Sweet Briar ranks ahead of peers in student engagement, leadership and high-impact learning

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Janika Carey

John Gregory Brown and student
The National Survey of Student Engagement continues to highlight the exceptional education and engagement of students at Sweet Briar College. As in previous years, Sweet Briar students in 2017 rated the quality of their interaction with faculty higher than students at other colleges.

According to NSSE, Sweet Briar seniors consistently report their engagement above the average levels for seniors from other women’s colleges, liberal arts institutions and all NSSE participants combined — including public universities — in the following areas:

  • Being challenged academically by faculty who exemplify effective teaching practices in courses rich with reflective and integrative learning activities

  • Participating in two or more highly impactful educational experiences such as conducting research with a faculty member, internships or other real-word practical experiences outside of the classroom, study abroad and student leadership opportunities

  • Experiencing increased knowledge, skills and development in writing and speaking clearly and effectively, and thinking critically and analytically

  • Having high levels of engagement and quality interactions with faculty and academic advisors in and outside the classroom

  • Learning from peers through frequent discussions with students and community members from different backgrounds and different belief systems

  • Feeling supported by a campus that provides resources and learning support services to help students succeed academically

  • Frequently attending an art exhibit or other arts performances and having more opportunities to attend campus activities and events

“We’re thrilled with these results, but they’re really no surprise to us,” said Dean of the College Rob Granger. “Sweet Briar has a long history of preparing students for the real world through opportunities to get involved in and outside of class — whether that’s an independent honors project, an internship or a leadership role in a campus organization. Sweet Briar women are natural go-getters, so even if an opportunity doesn’t yet exist, they will create it! Plus, small classes with ready access to dedicated faculty and one-on-one research make it easy for our students to be engaged and get the most out of their education.”

Among other highlights, 91 percent of seniors reported holding a formal leadership position in a student organization at Sweet Briar — compared with 46 percent at other women’s colleges, 65 percent at other liberal arts colleges and 35 percent at all NSSE-participating institutions. It’s also a record for Sweet Briar, where 88 percent of seniors reported holding leadership positions in 2013.

Of the seniors surveyed this year, 94 percent reported completing two or more “high-impact practices” during their time at Sweet Briar, including one-on-one research with a faculty member, internships or study abroad. At other women’s colleges, that number is at 72 percent, compared with 86 percent at liberal arts colleges and 60 percent at all NSSE-participating institutions.

For detailed results in each category, visit our NSSE website.