Students polled to evaluate, improve the university

By Bev Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education

nsse-logo-170PULLMAN, Wash. – Students can win prizes and enhance their university experience by giving feedback to an email they’ll receive from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) starting Monday, March 3. Faculty are asked to encourage their students to look for the email and respond quickly.

Washington State University freshmen and seniors will get the link to the 20-minute survey with a cover letter from Daniel Bernardo, interim provost and executive vice president. Reminder emails will be sent March 11, 25, 31 and April 8.

WSU acts on recommendations

NSSE asks about the quality of student experience and engagement and the WSU environment. Results provide insights into how WSU stacks up compared to other universities and guidance about improvements WSU could make.

“We have participated in NSSE surveys every two years for several cycles, and the results have led to changes in policies, curriculum and resources that benefit students,” said Stephanie L. Kane, administrative planning specialist in the WSU Office of Institutional Research who is coordinating the NSSE effort.

In Pullman, the freshman focus and common reading programs were begun to provide premier community-building academic experiences for first-year students. Distance-degree programs added virtual mentors to help build a sense of community in classes.

WSU Vancouver developed a convenient, one-stop approach to student support services. Mentored undergraduate research opportunities are increasing.

NSSE information back to 2008 is on the Institutional Research website at

Goal is to reach 11,000 students

“WSU is vitally interested in knowing how and how much our students are engaged with the university, its programs and its community,” Kane said. “We will use analyses of the responses to know what we are doing well and what we could be doing better.

“Our goal is to reach every freshman and senior at WSU – about 11,000 students total,” she said. “That includes those in Pullman and at campuses across the state and around the world.

“Added incentives are chances to win prizes for those who participate, with each campus in charge of its own,” she said.

Catch a sighting!

nsse-logo-400To personalize the NSSE campaign for WSU, digital technology and culture alumnus Sean Robertson (’12) took the obvious and gave it a WSU persona.

“The name of the survey lends itself so easily to art of the Loch Ness monster,” he said. “I created a green ‘NeSSiE’ creature floating on an imagined Pullman lake. Putting a WSU ball cap on his reptilian – or amphibian – head was a no-brainer.”

Robertson is a master of fine arts student at the University of Idaho. He works as a communications and marketing assistant in the WSU Office of Undergraduate Education.

His creature will be featured in ads, fliers and digital displays.