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Alumni data tells story of outcomes and career readiness

UNC student studies at his computer

Office of Alumni RelationsOffice of Alumni Relations
June 06, 2017

Online survey seeks feedback from recent graduates

Do you remember filling out course evaluations as a UNC student? The short forms may have seemed like an afterthought at the end of the semester, but the data collected is an important way that UNC improves the education and services offered to students – another way is the alumni survey.

Each summer the Office of Assessment distributes the university’s alumni survey to individuals who graduated within the past year. The survey is an opportunity for UNC’s newest alumni to share their feedback on the quality of their education and their post-graduation employment. Responses play an important role in improving the university’s offerings and supporting a career-ready education. 

“UNC’s Office of Assessment relies on high quality data to tell our story regarding the quality and value of our degree programs,” shares Allison Grant, UNC’s assessment data analyst. “Our alumni survey is a particularly important source of data.”

“We ask about program satisfaction, broader university experiences, employment status, and continuing education,” says Grant. “We ask about internships and usefulness of Center for Career Readiness, and remind alumni that Center for Career Readiness and the alumni association offer continued support and opportunities for involvement.”

Data make a Difference

UNC’s alumni survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete and is based on standards set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Responses are used throughout the university, from admissions to Center for Career Readiness, and within the university’s various academic departments. The higher the response rate, the stronger UNC’s claim to preparing students with a high quality, career-ready education.  

Primarily, the survey collects feedback on academic and student support programs. Faculty and administrators rely on the data to monitor and improve programs; fulfill accreditation requirements; track employment and continuing education placement; inform national rankings such as the U.S. News and World Report; and educate students about enrollment and career choices. 

Based on survey responses, Grant and the Office of Assessment aggregate and analyze the response data. Then, data is passed to the university’s academic departments and program offices such as Center for Career Readiness. Data from the Office of Assessment is presented in aggregate so that individual alumni survey responses are not identifiable.

“I use the data to prepare students with some expectation for what life after college is like,” says Renee Welch, director of Center for Career Readiness. “If I know how long it takes for UNC students to get their first job, I can help set the expectation of our graduating students and help them plan. It is a way to normalize the career search timeline and process.”

Recent alumni report a 76% employment placement rate for bachelor degree graduates following their first year of post-graduation life. 83% of those employed are in a role related to their academic major. The rates jump for graduate degree alumni to 79% and 93% respectively. Placement rate is calculated by asking recent graduates to report their employment status and pursuit of additional education.

Employment Rates

Alumni data like the employment placement rate inform UNC’s program review and improvement process. All academic, student services, and co-curricular programs complete a comprehensive review at least once every ten years. The review process includes an extensive self-study, examination of relevant program data for benchmarking progress, and assessment of student learning outcomes – including indicators of career readiness.

“Our ability to know how our grads are doing helps us make the changes we need to make UNC better. Data help us proceed forward on the program and university level,” encourages Grant.

Connecting with Alumni

The survey is also an important first step in connecting with UNC’s recent graduates, some of whom may still be looking for their first post-college job or may want to remain involved in their university as a volunteer. For this reason, the Office of Assessment coordinates survey outreach with the UNC Alumni Association.

“The survey is an opportunity to let our recent graduates to know that their feedback matters, but also share that we’re here to support them during the transition from college to career,” says Lyndsey Crum, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “Survey outreach reinforces the message that UNC can and should remain a resource to its alumni.”

According to Crum, the survey is an important point of contact recent graduates have with UNC post-graduation and an opportunity for these alumni to indicate how they want to remain connected, involved, and supported moving forward. 

We're Sending You a Survey

If you are a recent graduate, please keep an eye out for an email inviting you to complete the online alumni survey. Your feedback is important and aids UNC in bringing value to your degree and that of fellow alumni.

Not a recent graduate but have feedback to share? Reach out to us at alumni@unco.edu to let us know about your UNC experience.