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Bellarmine Earns High Marks for Student Engagement

Dec 01, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2009) – Bellarmine students experience a high level of academic challenge and excellent student-faculty interaction, and they are more likely to be involved in the community through service and internships than students at the national level and those who attend Kentucky four-year public schools, according to the latest National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

The 2009 survey, “Assessment for Improvement: Tracking Student Engagement Over Time,” includes responses from 360,000 first-year and senior students attending 617 U.S. colleges and universities. The annual survey provides diagnostic, comparative information about effective educational practices at participating colleges and universities.

“We’ve participated in this survey for a couple years now to try to track what our students are learning and doing while on campus,” said Dr. Helen Grace Ryan, dean of students. “The survey confirms that we offer a wonderful balance of challenge and support. Just under 90% of seniors say if given the choice they would attend Bellarmine again.”

A few Bellarmine highlights from the 2009 report are:

--Bellarmine students are more likely to receive help on career planning from their faculty members and advisors. Sixty-five percent of Bellarmine seniors said that they either “often” and/or “very often” talked with faculty and advisors about career planning compared to 44% of seniors attending Kentucky four-year public institutions, 52% of seniors at our selected peer institutions, and 42% of seniors nationwide. Bellarmine’s performs better on this item than selected peers, Kentucky four-year publics, and nationally in a statistically significant way.

--Bellarmine students describe high quality relationships with their faculty members, administrative personnel, and offices. Bellarmine performs better in a statistically significant way when compared nationally and with Kentucky four-year institutions, particularly among first-year students.

--Bellarmine students give high scores to academic advising. Ninety-two percent of Bellarmine first-year students rank advising as “good and/or excellent” -- 9% more students than at Bellarmine’s peer institutions and 20% more than students at Kentucky four-year publics and national comparison groups. These data are statistically significantly higher compared to all comparison groups (Kentucky four-year publics, selected peers and nationally) for both seniors and first-year students.

--Bellarmine students are more likely to participate in service or volunteer work compared nationally, to selected peers, and Kentucky four-year public institutions, particularly during the students’ first year of college. By the time they are seniors, 73% of Bellarmine students have participated in community service or volunteer work.

--Bellarmine seniors are much more likely to participate in internships, co-ops, and clinical assignments. By the time they graduate, 74% of seniors have completed a field experience compared to half of the seniors at the national level and those who attend Kentucky four-year public schools. Bellarmine data are statistically higher than our three comparison groups for seniors.

--Bellarmine seniors reported that they worked harder than they expected to meet instructor standards and expectations, but were provided the support they needed to succeed academically. These scores were significantly greater than all comparison groups.

The Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, Bloomington, administers the National Survey of Student Engagement. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching sponsored the 2009 report. The full report is available at:

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs, a doctor of nursing practice, and a doctor of physical therapy. and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America’s best institutions for higher education, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.