February 12, 2014
Like many of us these days, Sarah Molter, a junior elementary education major at Indiana State University, looks forward to spring. The warm temperatures would certainly be welcome, but she looks forward to spring for a different reason - an opportunity to serve others.
"I have attended Alternative Spring Break for the past three years, and have also attended Alternative Fall Break," she said. "The spring break trips focus on social issues that the communities we visit face."
During previous trips, she has learned about the Indian culture, assisted in tornado cleanup in Henryville, Ind., learned more about the poverty that affects our nation and volunteered at the Center for Courageous Kids, a camp for medically disadvantaged children, with medical problems ranging from diabetes to physical disabilities to cancer.
"This year my group and I will be focusing on orphanages and food lines in villages in the Dominican Republic," she said.
Brandon Harris, a senior business management major, had his first service learning experience in a 100-level criminology class.
"Each student in the course had to volunteer at an agency of their choice for 25 hours," Harris said.
While volunteering at Big Brother and Big Sisters of Vigo County, he did more than just learn about the program and fulfill his requirement.
"I helped with the after school program by preparing materials for each respective school the program visited and eventually became a community big brother for the program. It was a great experience."
Molter and Harris have plenty of company at Indiana State.
Results of the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) show the university scored significantly higher among both freshmen and seniors in the high-impact practices of service learning, learning communities, research with faculty members and culminating experiences.
The NSSE survey is the recognized benchmark for assessing the extent to which colleges and universities effectively engage students in their education.
"The 2013 NSSE data confirms what we intuitively know, which is the important role that collaborative learning and close faculty-student interactions play in the educational experience," said Josh Powers, interim associate vice president for Student Success. "The survey results demonstrate the commitment of Indiana State's faculty and staff to providing students with a quality education and an opportunity to serve others in a collaborative, supportive environment."
Specific areas that Indiana State students gave high marks to in the NSSE survey findings included:
• 80 percent rated their experience as good or excellent and 81 percent of seniors would choose Indiana State again for their college experience.
• 80 percent of seniors who responded "very much" or "quite a bit" feel that Indiana State helped them think critically and analytically.
• 73 percent of seniors who responded "very much" or "quite a bit" feel that Indiana State helped them write clearly and effectively.
• 73 percent of seniors who responded "very much" or "quite a bit" feel that the university assisted them in acquiring job or work-related knowledge and skills.
"I love the size of the campus, how easy it is to get around, and the sense of community," Molter said. "I love that creating a club is easy to do so that students can meet other students with similar interests."
The report, A Fresh Look at Student Engagement-Annual Results 2013, details results from a 2013 survey of nearly 335,000 first-year and senior students attending 568 U.S. bachelor's degree-granting colleges and universities that participated in NSSE in spring 2013. Full details about the NSSE can be found at this web site: http://nsse.iub.edu.
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The university scored significantly higher among both freshmen and seniors in the practices of service learning, learning communities, research with faculty members and culminating experiences in the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).