Wake Forest University seniors in Spring 2018 reflected similarly or more positively on their experiences than peers at the other 63 institutions administering the HERI College Senior Survey (CSS). In particular, Wake Forest respondents shared high levels of Leadership and Habits of Mind. However, some differences surfaced within Wake sub-groups, for example, women respondents scored higher in Faculty Interaction: Mentorship.
The CSS is a national survey directed at UCLA by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). The CSS is useful for determining from seniors their satisfaction in a number of areas across the university, as well as how they spent their time. The CSS was first administered to Wake Forest seniors graduating in the Class of 2001 and has since been administered every other year.
The CSS was distributed electronically by the Office of Institutional Research in March 2018 to all Wake Forest seniors scheduled to graduate in May and August of 2018. A total of 238 graduating seniors submitted responses, representing 20% of the Class of 2018.
The 238 respondents were somewhat overrepresented by students who self-reported Two or More Races (10% respondents vs 3% graduating seniors). As is often the case with student surveys, women respondents were overrepresented at 70% compared to being 54% of the senior class. In order to correct for such known nonresponse bias, all analyses were performed with post-stratification weights. (See here for more on survey analysis methodology.)
WFU Compares Favorably to Nation on Item Constructs
Due to the large quantity of individual questions asked and the complexity of assessing specific areas of potential concern, HERI developed a number of constructs which group information gathered from numerous items into more reliable, cumulative measures. These construct scores, which provide a way of looking at overall trends among survey responses, have a population mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10 across all administering institutions.
Top constructs in which WFU scored above the national average (WFU Average Score) include:
- Leadership (53.7)
- Positive Cross-Racial Interaction (52.4)
- Habits of Mind (52.3)
- Academic Self-Concept (52.3)
Given a conservative margin of error of 1.85 across all constructs, there was no construct where Wake Forest respondents scored notably below the national average. The construct on which Wake Forest scored lowest was Science Identity (49.0).
The graduating seniors at WFU in 2018 scored differently by gender on one construct. Men scored lower on Faculty Interaction: Mentorship (47.0 vs 51.9) than women.
The Class of 2018 at WFU also scored differently by race on one construct. In comparison with Under-Represented Minority students (URM), White seniors scored lower on Negative Cross-Racial Interaction (48.2 vs 55.5)
Individual Items of Note
Although less reliable than constructs, individual questions may provide a closer look at notable differences across groups. The following links report by sub-groups those questions where the differences in percent responding between the groups exceed the 95% confidence interval.
More men compared to women reported (to have):
- Played club, intramural, or recreational sports
- Considered ability to pay off debt is not important.
- Frequently consumed beer
- Rated themselves as highest 10% in leadership ability and mathematical ability.
- Believed that through hard work anybody can succeed in American society.
- Characterized their political views as conservative.
- Considered becoming an authority in their field is essential.
More women compared to men reported (to have):
- Strongly disagreed that undocumented immigrants should be denied access to public education.
- Professors frequently provided a letter of recommendation.
- Professors frequently helped in achieving their professional goals.
- Professors frequently provided encouragement to pursue graduate/professional study.
- Considered influencing the political structure is not important.
- Looked up scientific research articles and resources
- Revised their papers to improve their writing.
More white students compared to URM reported (to have):
- Never felt ignored or invisible because of my race/ethnicity.
- Voted in a national, state, or local election.
- Strongly disagreed they have felt discriminated against at this institution because of their race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, or religion.
- Frequently consumed beer, wine, or liquor.
- Strongly agree they have effectively led a group to a common purpose.
- Been very satisfied with overall college experience.
- Strongly agreed this institution contributed to their preparedness for employment after college.
Fewer white students compared to URM reported (to have):
- Had a roommate of a different race/ethnicity.
- Participated in an ethnic/racial student organization.
- Tutored another college student at all.
- The past year’s educational expenses were covered from aid which need not be repaid (grants, scholarships, military, etc.)
- Worked part-time.
- Indicated ability to pay off debt is essential.
Compared to seniors with some loan, more non-borrowers reported (to have):
- Never contributed money to help support their family.
- Participated in an undergraduate research program.
- Indicated ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective is their major strength.
- Reported becoming an authority in their field is essential.
- Felt absolutely confident they can explain the results of a study.
Compared to seniors with no loan, more borrowers reported (to have):
- Never worked on a professor’s research project since entering college.
- Indicated Social Science as their future graduate school major.
- Performed household/childcare duties.
- Strongly agreed that sexual activity that occurs without presence of explicit, affirmative consent (i.e.,”yes means yes”) is considered sexual assault.
- Participated in a campus program that promotes STEM careers (e.g. BUILD, MARC, HHMI, S-STEM).
- Worked full-time.
In addition to HERI survey questions, WFU has added a number of custom questions to the survey over the years.
Over time, an increasing number/percentage of WFU seniors have (reported):
- Attended a racial/cultural awareness workshop.
- Had a roommate of different race/ethnicity.
- Participated in leadership training.
- Their mentoring experience at Wake Forest was very significant.