Dickinson State University (DSU) recently received its results from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The NSSE surveys undergraduate students in their freshman and senior years at institutions across the nation to assess their levels of engagement and their experience. Hundreds of institutions participate semi-annually in this survey. According to NSSE, “Student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how institutional resources, courses, and other learning opportunities facilitate student participation in activities that matter to student learning.”

An impressive 99% of Dickinson State seniors indicated that they had a clear idea of their career paths. This percentage is significantly higher than DSU’s peer institutions. Also higher than peer institutions, 97% and 92% of seniors noted that what they learned at DSU was relevant to their career plans and that the institution helped in clarifying those career plans, respectively.

Debora Dragseth, professor of business administration at DSU, was delighted to discover from the NSSE results that 97% of seniors reported receiving supportive feedback from faculty or other advisors about their career plans. She said, “We would have guessed this number to be high but knowing that it eclipses the average of our peers, indicates the power of a small campus with both close ties to industry and to our students.”

“Dickinson State University takes pride in its active internship programs,” said Holly Gruhlke, dean of the College of Education, Business, and Applied Sciences. “Once again, we outpaced our peers with 81% of our seniors noting that an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement helped them to solidify their career goals.”

Eighty-eight percent of DSU seniors indicated that they were working for pay in fields related to their career plans while studying, much higher than the average of other peer institutions.

Additionally, at greater rates than peer institutions, DSU seniors utilized alumni networks to form relationships to make career connections. Ty Orton, executive director of the DSU Heritage Foundation, was excited about the results as well. “Over 90% of our students said they had engaged with Dickinson State alumni in career networking, a tribute to the close-knit community and a benefit of an institution of DSU’s size. We have always encouraged our alumni and current students to interact, and these survey results show the power of those positive relationships.”

For more information about DSU’s programs, including career options related to majors, please visit www.dickinsonstate.edu/programs.