As students progress in their various academic programs at the College, we collect data in a variety of ways to assess our efforts and develop policies and practices in response to what we learn. On a regular basis we conduct surveys of students regarding their experience of Academic Advising and compare their responses with the experience of the advisors themselves. We also have participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in nine of the last eleven years. In fact, Saint Michael’s was one of twelve institutions invited to participate in the original NSSE pilot survey.
Recently, we have begun to utilize selected questions from the NSSE to assess our students in terms of their learning outcomes in the Liberal Studies Area (LRE) of our curriculum. This follows closely on the heels of the successful development of assessment plans for each of our concentrations.
We realize that at various points some students may struggle with their academic programs, and in that light Saint Michael’s works at keeping a balance between intervention and allowing students to make decisions that sometimes have serious consequences. Several years ago the Provost and Dean of Students established an ad hoc group of academic and student life administrators to keep all parties alert to any students who may need additional attention and support in both Academic and Residential settings. The spirit of this initiative continues in the close working relationship between these offices.
Academic Advising at Saint Michael’s College is both learning centered and student focused. This very important exchange between faculty and students is primarily an academic activity which focuses on facilitating the student’s capacity to make wise choices at the College in preparation for wise choices in life. Such a process is information rich, multi-layered, and developmental. With access to relevant information on courses and careers, drawing upon the advice of not only formal academic advisors but also other members of the College community and friends and family, students “learn” how to make wise choices over the course of four years.
On a regular basis, we survey all undergraduates concerning their experience with their academic advisors. In addition to exploring student opinions about the effectiveness of advisors and student satisfaction with the advising process, we also ask students to evaluate their own roles as advisees. Finally, we share departmental specific findings with individual Department Chairs.
Academic Advising Survey 2009
Academic Advising Survey 2003
Academic Advising Survey 2003 vs. 2005
Academic Advising from Senior Survey 2002-2009
Assessment of the Learning Experience of Our Students
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
Saint Michael's College was one of twelve institutions selected in 1998 to participate in the original development and testing of the National Survey of Student Engagement. We have participated in the NSSE in nine of the last eleven years. The survey queries students about the amount of time and effort spent on studies and other activities which promote learning. It also seeks to demonstrate how institutions organize and structure other learning opportunities through the curriculum and activities that research has shown are linked to student learning.
We track these NSSE indicators to establish trends and adjust our academic and student programming to better meet the challenges and opportunities presented by our students.
Using NSSE in Assessing the Liberal Studies Curriculum
Selected NSSE data associated with assessing the Liberal Arts at Saint Michael's includes: high quality non-classroom interactions with faculty, integration of ideas across courses, coursework in arts and sciences, and extracurricular involvement. Comparisons with Carnegie Classification and all NSSE schools are also included.
NSSE Data Regarding the Liberal Arts
Classroom and Residential Alerts
Saint Michael's has put in place an interdisciplinary team of academic and student life administrators and staff that meets on a regular basis to discuss confidentially individual students who present certain challenges or issues that need to be addressed in a comprehensive way.
The team determines what level, if any, intervention may be required and who will take responsibility for managing the intervention. The purpose is to address early on any potential problems that could impinge on a student's learning and well-being.