How do you measure a school’s impact?
Published
A student playing guitar, a student playing the drums and a student at playing a keyboard.

NWU's Rock Band class is part of the "Chaos" thread where students experience several high-impact practices like working collaboratively and conducting research. Designed for non-musicians, students learn the instruments on their own.

Every college search boils down to questions of fit and value.

Students should ask themselves, “Of the schools that fit my needs, which one provides the greatest value for my investment? Which school will give me the greatest impact?”

And when it comes to gauging a school’s impact, the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) has some great advice. They identified 11 high-impact practices associated with graduates’ career success.

Most schools incorporate only a handful of these practices within their curricula. Nebraska Wesleyan University offers all 11.

1. First-year seminars
NWU offers Archway Seminars on dozens of topics from bioethics to global conflict. Each seminar covers the same key skills in researching, writing, presenting and collaborating.

2. Common intellectual experiences
Every NWU student chooses a “thread” of interdisciplinary courses that explore a single topic from several angles. These threaded courses bring students from different disciplines together in a common path.

3. Learning communities
NWU’s learning communities take several forms, from field-specific residence hall floor and pod groupings to student life activities grouped by Archway Seminars.

4. Writing-intensive courses
Employers say many workers lack the writing skills required to succeed. NWU builds stronger writers by scaffolding writing-instructive courses across all four years.

5. Collaborative projects
NWU prioritizes small-group work across your four years. We do it this way to foster leadership, interpersonal communication and teamwork skills that will be valuable to you throughout your professional life.

6. Undergraduate research
At NWU, students work alongside their professors in intensive research experiences that most scholars don’t find until the graduate level. And our annual Research Symposium gives students in every academic discipline a campus-wide audience for their work.

7. Diversity and global learning
On average, about 2% of American college students study abroad. At NWU, it’s 33%. NWU also maintains sister-school partnerships with universities in Estonia, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

8. Service learning
At NWU, new students join in community service as their first semester begins. And many professors integrate service projects into their courses to put studied principles into practical use.

9. Internships
NWU does more to connect students to life-changing internship opportunities across our region. And partnerships with the Chicago Center for Urban Life and the Capitol Hill Internship Program extend those opportunities to a national scale.

10. Capstone projects
Completing your major means more than checking classes off a list. Each NWU major involves a capstone experience—a professional practicum, thesis presentation, research project, performance or exhibition—something dynamic that captures the entirety of your learning within your chosen field.

11. Reflective e-portfolios
How does your entire NWU experience fit together? What connects the things you learned in your major, your labs, your internship, your residence hall? Most schools leave it to you to connect the dots. But NWU makes this reflection part of the experience. Your e-portfolio helps you articulate your strengths and experiences, which will serve you well in professional interviews.

Encourage your students to explore how NWU sets them up for success with high-impact experiences.