Student Engagement

Wesleyan is among a select group of national colleges and universities offering a comprehensive first-year integrative seminar program built into the curriculum and designed to facilitate a positive transition to college life. Programs like Wesleyan's  Integrative Seminar Experience (WISE) build on Wesleyan’s already successful, distinctive seminar-based and learner-centered academic program. The approach is designed to prepare students for the future they will face, to maximize their involvement in the educational process, and to prepare them to be lifelong learners. Based on the assumptions that the liberal arts provide the best education for life and that students learn best when deeply interested and actively involved in their own education, the Wesleyan academic program affords students a wide variety of opportunities to hone their intellectual and expressive skills.

Wesleyan’s academic success is validated by the success of our graduates, and is often cited in national publications, surveys, and rankings. We place the greatest emphasis on our success in national surveys and studies that examine student engagement and other substantive factors indicative of academic excellence. Encouraging prospective students to consider small class size, accessible facility, post-graduate outcomes, and student engagement will advance higher education in the direction that benefits our students and our communities most.

According to the seventh annual report of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Wesleyan College outperformed the top 10% of colleges and universities nationally in all five categories studied: active and collaborative learning, enriching educational experiences, level of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and supportive campus environment. We believe these results are quite impressive and revealing! 

The NSSE report’s overall findings demonstrate positive indicators of a private college experience and of a single gender educational experience over a co-educational public educational experience. Released annually in November, the NSSE project is sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is a national effort to improve collegiate quality. The survey findings provide comparative standards for determining how effectively colleges are contributing to learning.

The NSSE report is based on information from approximately 260,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 523 four-year colleges and universities. The study gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience.

“At a time when the quality of post-secondary education seems to be slipping, participating in engaged learning activities promises to prepare students for a lifetime of continuous learning so that they and the country stay competitive in the global marketplace,” said NSSE Director George Kuh.

Other important national studies rely on NSSE measurements of student engagement. Recent information released from the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research (IUCPR), for example, suggests that students at women's colleges are better served than their peers at coeducational institutions.

Across the board, Wesleyan students benefit from being highly engaged and personally invested in the learning process. According to recent grad Jessica Rowell, “The small campus size brought out a personality in me that even I didn’t know before I came to Wesleyan! I found my voice both in the classroom and in the community, and found the courage to take risks I never would have taken at a large school. I wasn’t afraid to raise my hand in class, and in doing so often I found that I had some pretty good answers!”