Ashley Decker, ’18, is a foodservice marketing intern at Rich Products.

Niagara University is a leader in offering its students opportunities for High-Impact Practices, which enable students to put their knowledge into action, have been shown to increase student engagement, and can be life-changing for the participants. According to the Spring 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement, 96 percent of Niagara University seniors participate in least one High-Impact Practice, which is 10 percentage points higher than the full aggregate of NSSE participants and five percentage points higher than Catholic colleges and universities nationally.

High-Impact Practices, which are aligned with Niagara University’s strategic plan, are integrated into the curriculum as service learning, learning communities, research with faculty, internships or field experiences, study abroad, and culminating senior experiences. These opportunities, which demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and students, and encourage collaboration with diverse others, enable students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it in real-world settings.

“Excellence at Niagara comes in many forms, be it academic rigor, faculty engagement, community service, or many others,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “Ultimately, our graduates are the next generation of leaders. Providing our students with meaningful high-impact practices from freshman year on, allows us to build upon their talents and attributes with cutting-edge professional knowledge and skills. This will provide our students with the ability to lead fulfilling lives as civic-minded people and professionals in the careers of their choice.”

There is a strong link between research and success in graduate school, and Niagara University fosters numerous opportunities for students to perform collaborative research with faculty across all disciplines. Students are co-presenters at regional and national academic conferences, and co-authors on research papers and publications in professional journals.

Students also have many opportunities to attain work experience through internships, co-op programs, practicums, and volunteer opportunities with businesses and nonprofit organizations across the country. In addition, Niagara University’s 150 study-abroad programs in more than 30 countries around the world offer diverse cultural and academic experiences that enable students to learn the intercultural perspectives that are necessary to prepare them to be global leaders.

These experiences open the door to graduate school and career opportunities for Niagara’s students—97 percent of whom are employed in their field or attending graduate school within one year of graduation—and provide them with the confidence, clarity of direction, and heightened sense of purpose to compete in a hypercompetitive, international economy.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) documents dimensions of quality in undergraduate education and provides information and assistance to colleges, universities, and other organizations to improve student learning. Its primary activity is annually surveying college students to assess the extent to which they engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development.