National survey consistently confirms SUNY Potsdam's academic excellence


According to the results of a recent national survey, seniors and first-year students rank SUNY Potsdam above public and private peer institutions for numerous academic and social opportunities as well as for engaging practices associated with high levels of learning and development.

The 2008 report from The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) measures five key areas of educational performance: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment.

In the areas of academic challenge and active and collaborative learning, SUNY Potsdam students rate the College higher or equal to its public and private peers in the comparison groups. Students ranked SUNY Potsdam higher in every comparison group in the student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment categories.

Specifically, seniors at SUNY Potsdam rank the College highest (11 to 15 percent higher than their peers) in the following areas:

·      Discussing ideas from class with faculty outside of class;

·      Talking about career planning with a faculty member or advisor;

·      Asking questions and contributing to class discussions

·      Making a class presentation; and

·      Completing foreign language coursework.

Freshmen specifically feel Potsdam excels (by 11 to 14 percent over its peers) in the following areas:

·      Having serious conversations with students of other regions, politics and/or values;

·      Helping students cope with non-academic matters in a substantial way;

·      Reading more than 10 assigned books or book-length packets

·      Writing more than 10 papers or reports fewer than five pages; and

·      Completing foreign language coursework.

“The patterns shown in the five areas of the survey suggest our students enjoy a high level of quality instruction and interaction with faculty both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Rick Miller, associate vice president of institutional effectiveness at SUNY Potsdam. “We will continue to monitor the annual results and evaluate our programs to ensure SUNY Potsdam remains one of the best institutions in the SUNY system.”

In addition, 89 percent of freshmen and 85 percent of seniors said they had a good or excellent educational experience at SUNY Potsdam. Those saying they would attend SUNY Potsdam again if they could start over came in at 86 percent of freshmen and 80 percent of seniors.

“The National Survey of Student Engagement is an important measure for the College because it assesses the level and quality of the educational interactions and experiences of our students,” said Dr. John F. Schwaller, president of SUNY Potsdam. “We are pleased with these positive results that reflect well on the effectiveness of our programs and faculty and indicate that SUNY Potsdam is providing an academically sound, safe and engaging environment for its students.”

NSSE is based on information from nearly 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year college and universities in the United States and Canada. The NSSE study, titled “Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within,” compares the interaction and impressions of students within the academic and social setting of an institution with students at similar colleges across the country. The survey findings annually provide comparative standards for determining how effectively colleges are contributing to learning.

A random Web-based survey sampled seniors and first-year students at SUNY Potsdam during the 2008 spring semester. This is the sixth year that SUNY Potsdam has participated in the survey.