By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Senior Grizzlies score GGC among nation’s best colleges

According to senior college students participating in the 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Georgia Gwinnett College’s innovative approach to higher education not only works, it outperforms many other institutions across both the state and nation. 

NSSE annually surveys students across the country to measure how well colleges and universities perform in several areas that nurture student engagement, a critical predictor of student success. According to NSSE, survey items on The College Student Report represent empirically confirmed good practices in undergraduate education.”

“It is a known fact that engaged students do better in college,” said Dr. Lois C. Richardson, interim senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and provost. “They stay in school, progress toward their degrees and graduate at higher rates than students who are not engaged.”

GGG’s fall 2014 student retention rate of 68.2 percent is unusually high for an access institution, and indicative of the college’s success at engaging its students.

The data revealed that GGC’s average scores were better than the average composite scores of NSSE-participating University System of Georgia institutions in all of the student engagement indicators. It also outperformed a classification of similar institutions in several indicators, and outperformed the 2013 and 2014 NSSE overall average scores.

“These outstanding results indicate that GGC’s model for student success works,” said Dr. Stas Preczewski, president. “Across the country, a lot of students go to college but many of them do not succeed and graduate. The most effective way to change this pattern is to improve student engagement. GGC’s model was designed specifically to accomplish this, leading to greater student success.”

Student engagement also directly impacts retention, progression and graduation (RPG) rates – key performance measures for colleges and universities. Most U.S. states now use RPG rates in determining funding levels for public institutions. Improved student engagement therefore leads to increased funding.

“This creates a cycle of success through which the college is rewarded with increased resources for doing its job well. Those resources are then reinvested in ways that further enhance student engagement and success,” Preczewski said. “This model is self-sustaining and perpetuating.”

The first column of the chart above indicates how GGC seniors scored the college on all student engagement indicators in the 2014 NSSE report. Georgia Gwinnett average scores outperformed the average composite scores of participating University System of Georgia institutions in every indicator, as seen in a comparison between the first two columns.

With only two exceptions, GGC’s average scores also outperformed those other colleges within its Carnegie classification of similar institutions, as noted in the third column. Even more impressive, GGC’s average scores outperformed NSSE’s national 2013-14 average scores for many of the indicators, as noted by the fourth column.

Stars identify indicators for which GGC’s average scores were consistent with the nation’s top 10 percent of all participating institutions. Checks indicate where the college’s average scores were consistent with the top 50 percent of all participating institutions. 

Because of our emphasis on student engagement and student success, NSSE is exactly the evaluation tool in which we want to excel,” said Richardson. “Georgia Gwinnett’s outstanding performance is a testament not only to the college’s innovative approach to higher education, but to the dedication of our faculty to our students and to the college’s mission and vision.”

Georgia Gwinnett College is a four-year, accredited liberal arts college that provides access to targeted baccalaureate level degrees that meet the economic development needs of the growing and diverse population of Gwinnett County and the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region. GGC opened its doors in August 2006 as the nation’s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century, and the first four-year public college founded in Georgia in more than 100 years. Georgia Gwinnett produces contributing citizens and future leaders for Georgia and the nation. Its graduates are inspired to contribute to their local, state, national and international communities and are prepared to anticipate and respond effectively to an uncertain and changing world. Visit Georgia Gwinnett College’s Web site at www.ggc.edu.