Posted by William Nunnelley on 2003-03-25

Samford students spend more time in activities associated with high levels of learning than students at a majority of peer institutions, according to a benchmark analysis by the National Survey of Student Engagement looking at the past three years.

Samford ranked in the 90th percentile, or top 10 percent, in several categories of the NSSE, which assesses the extent to which a school's students take part in educational practices conducive to learning. The survey is supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trust and co-sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and The Pew Forum on Undergraduate Learning.

The educational practices range from the amount of time spent preparing for courses and number of assigned books and papers to making a class presentation, working with classmates outside of class and taking part in a community-based project as part of a course.

Other positive learning experiences surveyed included the frequency of discussions outside of class about ideas from readings and classes, talking with instructors about career plans, co-curricular activities, internships, study abroad and a supportive campus environment.

NSSE annually polls freshmen and seniors at several hundred institutions about what their schools require and provide in five specific areas conducive to high levels of learning. More than 115,000 students completed the 2002 survey at 367 schools nationally.

The learning areas included Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Student Faculty Interactions, Enriching Educational Experiences and Supportive Campus Environment.

"The areas are viewed by educators as benchmarks of effective educational practices," said Sarah C. Latham, Samford director of Institutional Research.

This year, the NSSE completed a three-year benchmark study of responses from Samford and 257 other master's level institutions.

Samford senior responses ranked the school in the 90th percentile in four of the five categories--Active and Collaborative Learning, Student Faculty Interactions, Enriching Educational Experiences and Supportive Campus Environment.

Samford freshmen responses ranked Samford in the 90th percentile in Level of Academic Challenge and Active and Collaborative Learning. Freshmen responses also ranked Samford in the 80th percentile, or top 20 per cent of schools in Enriching Educational Experiences and Supportive Campus Environment.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.