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OIRA | Survey Research


Institutional Rsch / Assessmt
Fax: 202-885-1195
Leonard, Room 1st floor

Froslid Jones, Karen
Assistant Provost, Institutional Research and Assessment

Institutional Rsch / Assessmt
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8059

OIRA Surveys

The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment has developed a comprehensive survey program designed to gather information about student backgrounds, and their experiences while enrolled and after they graduate from American University. In addition, student satisfaction and evaluation information is also collected. The following are descriptions of each of the surveys that are a part of the program, along with some of the most recent survey results.

Freshmen Census

Campus Climate Survey

Graduation Census

National Survey of Student Engagement 

All first-time full-time freshmen are asked to complete the Freshmen Census during their first week at American University. This national freshmen survey, affiliated with the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, gathers information on many different aspects of previous experience as well as expectations for college. Because the survey is administered to thousands of freshmen across the country, it provides valuable comparative information as well. American University is a charter member of the HERI Cooperative Institutional Research Project and has been participating in this survey since its inception in 1973. Traditionally, the results of this survey receive attention in the national media. 

The Campus Climate Survey has been conducted by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment since 1992. The survey is used to collect data about student satisfaction with various aspects of campus life. The focus on the survey changes each year to reflect the university's information needs. The survey is currently conducted every other spring.

The Graduation Census is administered to all students who apply for graduation. It asks students for information regarding their employment and graduate school plans. The Graduation Census also asks to what extent the AU experience developed student skills and abilities in a number of areas. Finally, the survey asks about the student's level of satisfaction with academic program and overall experience at AU.

For more detailed results, see We Know Success, which allows you to filter results at the school and program levels.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to reflect on the time they devote to various learning activities. The topics explored are linked to previous research on student success in college. The survey is administered to new freshmen students and seniors.

What is engagement, according to NSSE?

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.

American University participates in NSSE every other year, most recently in Spring 2016. You can contact the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at for more information, or visit