A&M International Students Take Part in National Survey on Academic Life

Texas A&M International University students will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and views on academic life at the University through participation in the National Survey of Student Engagement's "The College Student Report 2001."

A&M International is one of only 275 four-year public and private colleges and universities that will participate in this year's survey, said Dr. Ray Keck, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University. All campuses in The Texas A&M University System are included in the survey.

"This is the first year we have participated in this national survey that is a research-based tool for gathering information that will focus local and national conversations on learning-centered indicators of quality in undergraduate education -- as identified by student respondents here and across the nation," Dr. Keck explained.

"What this survey measures is collegiate quality on a national basis, allowing us to evaluate how our students' experiences compare with those of other students here and at other institutions in the survey. What it will provide us is valuable comparative data that will help guide us as we work to improve educational opportunities for our students now and in the future," he said.

About 450 A&M International first-year students and seniors will be randomly selected and asked to participate in the survey. They will receive the survey by mail, but also have the option of completing the survey on-line, said Veronica Martinez, the University's director of institutional effectiveness.

"The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and all answers are confidential. No individual answers are identified in any report and all participation is voluntary and very much appreciated by the University," Martinez said.

Those students randomly selected to participate in the process should now be receiving information on the survey. The survey period will run through May. Results will be scored in June and final data reported back to participating institutes in August, she said.

Martinez said some of the areas that the survey will measure include student experiences on campus, academic advising, quality of campus relationships, and perceived areas of institutional emphasis, among others.

Dr. Keck said the reason two different student groups are being surveyed is because each posts different experiences and perspectives.

"First year students are faced with a year of tremendous growth and change while senior students have already experienced that growth and are now ready to apply it to the next stage of their educational or professional lives. Each will offer valuable insights into their particular experience while students at A&M International. This will help guide us to implement any needed changes to our operations. As always, our primary concern is the success, retention and successful graduation of our students," he said.The National Survey of Student Engagement's "The College Student Report 2001" was conceived in 1998 by Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research and Planning.

Piloted in 1999 with the support of a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Survey is guided by a national advisory board comprised of distinguished educators and by a technical advisory panel of experts in institutional research and assessment.

For additional information on A&M International's involvement in the survey, please contact Martinez at 326.2323, visit offices in Killam Library 270 or email to veronica@tamiu.edu

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu