Bluefield College outshines other colleges in the Southeast when it comes to caring professors, an emphasis on community service, and the integration of faith in learning, according to a 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
Sponsored by the Institute for Effective Educational Practice, the annual NSSE asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to reflect on their study experiences. The survey focuses on five key benchmarks related to effective educational practice, including the level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment.
In the 2010 survey, Bluefield College scored higher than its peer institutions in the Southeast in how students rated their relationships with faculty and staff. In fact, 77 percent of first-year BC students indicated they had a positive relationship with professors, compared to just 65 percent of students from other private colleges in the Southeast.
Bluefield College also scored well in its emphasis on community service. Seventy-three percent of BC freshmen said they had already participated in community service or volunteer work as part of being a student. Only 52 percent of students from other private Southeast colleges could say the same.
In addition, Bluefield scored well in its efforts to integrate faith in learning. Sixty-nine percent of BC freshmen indicated they had been involved in “serious conversations” about religion with other students or faculty, compared to just 60 percent from other private colleges in the Southeast.
Bluefield College also outscored other Southeast private colleges in the measure of hours spent in co-curricular activities and the use of technology in the classroom.
The National Survey of Student Engagement is designed to provide participating colleges with diagnostic, actionable information that can be used to improve undergraduate education. Nearly 400,000 students from more than 600 colleges participate in the annual survey that measure students’ exposure to and involvement in effective educational practices. NSSE results are helpful in providing prospective students insights into how they might learn and develop at a particular college.
“Colleges and universities derive enormous internal value from participating in the NSSE,” said Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and a member of the NSSE’s National Advisory Board. “Of equal importance is the reassurance to their external publics that a commitment to and improvement of undergraduate education are high priorities.”
The NSSE has collected data from hundreds of four-year colleges and universities nationwide since 1999, using its results to confirm “good practices” in undergraduate education. If the NSSE is any indicator as to what college students are gaining from their experiences, then Bluefield College is indeed fulfilling its mission.
“Our mission is to offer a challenging academic experience within a diverse Christian environment,” said BC president, Dr. David Olive, “one that transforms students’ lives and prepares them to think critically, communicate effectively, and adapt readily to a changing world.”