About the Student Voice Index

The Student Voice Index is a new tool illustrating how students and institutional leaders work together to address students’ needs for a better campus and community.

The Goal

We want to take a peak behind the headlines of campus unrest and better understand the role of student voice in institutional decision-making. Student government associations (SGA) exist across the country as the infrastructure to channel student voice and advocate for student interests. To discover how students were involved in the process, we set out to capture the state of student voice and identify key policies and practices that affect student voice. Our goal is to measure student voice, providing a framework and tools to strengthen student input in shared governance in higher education.

Learn more about what we discovered

Our Methodology

NCLC surveyed SGA presidents from more than 200 public flagships, research institutions, regional campuses, private liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and minority-serving institutions to examine the role of student voice in institutional decision-making. Researchers conducted document analysis of publicly available documents to better understand decision-making at the institutions included in the study.

Survey questions were revised with guidance from a survey methodologist and members of the Technical Advisory Committee, then tested by a focus group of former SGA presidents.

About the National Campus Leadership Council

The National Campus Leadership Council (NCLC) cultivates, strengthens, and advances student leadership in higher education. Since our launch in 2012, we’ve empowered thousands of student body leaders at more than 500 colleges and universities around the country to develop the tools, networks, and skills necessary to confront exigent issues facing students today. We work closely with major higher education stakeholders in the public and private sectors to develop unparalleled resources and programs that support and elevate students’ success on a wide range of issues including college affordability, campus sexual assault, mental health, diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and campus to career transitions.

These programs include our ongoing Policy Institutes addressing relevant issues impacting campuses, our annual CampusCon summit designed for student government members and the annual Presidential Leadership Summit designed for incoming and outgoing student body presidents. We like to play a critical role in sharing resources that will enable student leaders to be well prepared for the academic year and have helped launch launch major national initiatives that do just that, including the It’s On Us initiative to stop campus sexual assault, Defend Our Future to expand student engagement in sustainability programs, and Don’t Double My Rate campaign to keep federal student loan interest rates low in 2012 and 2013.

Our Partners

SVI is inspired by students and supported by our project sponsor, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Technical Advisory Committee

We are incredibly grateful for the insight, guidance, and support provided by experts of our Technical Advisory Committee. The committee is a comprised of leading higher education experts helping NCLC identify important areas of student and faculty engagement that support students’ overall wellbeing in the American education system.

  • Hollie Chessman, Research Fellow at the American Council on Education
  • Mei-Yen Ireland, Director of Integrated Student Support Strategies at Achieving the Dream
  • Andrew Lounder, Director of Programs at the Association of Governing Boards
  • Jon Lozano, Affiliate Researcher at Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research
  • Walter May, Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Student Activities at Reinhardt University
  • Brenda McKenzie, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education Administration Student Affairs, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University
  • Eboni Zamani-Gallaher Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership and Director of the Office for Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) at University of Illinois

Submit Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about the project, please connect our team at info@campusleaders.org.

Ready to Get Started?