Snapshots Announcements Spotlight UTSA Athletics

May 2013, Issue 5

Planning and Assessment

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Student Engagement

At the Student Affairs Council meeting in March, staff participated in a discussion about student engagement and what it means to them, their department, and our division. Prior to the meeting, a survey was conducted about various definitions of student engagement as cited in related literature. The following definition aligned most closely with the group’s interpretation of what student engagement means:

Refers to a student’s willingness, need, desire, and compulsion to participate in, and be successful in, the learning process promoting higher level thinking for enduring understanding.*

Based upon this definition, these follow-up questions were presented:
      -   How do we inspire our students to feel compelled in their success?
      -   How do we help them think at higher levels?

What would your answers to these questions be? How do you think we are doing at UTSA in terms of student engagement? Although our conversations are specific to Student Affairs, I thought it would be helpful to share the results of the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) with you. This survey was administered to 1,329 students at UTSA who were asked about five broad components of student engagement. Here are some highlighted results for each component:

Academic Challenge

55% of first-year students frequently work harder than they thought they could to meet faculty expectations.
Active Learning

54% of first-year students frequently discuss readings or ideas from courses outside of class.
Student-Faculty Interaction

64% of first-year students say their faculty are available, helpful and sympathetic.
Enriching Educational Experiences

59% of seniors frequently have serious conversations with those of a different race or ethnicity; 53% of seniors participate in community service or volunteer work.
Supportive Campus Environment

79% of first-year students rate their experience as good or excellent; 79% of seniors would choose this school again if they could start their college career over.

For more information about our NSSE results, go to the Voluntary System of Accountability ( You will find the “College Portrait” for UTSA at this site, which includes general information and data about our student population, graduation rates, costs, and course statistics, among other items. If you click on “Student Experiences,” you will also see summary information about our NSSE results.

Student engagement is a broad concept that encompasses many facets which contribute to the overall student experience. As we move forward, I encourage you to think about what student engagement means to you in your everyday work, and how you might contribute to engagement in a new way. Have an idea you want to share? Email me.

*Schlechty, P. (1994). "Increasing Student Engagement." Missouri Leadership Academy. p. 5.

See you next month!

Kasey Neece-Fielder
Kasey Neece-Fielder
Director of Strategic Planning and Assessment
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs