Advancing Our Enduring Purpose

How do we measure up?

Seattle Pacific is measuring a range of initiatives that relate to our strategic goals — in particular the goal of academic excellence and relevance, and the goal of transformative and holistic student experience. We are also measuring our fundraising efforts through fundraising milestones.

Academic excellence and relevance

Through high-quality, well-resourced, and distinctive academic programs that attract high-quality students, faculty, and staff, pursuing pedagogical and technological innovation, Seattle Pacific University will work to foster academic rigor and global and intercultural competency to prepare students for today’s complex society.

Key performance indicator: measuring students’ higher-order thinking skills

The most recent Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) released in 2014–15 measures SPU students’ critical thinking and written communication skills, comparing results from other colleges and universities using the same assessment tool. SPU has a freshman Total CLA+ that is greater than or equal to the average freshmen score, demonstrating proficient mastery of critical-thinking and written-communication skills.

CLA+ Chart

National Survey of Student Engagement

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) measures the way college and university students feel they engage with their education. The NSSE studies four major areas of student learning through hundreds of questions. These areas include:

Academic challenge

  • Higher-order learning
  • Reflective and integrative learning
  • Learning strategies
  • Quantitative reasoning

Learning with peers

  • Collaborative learning
  • Discussions with diverse others (this is where SPU falls short of peer institutions among surveyed seniors)

Experiences with faculty

  • Student-faculty interaction
  • Effective teaching practices

About half of faculty say they are engaged in research with students or involved in internships or other field experiences, and 65 percent report that they incorporate service learning into their student interactions.

Campus environment

  • Quality of interactions
  • Supportive environment

Seattle Pacific University’s 2015 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)* asked students to evaluate 10 indicators within four broad themes: academic challenge, learning with peers, experiences with faculty, and campus environment. The tables below compare average scores of SPU students with those in the University’s comparison groups.

First-year students

Theme Engagement indicator SPU first-year students compared with Far West Private SPU first-year students compared with Carnegie Class SPU first-year students compared with NSSE 2014 & 2015
Academic challenge Higher-order learning No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Reflective & integrative learning No significant difference SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
Learning strategies SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
Quantitative reasoning No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Learning with peers Collaborative learning SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude
Discussions with diverse others SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
Experiences with faculty Student-faculty interaction No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Effective teaching practices No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Campus environment Quality of interactions No significant difference SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
Supportive environment No significant difference SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude

Seniors

Theme Engagement indicator SPU seniors compared with Far West Private SPU seniors compared with Carnegie Class SPU seniors compared with NSSE 2014 & 2015
Academic challenge Higher-order learning No significant difference SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
Reflective & integrative learning SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude
Learning strategies No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Quantitative reasoning No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Learning with peers Collaborative learning SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude
Discussions with diverse others SPU students’ average was significantly lower (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude No significant difference No significant difference
Experiences with faculty Student-faculty interaction SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude
Effective teaching practices No significant difference No significant difference No significant difference
Campus environment Quality of interactions SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude
Supportive environment SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude

SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude  SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude
SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude  SPU students’ average was significantly higher (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
No significant difference  No significant difference
SPU students’ average was significantly lower (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude  SPU students’ average was significantly lower (p < .05), with an effect size less than .3 in magnitude
SPU students’ average was significantly lower (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude  SPU students’ average was significantly lower (p < .05), with an effect size of at least .3 in magnitude

*The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) will next be updated in 2018–19.

Key performance indicator: faculty participation in high-impact practices

The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, conducted in 2015, measures faculty perception of student learning. About half of faculty say they are engaged in research with students or involved in internships or other field experiences, and 65 percent report that they incorporate service learning in their student interactions.

Research with Facultya:

42%


Internship for Field Experiencea:

48%


Service-Learningb:

65%


a. Percentage of faculty responding “Yes” to participation
b. Percentage of faculty responding that at least “Some” of their courses include a service-learning component

Transformative and holistic student experience

Seattle Pacific University will enhance and strengthen co-curricular learning experiences by integrating academics, student life, and university ministries, to help students develop a sense of vocation and effectively transition to post-college life.

Key performance indicator: persistence and graduation rates  

Persistence rate is the percent of students who return to college for a second year.  

Graduation rates are measured and defined nationally by the percent of first-time, full-time undergraduate students completing a bachelor’s degree in six years.

  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16
Persistence (freshman to sophomore) 84.0% 86.0% 85.0% 82.0%
Graduation rates (6–year) 72.0% 69.0% 75.0% 71.0%

Key performance indicator: student-faculty interaction

The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, completed in 2015, measures faculty reporting on how often they have done each of the following with the undergraduate students they teach or advise:

Talked about students’ career plans:

38% Very Often, 37% Often, 25% Sometimes


Worked on activities other than coursework:

17% Very Often, 14% Often, 53% Sometimes


Discussed course topics, ideas, or concepts outside of class:

20% Very Often, 46% Often, 33% Sometimes


Discussed students’ academic performance:

23% Very Often, 46% Often, 30% Sometimes


 Very often Often  Sometimes  Never

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