National study rates CI high in student engagement
California State University Channel Islands
California State University Channel Islands

Camarillo, CA - A recent study by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) shows that students at CSU Channel Islands (CI) are overwhelmingly engaged and satisfied by their educational experience. The group’s 2014 report, “Bringing the Institution into Focus,” details and compares survey results from more than 355,000 students attending 622 U.S. colleges and universities about their learning experiences and success.

The annual study asks first-year and senior students about their participation in activities and programs that promote learning and personal development. Rather than providing rankings, the results offer a snapshot of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending their university. Institutions use the data to identify successful practices and areas for improvement.

Among the key findings, CI students rated their University significantly higher than its peer institutions for the quality of interactions with faculty and student services staff, respect for diversity, support and services to help students succeed, and their own satisfaction.

The study also revealed that CI students were much more likely to participate in “high-impact” learning experiences – including undergraduate research, service-learning, learning communities, study abroad, internships or culminating experiences – than their peers at other universities. According to the data, 98 percent of CI seniors and 71 percent of CI first-year student respondents were engaged in some form of high-impact learning. The report defines high-impact practices as “enriching educational experiences that can be life-changing,” adding that high-impact activities “demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and other students, encourage collaboration with diverse others, and provide frequent and substantive feedback.”

“CI student engagement begins in the classroom,” said CI political science and communication double-major Kristina Cervi, who is active in Associated Students Incorporated, Mortar Board National Honor Society, Model United Nations, and the Alumni & Friends Association. “Our professors make their subjects so interesting that you feel inclined to engage and learn more, whether it's through service learning or club involvement.”

Abundant research shows that students who are engaged are more likely to enjoy and excel in college, complete their degrees, and even pursue leadership and mentoring roles. CI offers a wide array of opportunities to ensure that every student is impacted, whether it’s participating in research with professors, engaging in mentoring and peer learning communities, undertaking community service projects, pursuing internships, or assuming club and campus leadership roles. Many CI seniors participate in a culminating Capstone course that allows them to apply what they’ve learned in a meaningful and constructive way. A high percentage of CI students also study abroad, either in semester-long programs or in shorter International Experience class trips. These trips are often subsidized by student Instructionally Related Activities Funds, so all students can visit and experience other cultures, regardless of financial circumstances.

Cervi, a senior who recently completed a semester in Washington, D.C., as a Panetta Congressional Intern, says the experience confirmed that CI offers its students an unusually rich support and engagement network.

“My internship in Washington really opened my eyes to how unique CI is,” she said. “In my discussions with student leaders from other universities, there was a common theme that the students didn't feel like they had much say in the functions of their university. At CI, we are so lucky to have student-led fee committees that oversee how our fees are spent, an ASI that balances power between four entities, and small class sizes with open-minded professors that allow us to ask questions that test the status quo. CI truly does put the student at the center of the University.”

According to the NSSE survey, 93 percent of CI seniors and 89 percent of CI first-year students rated their experience as “excellent” or “good.” In addition, 92 percent of seniors and 84 percent of first-year students said they would “definitely” or “probably” choose to attend CI again. Both satisfaction ratings exceeded averages for all CSUs.

“We are pleased that our students recognize they are the focus of our mission, the center of their own learning experience, and the people in whom we invest our greatest hopes, support and confidence,” said CI President Richard R. Rush. “Our fulfillment as educators comes from witnessing the many CI graduates who dedicate themselves to bettering their campus and community. The NSSE study is a guide for future improvement and a confirmation that we are headed in the right direction.”

For the full report, visit To learn more about CI’s results, contact Genevieve Evans Taylor, Special Assistant to the President, at 805-437-3998 or

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.

The California State University (CSU) will reach a significant milestone of 3 million alumni during commencement in spring 2015 and has launched the world’s largest yearbook. The Class of 3 Million online yearbook is an interactive platform where alumni can create a profile and connect with the millions of other alumni from the 23 CSU campuses across the state. Alumni who sign up for the yearbook will also be entered into a special contest to win one of three $10,000 scholarships for a current or future student, sponsored by Herff Jones. For more information about the yearbook and the Class of 3 Million, visit