Northern Arizona University is getting high praise from students, according to the 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement.

When compared to its peer institutions, NAU rated the highest in three key survey categories: Ninety-six percent of seniors believe the university provides support for student success; 80 percent said faculty were available, helpful or sympathetic to their needs; and 70 percent of seniors reported that the quality of advising at the university was good or excellent.

Other high praise came from 86 percent of seniors who rated their entire educational experience as good or excellent.

First-year students surveyed also reported satisfaction with their choice to attend NAU, with 89 percent saying they have a favorable image of NAU, and 84 percent saying they would choose the university again if they could start their college career over.

“The great ratings from students are absolutely in part due to the great work of faculty, but there are many people on campus who deserve acknowledgement of their roles in student satisfaction and in increasing our national reputation,” said Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

She credited the Gateway Student Success Center and the college and department advising personnel for a “yeoman’s job” of being positive, communicative and caring about working with students.

Grobsmith also gave kudos to NAU’s Faculty Development programs.

“We have focused for the last several years on helping faculty learn how students learn and what kinds of interactive technologies support active student learning,” she said. “We have improved student success by providing diverse opportunities for faculty to improve teaching and their service to students, and they are doing an extraordinary job being student focused.”

At NAU, 1,614 randomly selected students participated in the recent survey.

A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College, published by the National Survey of Student Engagement, also features the survey results.

The survey provides prospective students with insights into how they might learn and develop at a given college, and provides information for College Portrait, a custom report of participating schools designed to provide consistent, comparable and transparent information on the undergraduate student experience.

Colleges and universities create independent College Portrait reports, publish them through the Voluntary System of Accountability web site and provide links from their own web sites to the information.

College Portrait is a product of the Voluntary System of Accountability project, a partnership between the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.