What is NSSE?

With nearly 1,700 colleges and universities participating, NSSE is a key tool for helping improve the undergraduate student experience

Every two years, Metropolitan State University of Denver freshmen and seniors, together with numerous institutions across the country, participate in the National Survey of Student Engagement, a survey administered by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University‘s School of Education. This survey asks students about their engagement in a variety of academic and non-academic activities and learning, particularly related to diversity, civics, and practices that have been found to have a high impact on learning and success.

NSSE Metrics

Engagement Indicators

Engagement indicators provide information about distinct aspects of student engagement. Ten indicators based on 3-8 survey questions each are arranged in four themes. 

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

High-Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices Surveyed in NSSE 

  • Service Learning
  • Learning Community
  • Research with Faculty
  • Internship or Field Experience
  • Study Abroad
  • Culminating Senior Experience

The NSSE 2023

In Spring 2023, the NSSE survey returned! The 2023 year’s survey focused on Roadrunner Civic Engagement and Mental health/Wellness. Seniors were shown to have participated in two or more high impact practices than the Carnegie Class comparison group. Both first year students as well as seniors were also shown to have significantly higher quality of interactions.


Highlights from the 2023 NSSE Survey

  • MSU Denver first-year students and seniors scored the same as or higher than our comparison groups for all Engagement Indicators except Collaborative Learning in which they scored significantly lower.
  • Students scored the quality of Faculty-Student and Student Services-Student relations higher than our comparison groups.
  • Seniors report participating in one or more High-Impact Practice at a higher level than comparison groups.
  • Seniors participate in Research with Faculty and Internship or Field experience at a higher level than some comparison groups.
  • First-year students participating in one or more High-Impact Practice lags compared to comparison groups.
  • Students participate in Service Learning and Learning Community HIPs at a significant lower level then our comparison groups.
  • Students scored significantly higher than comparison groups in Civic Engagement metrics.

NSSE First Year HighlightsNSSE Senior

NSSE 2023 Snapshot Summary

MSU Denver’s Snapshot Summary of Student Engagement Results can be located by clicking:

NSSE 2023 Snapshot for MSU Denver

The Survey ran March-May 2023:

Message 1:  Wednesday, March 1
Message 2:  Tuesday, March 14
Message 3:  Monday, April 3
Message 4:  Thursday, April 6
Message 5:  Tuesday, April 18                                                                                              The online survey in NSSE 2023 closed on May 14.

The NSSE 2021

NSSE 2021 Snapshot Summary

MSU Denver’s Snapshot Summary of Student Engagement Results can be located by clicking:

NSSE 2021 Snapshot Report for MSU Denver

MSU Denver participated in the survey in the midst of Covid-19 in the spring of 2021. Despite the challenges of inspiring student responses during a pandemic, and perhaps because of an incentive that offered donations to the MSU Denver Food Pantry for every completed response, the University achieved an overall response rate of 11% for freshman and 20% for seniors – higher than during the last administration of the survey in 2019.

Key reports from the NSSE are now available on a SharePoint site accessible to anyone affiliated with MSU Denver. For the 2021 administration of the survey, we elected to include two additional modules: the Civic Engagement module (which we have included in the past) and a module designed specifically about Covid-19. NSSE is structured in such a way that the University is automatically compared to a group of institutions referenced as “Rocky Mountain Public” (essentially, public institutions in Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming that also participate in the NSSE).

We were also able to select additional comparison groups and created two: one group based on similar institutions that are also members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) American Democracy Project and/or the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) that have identified similar strategic goals related to civic engagement and anchor work; and a second group pulled from our Peer Institutions as identified by MSU Denver’s Curriculum, Academic Effectiveness, and Policy Development Office.

Here are some highlights – identifying areas MSU Denver does well in, and those where we can enhance our current work to better support student success:

  • MSU Denver freshmen responded favorably at a significantly higher rate than freshmen at other institutions regarding instructors providing prompt and detailed feedback on tests and assignments; and indicated that their experience at MSU Denver has contributed to their ability to understand people of other backgrounds.
  • Seniors also reported favorably (significantly more than those at other institutions) regarding the institution’s emphasis on encouraging contact among students from different backgrounds, and attending events that address important social, economic and political issues, as well as the institution’s emphasis on helping students manage non-academic responsibilities.
  • Indicating areas for renewed focus and energy, MSU Denver students reported significantly less interaction and collaboration with other students and faculty – whether on research with faculty or studying and preparing for exams with other students – than respondents from the other Rocky Mountain Public institutions.

The survey ran March-May 2021:

Invitation: Monday, March 15
Reminder 1: Monday, March 29
Reminder 2: Tuesday, April 6
Reminder 3: Monday, April 12
Final Reminder to students: Tuesday, April 20

Rowdy’s Corner Donations:

For every student survey completed, $2 was donated to Rowdy’s Corner. Students, thank you for participating in 2021’s survey. You helped your fellow Roadrunners in the process, with $1,646 donated to the Food Pantry!


A Survey that Supports Students with Donations to Rowdy's Corner with Every Response!

When 1st years and seniors (90+ credit hrs.) fill out the NSSE survey, Academic Affairs will donate $2 to Rowdy’s Corner!
If you would like to donate but are not included in the survey group – You can donate directly to Rowdy’s Corner!