A Research University Alternative to NSSE?

January 22, 2016

A consortium of major research universities has redesigned its undergraduate experience survey, positioning it more sharply as an alternative to the National Survey of Student Engagement. The Student Experience in the Research University survey is administered to students at the nine University of California campuses that offer undergraduate programs, 14 other Association of American Universities research universities and 11 international institutions in Europe and Asia.

The survey focuses on five facets of undergraduate education: social skills development, personal development, academic skills development, civic engagement, and economic opportunity and security. Steven Brint, vice provost of undergraduate education at the University of California at Riverside and co-chair of the committee that redesigned the survey, said the SERU survey is "a better fit" for public research universities than the NSSE survey.

"A central mission of public research universities is to meet the needs of the communities they serve," Brint said in a statement. "So we do need to ask if we're doing a good job not only in helping students to develop their cognitive skills, but also in other areas such as preparing students to be active citizens and effective organizational leaders."

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