Mercer Earns High Marks For Student Engagement
December 4, 2006

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MACON — Mercer University has scored significantly higher than its peers on a major survey of student engagement and learning. The National Survey of Student Engagement results for the University showed Mercer had achieved above its peers in all five benchmark areas of the study. Mercer also earned high marks for spiritual development, academic rigor and overall learning.
 
The national survey documented the University's outstanding performance in overall learning. The survey indicated that 92 percent of Mercer's respondents rated their entire educational experience as either good or excellent compared to only 87 percent of the respondents from peer institutions.
 
Mercer scored significantly higher in all of five benchmarks of the highly respected study including: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment.
 
The NSSE, administered each spring to first-year and senior undergraduate students from the Macon campus as well as the University's four regional academic centers, assesses student involvement in the educational opportunities provided by colleges and universities nationwide. This year, approximately 260,000 first-year students and seniors on 523 college campuses nationwide participated in the survey, according to NSSE.
 
Mercer's heritage as a faith-based institution also was apparent in the study, in which students responded to several questions about their faith. Fifty-one percent of Mercer students surveyed said they participated in activities to enhance spirituality, such as meditation, worship and prayer, compared with 33 percent at peer institutions. Students said that Mercer helped them to develop a personal code of ethics, 62 percent for Mercer compared to 56 percent for its peers, and helped them to develop a deepened sense of spirituality, 40 percent compared to 32 percent.
 
"These results are extremely positive, and show a high degree of learning engagement and a faculty that is student-focused and caring," said Barry Jenkins, director of University Assessment. "Our faculty engages students in the learning process, and it shows because students say they are learning at a higher rate than our peers."
 
Mercer's peer group is defined by the Carnegie Classification of Master's Institution, which are institutions with diverse post-baccalaureate programs, including first professional, but are not engaged in significant doctoral-level education.
 
"We're very pleased with the results," Jenkins said. "We'll be using them internally to improve and enhance our programs."
 
Jenkins said that colleges and universities are finding that the NSSE is an effective tool to understand and improve the undergraduate experience. Prospective students and their parents can also use the results to gain insight into how students at different institutions spend their time and what students feel they have gained from their educational environment.
 
For more information on Mercer's NSSE results, click here.
 
About the NSSE:
The National Survey of Student Engagement project, supported by a grant from the PEW Charitable Trusts, was first conceived in 1998. Since its inception in 1999, over 1,100 different colleges and universities have participated in the NSSE. Detailed information concerning the NSSE and its role in measuring the effectiveness of higher education can be found at
http://www.iub.edu/~nsse/.
 
About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
www.mercer.edu.
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