Faculty considered participating in a practicum, internship, field experience, co-op experience, or clinical assignment to be the most important of the analyzed enriching educational experiences. This was matched by the highest percentage, 81%, of students having participated or planning to do so in this type of experience.
  • Student participation was second highest, 74%, in community service or volunteer work, while this experience was a distant fourth place behind a culminating senior experience and working with a faculty member on a research project in terms of faculty sense of importance.

 

(1=Not important, 2=Somewhat important, 3=Important, 4=Very important)
Students Who Have or Plan To
Faculty Value of Importance
Work on a research project with a faculty member outside of course or program requirements
35%
2.74
Practicum, internship, field experience, co-op experience, or clinical assignment
 81% (#1)
 3.18 (#1)
Community service or volunteer work
 74% (#2)
2.68
Foreign language coursework
32%
 2.60
Study abroad
20% 2.42
Participate in a learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together
31%
2.31
Culminating senior experience (capstone course, thesis, project, comprehensive exam, etc.)
38%
 3.16 (#2)

 

 

Faculty Activity - Report of Time Spent on Faculty-Related Activities, Typical Undergraduate Course Format, and Perceived Value of Student Education

In addition, the FSSE asks faculty to self-report the time they spend on teaching, research/creative, and service activities, as well as the format/teaching style of their typical undergraduate class. The FSSE also asks faculty about the extent to which their students are prepared to contribute to society, and the willingness of faculty to adapt their teaching efforts to meet the learning styles of today's undergraduate students. Click the link above to view these results.