UW-River Falls ranked among top in undergraduate research and study abroad student engagement

October 6, 2016--The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has ranked the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the lead among similar institutions in the areas of undergraduate research engagement and study abroad participation among seniors. The NSSE collects information annually from first-year and senior students about the nature and quality of their undergraduate experience.

UW-River Falls showed a sharp increase in student participation, at ten percentage points or more, in comparison to other universities in the region with regards to undergraduate research by its senior population as well as the number of seniors who take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities offered through UW-River Falls programs each year.

"Dedicated faculty and staff have developed programs that provide UWRF students with the opportunity to study abroad in a wide variety of locations," said Katrina Larsen, executive director for International Education. "The programs may last a week or so during Spring Break to semester long programs. Many faculty and staff have studied or worked abroad and they strive to provide students with the same type of life changing experience that they have had."

Through its student survey, "The College Student Report," NSSE annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about first-year and senior students' participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. More information can be found at

"Undergraduate research, the principle engine powering UW-River Falls strong and longstanding research culture, has surged with the opportunities made possible in all four colleges, and at every level of the undergraduate experience, by the opening of a centralized Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity office in 2013," said Lissa Schneider- Rebozo, director of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity. "The recent surge in undergraduate research activity at UW-River Falls correlates with significantly improved student retention and graduation rates, increases in participation in post graduate educational opportunities, and high levels of meaningful employment for our graduates."

Student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning. Global Education and Engagement and URSCA activities have been identified as key components of the strategic planning activities at UW-River Falls.

"Research has consistently shown that undergraduate research and study abroad experiences are not only high impact practices that improve retention but they can also be life-changing experiences," said Faye Perkins, interim provost at UW-River Falls. "Many students who are involved in undergraduate research realize that they have the skills and abilities to pursue advance degrees, which they may have never previously considered. Having been involved in our study abroad programs, I have witnessed our students being transformed into globally informed citizens.  Our faculty and staff are committed to providing these life-changing experiences in a well-supported environment."  

For more information about NSSE or UW-River Falls, email

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