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Trent Students Give University High Scores in National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE)


Globe and Mail Report Card and New ‘University Info’ web page to provide students and parents with additional data when selecting a university

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Results from a student-driven survey have confirmed that Trent students give the University high marks for its educational experience -- with the vast majority of students sampled indicating they would attend the same university again.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is designed to obtain, on an annual basis, information from scores of universities in Canada and the U.S. about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development.

Overall, the results from the NSEE report indicates that Trent University is performing above its Ontario peers in each of NSSE's five cluster areas of student engagement:

1.            Level of Academic Challenge
2.            Active and Collaborative Learning
3.            Student Faculty Interaction
4.            Enriching Educational Experiences
5.            Supportive Campus Environment

Moreover, 85 per cent of first-year students feel that the quality of their entire educational experience was good or excellent versus only 79 per cent for the Ontario average.  Ninety one per cent of the graduating class of 2006 felt they had a good or excellent educational experience versus 78 per cent at other Ontario Universities.  When graduating students were asked if they would go to the same University again, a resounding 88 per cent of Trent's class of 2006 confirmed they would attend Trent again, while only 76 per cent would go to the same university in Ontario again.

The NSSE survey of Trent students was completed in the 2005-06 academic year.  More than one million first-year and senior students from 557 institutions in the United States and Canada were invited to participate in the 2006 NSSE study. Of this survey population, 331,601 students responded, including about 60,000 students from Canadian institutions.  The response rate for all schools participating in NSSE was 36%.  The response rate for all Ontario Universities was 41%.  At Trent, more than 3,000 first-year and graduating students were surveyed in 2006.  The response rate was 36% overall, 31% for first-year students and 41% for graduating students. 

For Trent’s NSSE statistical results visit www.trentu.ca/oirsp/survey.php.

Globe and Mail Report Card

The fifth edition of the Globe and Mail Report Card was released earlier this week with revised methodology and over 49 Canadian schools participating, up from 37 the previous year.  The educational experience at Trent University won top grades getting an ‘A’ grade for quality of education, student-faculty interaction, most satisfied students, and class sizes.

“Once again, Trent University distinguishes itself through its unique mission – a focus on the centrality of the individual student through a commitment to close student-faculty connections,” said Dr. Christine McKinnon, dean of arts and science. “When an independent survey bears out these results – and the results essentially come from our own students – we know that we are fulfilling that mission.”

“The survey is a tribute to Trent faculty, renowned as leaders in their fields, who make teaching and individual student success a priority. Many of the faculty members who come to Trent choose the institution in large part because of that excellent reputation.”

The following are highlights of Trent’s grades in the Globe’s Report Card:

  • Quality of Education          A
  • Student-Faculty Interaction       A
  • Most Satisfied Students          A
  • Class Sizes             A
  • Quality of Teaching          A-
  • Diversity of Extra-Curricular Activities    A-

The Globe and Mail University Report Card is based on a study that surveys university students about their experiences. Trent consistently receives positive feedback from its own student population on the quality of education and environment for study and campus life.  The Globe’s Report Card asks students directly to assess their own experiences at university and differs from other annual reviews such as Maclean’s which relies on a third party to evaluate composite statistical information, and then use that evaluation to characterize and rank each university.

Trent Launches New ‘Common University Data Ontario” Web Site

As part of a province-wide initiative by Ontario’s universities, and in conjunction with the Council of Ontario Universities, Trent University is pleased to launch Common University Data Ontario’ (CUDO), a new web-based information service that will allow students and parents to access a wide spectrum of information about Trent University. 

The site provides potential students, and their families, a deeper understanding about Trent and in turn, will help them make more informed choices about the path that will best meet their unique educational goals. 

The CUDO provides detailed information, in a standardized format and includes:

1. Degrees awarded, student enrolment and entering averages - all by program
2. Number of students living on campus and activities offered
3. Undergraduate student engagement
4. First-year tuition and ancillary fees by program
5. Number of teaching faculty at the university
6. Undergraduate class size, by year level
7. Research awards granted
8. Academic plans
9. Graduation rates and employment rates by program

Trent’s University Information web page is available at: www.trentu.ca/oirsp/cds_home.php

Trent University believes that the CUDO is a valuable addition to the information available to prospective students and families as they proceed to make a very important and worthwhile decision.  As constructed, the data set will allow students to create their own tables, manipulate data and pursue comparisons important to them.  The CUDO is a living document which will see more Trent indicators published in the future.

It should be noted that the CUDO is not the only source of information available to potential students. Students are encouraged to talk to graduates, attend open houses and interact with faculty, students and admission offices to learn more about the institution they are considering attending.


The Maclean’s Universities edition released today includes a profile of Trent University based on old data from 2004-05. 

Although Trent University maintained its second place ranking in Ontario among primarily undergraduate universities, improved its ranking in eight categories and sustained its rankings in seven categories with no changes, the University remains concerned about Maclean’s methodology.

In August 2006, Trent University announced its intention to withdraw from the Maclean’s survey, together with 25 other Canadian universities.  At that time, Trent issued its statement on the survey, and published its letter to Maclean’s outlining concerns with the survey’s methodology.  A copy of this letter is available at:


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For information about the NSSE Survey or the ‘University Information’ web site contact:

Chris Michael, Director, Institutional Research and Strategic Planning, (705) 748-1011, ext. 7752

For more information about the University’s responses to rankings contact:

Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, (705) 748-1011, ext. 5371