Admin asks students what they think

By Stephanie Mamayson

While students are gearing up for the final push to the semester’s end, some undergraduates have been taking a multiple choice quiz of a different sort.

Beginning mid-February, first and fourth-year students at the University of Calgary have been taking part in the National Survey of Student Engagement in an attempt to identify aspects of the undergraduate experience that can be improved both inside and outside the classroom.

Since the NSSE was last conducted in 2004, the U of C has been working to better the quality of education as well as the quality of the learning environment and U of C vice-president academic Dr. Alan Harrison hopes these efforts will be reflected in the survey.

“We’ve made many improvements to the service we provide to students, but we have only recently turned our attention to the quality of the learning environment,” said Harrison.

The Students’ Union partnered with university administration to endorse and encourage students to participate in the survey.

“[Administration is] committed to sharing the results with the SU and the general public,” said SU president Emily Wyatt. “In comparing these results to before, we can see where there have been improvements and where things have stayed the same.”

By targeting areas with limited change, administration hopes to have a better sense of what direction to take.

“We shall use the results as the basis for a comprehensive assessment of the quality of the learning environment, and how to improve,” said Harrison. “Students will be involved in discussions of a three-year action plan.”

In addition to the U of C, Maclean’s magazine has also used the NSSE survey to compare and rank Canadian universities in their annual university student issue after a number of Canadian universities, including the U of C, refused to participate in a survey created by Maclean’s.

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