National survey highlights exceptional educational experiences at Goshen College

Students say Goshen College is providing an enriching educational experience, a high level of academic challenge, a supportive campus environment and active and collaborative learning that far exceeds what is provided at the nation’s average colleges and universities, according to a comprehensive national survey.

Goshen College students reported noticeably higher involvement in the category of “enriching student experiences,” which includes experiences such as internships, study abroad and service projects. “Seniors report a level of engagement in these enriching experiences—Study-Service Term being a major one—that is significantly higher than seniors at other similar institutions,” said Associate Academic Dean Ross Peterson-Veatch. “The interesting thing is that all those things that fall into the ‘enrichment’ category at other places are required parts of the curriculum here. What this means is that we do ‘experience’ better. Goshen College students’ academic experiences are enriched.”

Of students surveyed, Goshen students were more likely than their national peers to interact with students of a race or ethnicity other than their own, more likely to complete an internship or field-experience, more likely to participate in co-curricular activities, and more likely to acquire a broad general education.

Goshen College students were also twice as likely to complete foreign language course work and seniors were three times times more likely to have studied abroad, compared with students surveyed nationally.

“Not only do the results tell us that students are getting an excellent education at GC, but over time our graduates consistently learn what we hope they will learn,” Peterson-Veatch said.

Below are some highlights of Goshen College student responses from the 2012 survey:

Enriching educational experiences

  • 97% of seniors had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity than their own, compared with 87% nationally.
  • 83% of first-years and 73% of seniors say that Goshen College encourages contact among students from different economic, social and racial or ethnic backgrounds ‘quite a bit’ or ‘very much’, compared with 61% of first-years and 54% of seniors nationally.

Level of academic challenge

  • 93% of students rated the quality of their entire educational experience at Goshen College as ‘good’ or ‘excellent,’ compared with 86% nationally.
  • 84% of seniors have completed foreign language coursework, compared with 38% nationally.
  • 97% of seniors say they have acquired a broad general education, compared with 83% nationally.

Supportive campus environment

  • 85% of seniors reported that Goshen College helped increase their understanding of people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, compared with 57% of seniors nationally.
  • 78% of seniors reported that Goshen College helped them develop a personal code of values and ethics, compared with 63% of seniors nationally.
  • 83% of seniors reported that their experience at Goshen College helped them develop a deepened sense of spirituality, compared with 53% of seniors nationally. 

Active and collaborative learning

  • 72% of first-years and 75% of seniors ‘often’ or ‘very often’ included diverse perspectives in class discussion or writing assignments.
  • 98% of students surveyed discussed ideas from readings or classes with others outside of class.

Student-faculty interaction

  • 95% of students describe faculty members as available, helpful and sympathetic.
  • 92% of first-years and 89% of seniors rated the quality of academic advising at Goshen College as ‘good’ or ‘excellent.’

The National Survey of Student Engagement, based at Indiana University, gathers information from first-year and senior students at hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States, using five benchmarks to gauge student experiences. The benchmarks are: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, enriching educational experiences, student-faculty interaction and a supportive campus environment.