Which universities get top marks? 87,000 students have their say
Below you will find the results from two major student surveys: the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium (CUSC).
THE SURVEYS: WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WERE DONE
The NSSE and CUSC surveys, which were commissioned by the universities, ask more than 150 questions about specific aspects of the undergraduate experience—inside the classroom and beyond—designed to provide universities with data to help them assess programs and services.
The U.S.-based NSSE began in 1999 and is distributed to first- and senior-year students. NSSE is not primarily a student satisfaction survey, but is rather a study of best-educational practices, and an assessment of the degree to which each university follows those best practices.
In 2004, 11 Canadian universities participated for the first time in NSSE, with 14,267 students completing the survey. By 2006, that number had grown to approximately 60,000 students at 31 Canadian institutions. Seventeen universities or their affiliates participated in the 2007 NSSE, representing roughly 14,000 students—fewer than in 2006 because most institutions conduct the NSSE survey every two years.
The NSSE results are headlined by the Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice, created by NSSE to compare performance across all universities—American and Canadian—in five key areas: Level of Academic Challenge, Student-Faculty Interaction, Active and Collaborative Learning, Enriching Educational Experience, and Supportive Campus Environment. Each school’s benchmark result was calculated by NSSE, based on student responses to a variety of questions. NSSE also asked two important student satisfaction questions; school-by-school results appear on the following pages.
CUSC was created in 1994; it is a Canada-only survey, and unlike NSSE, it is in large part a student satisfaction survey. In 2007, 32 universities took part, including two institutions—UBC and the University of New Brunswick—that surveyed multiple campuses. Surveys were sent to a random sample of approximately 1,000 first-year undergrads at each university. Institutions with fewer than 1,000 first-years surveyed the entire cohort. More than 12,700 students responded.
For the results of seven CUSC satisfaction questions, read the web-exclusive charts.