Gordon in the News: last updated 12/04/2007

National Survey Affirms Gordon As a Place of Academic Rigor, International Study, and Service

November 21, 2007

Ashley Hopkins
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA-Gordon College was one of 610 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada to participate in the recently released 2007 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Report sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Gordon has been participating in this survey since 2005 and once again, the NSSE demonstrates Gordon as an institution distinguished by academic rigor, international awareness, and a spirit of volunteerism and humanitarian service.

The survey results drew considerable national attention, largely because it is emerging in many quarters as a rival to the US News and World Report's annual ratings of colleges. While the US News rating depends heavily on reputation and financial resources, the NSSE assesses how widely and effectively colleges and universities employ teaching practices that actually promote learning and personal development. The survey enables institutions to compare their own scores against composite scores for all institutions nationwide-as well as for selected peer groups. Gordon was measured against schools in the Carnegie liberal arts category, which includes some of the more prestigious institutions like Skidmore, Scripps, Vassar and Holy Cross.

On virtually all indicators of academic rigor, Gordon notably exceeded the Carnegie averages. According to the survey, Gordon's students-both first-year students and seniors-spend far more time studying and read substantially more books and articles than college students nationwide. Seventy five percent of Gordon seniors, for instance, claimed that they spent more than 10 hours a week preparing for class, well above the average for the Carnegie schools (64%). Two-thirds of Gordon's first-year students read ten or more books a semester, twice as high as the percentage for the nation at large. Among Gordon seniors, 96% claimed that the institution emphasizes studying and academic work, even more than the 85% average for the Carnegie schools.

Gordon was also exceptional in two other areas-community service and international focus. During their first year at college, Gordon students are three times more likely than their peers at other American colleges to participate in community service as part of their academic program. Volunteer service is also much higher at Gordon: Sixty eight percent of the first-year students contribute some form of community or volunteer work, notably higher than the 45% average for Carnegie schools. By the senior year, 40% of Gordon students have studied abroad, more than the 33% average for the Carnegie schools. Quite notably, some four-fifths of Gordon students have completed foreign language coursework in college. That's nearly twice the national average.

"I am pleased to see that the NSSE affirms our academic rigor and spirit of service," Provost Mark Sargent observes. "At the same time, the NSSE helps us understand how we can improve. While it shows that we continue to be strong with nurturing writing skills, it suggests that we can do even more to help students prepare for oral presentations. But we are gratified that our program receives such strong marks for helping students understand their lives and responsibilities as global citizens."

For more information on the 2007 NSSE report, please contact Ashley Hopkins at 978-867-4569 or .


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The college offers majors in 36 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.