For Immediate Release
Director of Media Relations
Moraga, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2005) â€“ Saint Mary's College of California is performing better than comparable West Coast private universities and the national average in key areas of student engagement that measure educational effectiveness, according to a national survey released today.
When compared to a group of peer schools, other master-level institutions and national norms, Saint Mary's College scored highest in four out of five benchmarks of educational performance: academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction and supportive campus environment.
In a fifth category, enriching educational experiences, Saint Mary's seniors scored higher than the other comparison groups while first-year students outperformed both master's institutions and national averages.
The findings are part of the sixth annual report of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), a project sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The 2005 report is based on information from more than 225,000 first-year and senior students at 528 four-year colleges and universities.
"The NSSE study serves as a valuable alternative to other college rankings reports because it focuses on the actual experiences of students," said Saint Mary's Provost Sara Stampp. "Its findings give us meaningful insight into how well our students are learning and the effectiveness of our undergraduate programs."
The six comparison institutions for Saint Mary's College used in the study include Holy Names University, Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco. Saint Mary's students also compared favorably to students attending schools that scored in the top 50 percent of all 2005 NSSE institutions and very close to those in the top 10 percent.
Other key findings of the report about undergraduates nationwide include:
* The 54 percent of all first-year students who took a first-year seminar were more likely to use campus services, were more satisfied with college, and gained more in terms of personal and social development.
* Three out of 10 first-year students reported studying just enough to get by.
* Students who worship frequently or engage in other spirituality-enhancing practices such as meditation also participate more in a broad cross section of collegiate activities.
For more information on the report, visit the NSSE Web site at nsse.iub.edu.
Saint Mary's College, founded in 1863, is a residential learning community in Moraga, California based in the Catholic, Lasallian and liberal arts traditions. The college currently enrolls more than 3,500 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The Christian Brothers, an international Catholic teaching order, guides the academic growth and spiritual character of the school.