The National Survey of Student Engagement begins on Feb. 6

image shows a class in the Curtis Lecture hall
Hundreds of students sit in a lecture hall and listen to an instructor at the podium

Starting today, thousands of first- and fourth-year York University students will be asked to take part in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), or “Nessie”. Through NSSE, they’ll be able to contribute their insight and have input into York University’s future direction. The NSSE survey of first- and fourth-year students happens every three years and is part of a broad North American endeavor to find out how students are engaged in their postsecondary education.

NSSE is conducted by the University of Indiana for use across North America. It is adapted for Canada and Ontario universities have included several Ontario-specific questions as well.

On Feb. 6, all the students who are eligible to take the NSSE survey will receive an email from the Office of the President. The email will be sent to the students’ preferred email addresses on file. In the email will be a personalized link that will take them to the NSSE survey.

In addition to the email invitation, the online survey will also be available through a personalized link in students’ Moodle and Student Portal accounts. The survey is also mobile friendly, meaning that students will be able to complete the survey on their smartphones or tablets.

The NSSE survey, which takes around 15 minutes to complete, is open to all undergraduate students in their first year or their graduating year of a four-year degree, except Bachelor of Education and Osgoode Hall Law students (other restrictions apply, for more details, visit The results will provide insight into what York U does well and what it could improve. It will be used to determine how much time and effort students put into educationally rewarding activities and to what degree York University facilitates this involvement.

The 2014 survey yielded a 27.8 per cent response rate, which was more than double the previous survey. This year, the NSSE survey team at York University is hoping for a 35 per cent response rate.

Every student who completes the survey will receive a virtual “Thank-you” coupon on their YU-card for a free latte at Starbucks (Keele) or Tim Hortons (Glendon), donated by Aramark. They can also exchange their coupon at the York Bookstore for a $5 York Lanes gift card donated by the York University Development Corporation (YUDC), or a $5 gift card for The Underground donated by the Student Centre (both while supplies last).

As well, the NSSE Working Group at York U has challenged the individual Faculties to compete for the highest response rate. The Faculty with the highest participation rate will win the ‘NSSE Champion Cup’ and bragging rights until the next survey. It was won in 2014 by the Schulich School of Business. Faculty NSSE standings will be published on York University’s NSSE website and the LCD screen network on campus every Thursday at 2pm for the duration of the survey and publicized every Monday in YFile.

The NSSE campaign is sponsored by the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost, and led through a Working Group of over 20 people representing the whole community including Faculties, students, administration and student services.

For more information, see York University’s NSSE website at