Centre News

Centre educational experience well above national average according to NSSE


December 6, 2012 By Michael Strysick, Director of Communications       
NSSE In the annual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE),
Centre once again exceeded national averages in areas
including Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative
Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction and others.

NSSE Centre received incredibly high marks for study abroad
experiences in the NSSE. On average, 85 percent of students at
Centre study abroad, with semester programs or CentreTerm
trips (including New Zealand, above).

Centre College continues to exceed national averages in all key areas of its educational experience, according to results of this year’s National Survey of Student Engagement, also known as NSSE.

Now in its 12th year, the NSSE is conducted by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University and is based on an extensive survey of an institution’s first-year students and seniors. Centre has participated in the survey from its inception.

Centre’s responses are compared with peer and benchmark institutions across the nation, specifically other private colleges in the Southeast, all liberal arts colleges across the nation and the entire survey pool.

“We treat the results of the NSSE very seriously,” says Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and Dean of the College, “since it offers an objective analysis of the Centre experience by students themselves.”

“Because the NSSE survey focuses on what occurs both in- and outside the classroom,” Fabritius adds, “these results confirm that the entire Centre experience is full and enriching and that it prepares our students for continuing meaningful intellectual engagement, leadership and service after graduation. I congratulate our fine faculty and staff for their intentional and impassioned work to make this difference in the lives of our students.”

The NSSE is recognized for its rigor. Its current model asks 84 questions organized around five benchmark areas: Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction, Enriching Educational Experiences and Supportive Campus Environment.

Past year’s results have already set the bar quite high, but this year again saw gains in several benchmark areas.

First-year students reported higher satisfaction with Student-Faculty Interaction, and seniors reported higher satisfaction in all five benchmark areas.

In fact, this year’s results for seniors in the areas of Active and Collaborative Learning, Enriching Educational Experiences and Supportive Campus Environment are the highest the College has seen over entire span of the NSSE report. The Level of Academic Challenge area tied for an all-time high.

“Since Centre has long prided itself on offering a very personal education with high academic standards,” says John A. Roush, Centre’s president, “the news is especially gratifying.”

Beyond the five benchmark areas, Centre students gave especially high marks, well above national averages, for questions that asked about how often they discussed ideas from readings with faculty outside of class, how often they worked with faculty on activities other than coursework, and the degree to which they had conversations with students whose views were different than their own.

As testament to Centre’s convocation requirement and offerings through its Norton Center for the Arts, students rated highly their additional collegiate experiences that focused on attending an artistic or cultural event.

By far, the greatest disparities from the norm were the high marks for foreign language coursework and study abroad experiences. An average 85 percent of Centre students study abroad, and the College was just ranked #1 in the nation for its participation rates by the Institute of International Education.

Perhaps the most resounding response by Centre students had to do with questions about evaluating their entire educational experience and if they would choose the same institution were they to start the college search over again. In both areas, the response rate was very high.



Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail elizabeth.trollinger@centre.edu with your feedback.


Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.



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