Published on December 2, 2019 by Sarah Cain  

Graduating students at Samford University report higher levels of student engagement compared to students at peer institutions, according to the 2019 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). In addition, the survey indicates 94% of Samford seniors report their overall Samford experience was “excellent” or “good.”

The annual survey, involving first-year and senior students, represents empirically confirmed practices in undergraduate education that reflect positive student learning outcomes. Approximately six million students across the U.S. have completed the survey since 2000. The NSSE questions explore student study habits, educational plans and experiences, time spent out of the classroom, and satisfaction with the campus, faculty, and curriculum. Additionally, NSSE also provides results on six “high-impact practices” that are positively associated with student learning, development and retention.

According to NSSE, “High-impact practices share several traits: They demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and students, encourage collaboration with diverse others and provide frequent and substantive feedback. As a result, participation in these practices can be life-changing.”

Compared to students of other private institutions in the southeast, Samford senior students reported significantly higher participation in all of the high-impact practices assessed.

  • 93% plan to or have done a culminating senior experience, such as a capstone course or senior project or thesis
  • 88% plan to do or have completed an internship by the time they graduate
  • 70% plan to or have participated in service learning
  • 48% have studied abroad or plan to
  • 48% plan to or have participated in a learning community
  • 44% have completed or plan to work with a faculty member on a research project

“The NSSE provides important insights that help us evaluate the student experience at Samford,” University President Andrew Westmoreland said. “We are encouraged by these findings as they affirm the commitment of our faculty and staff to delivering rigorous academic programs in an environment that promotes student engagement through a variety of learning experiences.”   

In addition to the evaluation of high-impact practices, NSSE results serve as an essential data source for various levels of accreditation and academic program review. In commitment to continuous assessment and improvement of the undergraduate experience, Samford will administer the survey annually.

NSSE Data 2019

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.