Survey results please FAMU

Florida A&M University scored higher than other respective institutions, according to a 2008 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

The survey provides basic standards for the assessment of educational practices in higher learning and measures five key areas of educational performances based on levels of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment.

A press release provided by FAMU public relations office said the benchmarks on 424 key questions from the NSSE survey captured numerous aspects of the student college experience.

The university beat out comparable universities in three educational categories: student-faculty interaction, active and collaborative learning and level of academic challenge.

“We looked at the results last year and the previous years and we looked at what we are doing in terms of our quality enhancement plan which is part of SACS,” said Cynthia Hughes Harris, the university’s provost. “It’s noteworthy that these areas also connect with our quality enhancement plan and another grant we have, which is focused on improved teaching and when we put that all together we make concerted effort to strengthen what we’re doing in the classroom to the benefit of our students.”

Lydia M. Floyd, dean of the School of Business and Industry said the results aren’t shocking.

“It’s no surprise that FAMU scored so well in these three areas,” Floyd said. “Faculty, students, administrators and staff are all passionate about the place in which we live, learn and work. That passion translates into the pursuit of excellence in all that we do.”

Rodner B. Wright, dean of the School of Architecture, said he associates the report with the university motto.

“I think it has a lot to do with the motto, excellence with caring,” Wright said. “It indicates that special effort continues to be made to make sure that there is strong interaction between faculty and students and to create a more nurturing environment in which students can succeed.”

Travis Roberts, 21, a biology and pre-dentistry student from Ft. Lauderdale said he is proud of the university.

“I’m very happy to know that FAMU has reached such a level of excellence once again,” Roberts said.

Although FAMU did well in two categories, it did not score well in the remaining two categories, “enriching educational experiences” and “supportive campus.”

“We now have to look at those in more depth of what we are not doing and the same way we strengthen the others we have to go back and look at these in detail,” Harris said.

Wright thinks the university continues to improve student housing and build the campus facilities that help to enrich the social aspects of students’ life, those categories will naturally be heightened and improved.

Harris said the university should focus on these categories and develop strategies and pay particular attention to them, so that they move from weaknesses to strengths.

“Further improvements are sure to follow as FAMU adopts best practices in the areas of enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment under Dr. Ammons’ leadership,” Floyd said.