GSE News

Penn GSE Honors NSSE Founder George Kuh

January 10, 2013 - Penn GSE’s Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management program recently awarded Dr. George D. Kuh, founding director of the highly influential National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) the 2013 Robert Zemsky Medal for Innovation in Higher Education.

“The Zemsky Award was developed by Exec Doc alumni to recognize the value of Dr. Zemsky’s contributions and to celebrate work that exemplifies the Exec Doc program culture of being passionate supporters and change agents in higher education,” says Dr. Karen Sibley, chair of the Exec Doc in Higher Education Management’s Alumni Advisory Board and the Dean of Continuing Education at Brown University. “Dr. George Kuh is absolutely the kind of person who has made a real difference and truly deserves this award.”

Established by the Exec Doc Alumni Board, the Zemsky Medal is awarded annually and recognizes individuals whose leadership in higher education has resulted in transformational change in colleges and universities. The award is named for and honors Penn GSE’s Robert (Bob) Zemsky, who has made extraordinary contributions in advancing innovative strategies to improve excellence in higher education policy and leadership. Dr. Zemsky received the inaugural medal in 2012.

Kuh, currently the Chancellor’s Professor of Higher Education Emeritus at Indiana University Bloomington and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, founded the National Survey of Student Engagement. The NSSE assesses how well colleges and universities meet the changing needs of undergraduate students and provides an estimate of what they gain from attending college. Institutions use the data to identify aspects of the undergraduate experience – both inside and outside the classroom – that can be improved.

“The NSSE has had a dynamic and insightful impact across higher ed, and it will continue to do so,” says Sibley. “The most important thing the survey offers may be the capacity to measure points of value in the educational experience an institution is delivering, the difference between their incoming students and the accomplishment identified by graduating populations. The NSSE helps institutions to affirm valuable initiatives and to refine efforts in continuously striving for success. Kuh was one of the first scholars to consider the student experience and measure the impact higher ed has on their lives.”

The Exec Doc Alumni Advisory Board presented the Zemsky Medal to Kuh at a gala dinner on Thursday, January 18 as part of the Exec Doc program’s 8th Annual Higher Education Leadership Conference, “Innovation in an Era Disruptive Change.”

Photo: Dr. Bob Zemsky (center) receives the 2012 Zemsky Medal for Innovation in Higher Education from Exec Doc Alumni Advisory Board Chairs Dr. James Garvey (left) and Dr. Karen Sibley (right).