By Krystal Mongan
Since Feb. 5, the National Survey of Student Engagement, otherwise known as NSSE, was e-mailed to every senior at the University of Houston-Clear Lake to find what their experiences were on campus. "[The student's] opinions and experiences inside and outside the classroom will help us continue to improve their learning," said Simone Tiu, executive director for the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Students can benefit from the survey by identifying areas where UHCL needs to improve, as well as areas students see as strengths. "We want to be able to feel confident that it creates a representation of the seniors," said Darlene Biggers, associate vice president for student services. "We have a diverse student body and we want a lot of them to respond." The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. Biggers said approximately 23 percent of the seniors at UHCL have taken the survey online. Her goal is to have at least 30 percent of the seniors complete NSSE. For students who have not completed NSSE online, a hard copy of the survey will be mailed to their home address. "I want students to know their responses are confidential," Biggers said. "This is how we can have a clear picture of what the students are like." Some topics NSSE asks students about are how active they are on campus, how friendly or helpful the faculty and other students are to each other and what students have done or plan to do before they graduate. "[NSSE] is usually given to freshman and seniors the same year," Tiu said. Because UHCL is an upper-level, two-year university, compared to other institutions of higher education, this makes UHCL's campus more unique. "There are only four upper-level universities in the United States," Biggers said. "Our students only have two years to develop a relationship with the university." Biggers said the survey is to help see how UHCL compares with other universities. This is a widely used and researched survey throughout the United States and Canada. Since the year 2000, more than 1,200 universities have used NSSE. "There will be a follow-up discussion in the fall with the faculty and staff to look at areas in both our strengths and weaknesses," Biggers said. If there are any questions about NSSE, contact Darlene Biggers at email@example.com or Simone Tiu at firstname.lastname@example.org.