NSSE 2013 Results: Campus Environment

The final NSSE sub-scale included in the 2013 results report focuses on measuring student perceptions of their social environment. As before, this sub-scale is divided into two different dimensions.

Quality of Interactions

The first dimension reported for the campus environment sub-scale is composed of items asking respondents to provide general estimates of their satisfaction with key university groups. These groups include faculty, advisors, other students and various types of staff. Figure 17 summarizes results for first year students. Examination of the averages for each comparison group suggests that USAO first year students have a more positive evaluation of their interactions with others than their counterparts at each of the comparison groups. Indeed, this is supported statistical analysis as USAO scores in this category are significantly higher than those of every other comparison group.

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NSSED 2013 Results: Experiences With Faculty

Experiences With Faculty is the NSSE sub-scale pertaining to the perceived quality of interactions between those two prominent groups on any university campus. This sub-scale is divided into two different dimensions dependent upon the context of the interaction.

Student- Faculty Interaction

The first dimension considered encompasses all social interactions students might have with faculty. These social exchanges may take place in the classroom, but may also take place in a faculty office, during an extracurricular activity, or any other social context.

Figure 13 summarizes the results from first-year students. Overall, these students rated the quality of these interactions just below the scale midpoint or 30. Though USAO seems to have a slightly more positive score than our 3 comparison groups included in the report, these differences are not statistically significant.

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IPEDS Data Report 2012: Resources

In this, the last entry of the IPEDS feedback report series for this year, I focus on resources. In the context of this discussion, resources are personnel and money- the critical raw materials USAO uses to transform college freshmen into USAO graduates (I may have simplified the process just a bit). We begin by taking a look at staff levels across our comparison groups.


At a glance, it is easy to see that USAO has fewer personnel than out comparison group. I thought this arrangement is expected given our relative size; it takes more people to educate, house and mentor 3000 students compared to our 800. Given my background, I thought that explanation seemed an awful lot like a hypothesis and those love to be tested. Thankfully, this was one hypothesis that was pretty easy to examine and I present the results in the next figure. Continue reading →

What is the CLA+

The CLA+ or Collegiate Learning Assessment (plus) is a new assessment geared toward graduating bachelor degree students. It was developed by the Council for Aid to Education (or CAE). It was made as a pre/post examination to be given to students before they started college and after they finished.

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IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2012, Completions

Up to this point, most of the feedback provided by the report I am discussing in this series of posts have shined a fairly positive light on USAO. Overall, our student body seems slightly more diverse and pays less for their undergraduate education than students at similar institutions.

The figures that follow could be construed as less positive, though it is important to consider them in the context of the type of school we are comparing ourselves against in this report. We share some critical similarities with these schools: We are among the smallest 4-year institutions in the country and focus on a liberal arts education. Though we share the same mission and many of the same values, we are dissimilar in many other ways as will become clear in the latter posts of this series. So as we move forward with our comparisons of USAOs completions, it is important to keep this in mind let we develop an overly negative impression of our track record.

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IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2012: Finances

I won’t even begin to pretend that obtaining a higher education is inexpensive. Perhaps it was at some point in American history, but for a number of reasons this is not currently the case for too many students. This is not to say that the cost of a higher education lacks value, is unreasonable, or even out of reach.


Above we see figure 4 showing changes in tuition and fees over time. Two things jump out at me here. First off, costs of attending USAO are about half of what it would cost to attend a similar university elsewhere. This is fairly consistent over time. The other salient point is the rate of change over time. Over the four (4) years considered in this report, USAO’s tuition and fees have increased by about 5%. This contrasts favorably to the comparison group’s more than 20% increase over the same time period. Continue reading →

Enrollment Figures, Spring 2014

The official spring 2014 enrollment numbers are finally ready for publication. Now that the last add/drop request has been processed by the registrar’s office and the dust has settled, I can share these results with everyone.

Starting this discussion with the figure people tend to care about the most, we can see that overall enrollments are slightly lower than last spring. As has been the case for a few years now, our greatest enrollment reductions have been for part-time students (any students taking fewer than 11 credit hours). Spring- to- spring numbers for this type of student have dropped by 7.6%. While I can’t say I am happy that our enrollment numbers are still trending downward, I am glad the rate of change is still fairly low. The decrease in spring- to- spring headcount is only 1.5% compared to the 10.9% decrease for the five (5) year running average.

Spring2014Enrollments Continue reading →