Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness


2014-2015 National Survey of Student Engagement

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a national survey conducted by Indiana University to gather data from four-year institutions in the U.S. and Canada regarding “student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development.” You can find more detailed information from the NSSE Survey site at

The NSSE is broken down into 4 major themes with embedded engagement indicators:

  • Academic Challenge
  • Learning with Peers
  • Experiences with Faculty
  • Campus Environment

How did we do?

Based on the students that responded to the survey, the university exceeds the average results of other schools participating in the NSSE survey on all Engagement Indicators for first-year students, while the seniors showed significantly higher means on 6 of the 10 engagement indicators compared to our participating peers.

Who completed the survey?

In 2015, WCU had 397 first-year students and 388 seniors completed the survey. See below for an abbreviated table of our respondent characteristics. See the full Respondent Characteristics report for more details.




  WCU All WCU All
Female 72%   67%  
Male 28%   33%  
Enrollment Status        
Full-time 98%   72%  
Part-time 2%   28%  
White 80%   86%  
Other 20%   12%  
Unknown 0%   2%  

Nationally, 315,815 students (29% response rate) participated in the survey this year, from 585 institutions in the United States and Canada. Since NSSE’s inception in 1999, more than 2 million students have participated in the survey from almost 1,500 colleges and universities.

Selected Comments

  • There is also this vibe that Western Carolina has, it is chill and comforting, whenever the weather is nice, people are enjoying the weather playing frisbee or soccer. Western Carolina provides us, with a perfect balance of work and fun. There is always something to do at Western Carolina. (First-year, Female)
  • Education at Western Carolina University is genuinely unique. I'm currently in the Athletic Training major and I was shocked to find out the success of the program and the other programs WCU offers. As our chancellor stated, "Western is like a hidden gem", we are such a beautiful school filled with endless opportunities that people are finding each and everyday. (First-year, Male)
  • My experience at WCU has been great. I am currently out-of-state doing an internship and I miss it everyday. (Senior, Female)
  • For what it's worth, I've been to a number of institutions due to my former military experience and observed many others. This university is far and away the best I have come across. The academic rigor in the Philosophy, Political Science, and History departments is astounding! If these departments are any indication of the whole, the university is interested in producing adults who are critical thinkers and informed citizens. (Senior, Male)

NSSE Reports 

NSSE Major Field Reports

Not yet available

NSSE 2012


NSSE Reports 

NSSE Major Field Reports

BCSSE Reports 

FSSE Reports

NSSE 2009

NSSE 2008

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