Success You Can Measure

on May 14 | in Homepage, President's Essay | by

Results from the National Survey of Student Engagement show that Hollins students are outpacing students at peer institutions in key areas.

By Nancy Oliver Gray

President Nancy GrayIn response to renewed speculation about the future of liberal arts education and women’s colleges in particular, we have been deliberate in highlighting Hollins’ many institutional strengths. We have eliminated our debt, diversified our academic programs, and recently improved our undergraduate enrollment. Our alumnae engagement and career preparation initiatives are enjoying great success and continue to grow. Our location near both a vibrant downtown Roanoke and the Blue Ridge Mountains offers many advantages. And increases in our endowment over the last decade have been significant. As of June 30, 2014, our endowment had reached an all-time high of nearly $181 million.

However, it is also important for us to evaluate our strength in terms of educational quality. Hollins regularly participates with more than 1,500 four-year colleges and universities in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The survey has been recognized as a reliable assessment of student engagement and effective educational practices. I was particularly pleased to see our students express how much their Hollins education has contributed to their perceived skills and personal development. Given that we know employers are looking for graduates who work well with others, communicate effectively, and think critically and creatively, I am gratified to see that our seniors believe their Hollins education has helped them develop those abilities.

PERCEIVED GAINS AMONG HOLLINS SENIORS (NSSE 2014)

Students reported how much their experience at their institution contributed to their knowledge, skills, and personal development. Below is the percentage of seniors who responded “very much” or “quite a bit” to the perceived gains.

Chart showing perceived gains among Hollins seniors

Other long-standing hallmarks of the Hollins experience are quality faculty-student interaction and opportunities to learn from peers. Our survey results underscore the continued effectiveness of both. Hollins seniors’ assessment in these areas surpasses the percentages reported for other women’s colleges and for baccalaureate colleges in general.

According to NSSE, internships, study abroad, and research opportunities have a positive impact on student learning. First-year students at Hollins are more likely to have participated in internships, held leadership positions, or planned to study abroad than their peers at other women’s institutions and small liberal arts colleges.


HOLLINS IS SOLIDLY POSITIONED TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGES OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY.


HIGH IMPACT PRACTICES: FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS

Hollins first-year students are more likely to report:
Chart illustrating high-impact practices of first-year students
Similarly, more of our seniors reported that they have completed an internship than those at our peer institutions. These data show the effectiveness of our new alumnae engagement initiative. Truly distinctive internship experiences, coupled with opportunities for career mentoring and advising from alumnae, make an increasingly attractive combination to prospective students. Our seniors also are more likely to have conducted research with a faculty member or studied abroad.


THESE DATA SHOW THE EFFECTIVENESS OF OUR NEW ALUMNAE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE.


HIGH-IMPACT PRACTICES: SENIORS

Hollins seniors are more likely to report:
Chart indicating high-impact practices for seniors
With fiscal strength, an enduring commitment to academic excellence, and impactful educational practices, Hollins is solidly positioned to take on the challenges of higher education in the 21st century. But we must not rest on our laurels. The continued commitment and investment of our alumnae and friends are essential to our sustained success.

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