The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) documents the extent to which first-year and senior college and university students engage in educational practices that research has found to be related to learning and development. NSSE was created to accomplish two core objectives: (a) to refocus the national discourse about the quality of teaching and learning, and (b) to provide colleges and universities with diagnostic, actionable information that can inform efforts to improve the quality of undergraduate education. Since its first national administration in 2000, more than 1,500 bachelor's-granting institutions—from research universities to baccalaureate colleges—have adopted NSSE as an important component of their assessment programs. NSSE results inform accreditation self-studies, benchmarking efforts, faculty development programs, strategic plans, improvement initiatives, recruitment materials, and more.
—Director: Alexander C. McCormick
The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) measures entering first-year students' high school academic and cocurricular experiences as well as their expectations for participating in educationally purposeful activities during the first college year. BCSSE results, especially when examined alongside NSSE data from the following spring, can inform initiatives to enhance the first-year experience with recognized effective educational practices. BCSSE results may be used in many ways including: (a) academic advising, (b) retention efforts, (c) first-year program design and evaluation, (c) accreditation and self-studies, (d) faculty and staff development, and (e) recruitment.
—Project Manager: James S. Cole
The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) was designed to complement the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) by asking about the views and practices of instructional staff (faculty, instructors, graduate students who teach, etc.) FSSE asks about instructional staff perceptions of student engagement, the importance placed on various areas of learning and development, the nature and frequency of interactions with students and how instructional staff organize their time.
—Project Manager: Allison BrckaLorenz
The NSSE Institute for Effective Educational Practice develops user resources and responds to requests for assistance with using student engagement results to improve student learning and institutional effectiveness. All colleges and universities can benefit from educationally effective policies and practices that have been successfully implemented at similar types of institutions. The Institute works with institutions and other organizations to collect and disseminate research on promising practices, assist schools in using data for institutional improvement and student success initiatives, and help organizations identify and adapt distinctive qualities that characterize their successful high-performing counterparts.
—Associate Director, NSSE Institute: Jillian Kinzie
The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) documents dimensions of quality in legal education and measures the extent to which law students engage in educational practices that are empirically linked to learning and other desirable outcomes.
—Director: Meera E. Deo
Established in 2008, the mission of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders. NILOA assists institutions and others in discovering and adopting promising practices in the assessment of college student learning outcomes. Documenting what students learn, know and can do is of growing interest to colleges and universities, accrediting groups, higher education associations, foundations and others beyond campus, including students, their families, employers, and policy makers.
—Project Director and Co-Principal Investigator: George Kuh
The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) investigates the educational experiences and career paths of individuals with degrees in the arts, including art, architecture, creative writing, dance, design, media arts, music, and theater in the U.S. and Canada. Since 2008, SNAAP has collected and analyzed data from over 140,000 arts alumni from over 300 institutions in North America. SNAAP results are used by arts schools for planning and assessment, curricular reform, recruitment, and donor and alumni engagement. Nationally, SNAAP findings have transformed the discourse about the value of an arts education.
—Director: Sally Gaskill
The Carnegie ClassificationTM has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades. Starting in 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. Derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, the Carnegie Classification was originally published in 1973, and subsequently updated in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015 to reflect changes among colleges and universities. This framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty.
—Director: Victor M. H. Borden
The Project on Academic Success (PAS) works on various research projects that examine contemporary issues in higher education. These projects include evaluating opportunity and equity in postsecondary education, analyzing college completion, identifying the multiple pathways of 21st century students take toward postsecondary academic success and employment, and investigating institutional effectiveness in the United States and overseas. PAS seeks to understand the fundamental dynamics that contribute toward institutional effectiveness and student success, as well as offer suggestions for their improvement.
—Director: Victor M. H. Borden
The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Project provides tools for colleges and universities to transform their environments and create the conditions for diverse populations to thrive. These optimally inclusive and equitable environments are characterized by 9 CECE indicators: Culturally Familiarity, Culturally Relevant Knowledge, Cultural Community Service, Cultural Validation, Meaningful Cross-Cultural Engagement, Collectivist Cultural Orientations, Humanized Educational Environments, Proactive Philosophies, and Holistic Support. CECE's design, goals, and activities are founded on 4 CECE pillars: Vision—CECE is designed to cultivate a shared vision regarding the kinds of environments that campuses must put in place to be truly inclusive and equitable; Inquiry—CECE is designed to stimulate research and assessment to advance knowledge about institutional environments in postsecondary education; Transformation—CECE is aimed at generating data and evidence that can inform efforts to transform institutions of higher education (including policies, programs, practices, pedagogy, curricula, and activities) to maximize success among diverse populations; and Equity—CECE is focused on advancing an equity agenda through promoting the development of campus environments that equally engage the cultural communities, backgrounds, and identities of all students.
—Director: Samuel David Museus
Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research (IU CPR) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) established the VALUE Institute to provide a continuing resource for higher education institutions to document, report, and use learning outcomes evidence to improve student success in college. The VALUE Institute assessment results provide actionable information about students’ learning to participating institutions. The Institute also supports capacity building for faculty, institutions and policymakers on how to use VALUE evidence to support student success and effective pedagogy.