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Shepherd advances in National Survey of Student Engagement

ISSUED: 2 June 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University received high marks in the category of student-faculty interaction in the annual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) issued every three years by the Center for Postsecondary Research at the Indiana University School of Education.

More than 800 higher education institutions in the United States and Canada took part in the last survey, which covered 2015-2016 and asked freshmen and seniors their perception of a host of topics ranging from how many papers they write, to their experiences with various offices on campus.

Dr. Laura Renninger, dean of teaching, learning, and instructional resources, said she’s pleased that Shepherd students rated interaction with faculty so highly. Advisors spend countless hours counseling students who are struggling academically or who need help finding the right career path.

“I think our faculty members go to great lengths to work very closely with our students,” Renninger said. “They involve them in research projects and they take students to conferences. We require students to do capstone projects their senior year, and faculty work very closely to prepare our students for that. We’re very hands-on with our students. Its just part of the culture here.”

Shepherd also improved in several other categories in the 2015-2016 survey, including involvement in service learning.

“We have a thriving service learning program here. More students every year are involved and more faculty are incorporating service learning in their classes,” Renninger said. “It’s very much emphasized here. I think it’s one of the highlights at Shepherd.”

Shepherd also rated higher in the internship category.

“We’re really working to create more internships and field experiences for our students,” Renninger said. “We’ve seen a rise since 2013, and we’re trying to encourage more students to take part in internships.”

Shepherd saw improvement in the culminating senior experience category, and Renninger attributes that to the fact that all seniors must produce a capstone project.

“These (capstones) are identified by NSSE as very high impact practices that promote very deep learning where students retain what they learned,” Renninger said. “These are high impact practices that successful institutions employ.”

Listen to the interview HERE.

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