Alumni Survey, 2002, Five Year Out (1997 graduates)

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Alumni Survey 2010, One Year Out (2009 graduates) Executive Summary and Analysis of Qualitative Data

There were 774 alumni surveys returned out of 2185 reachable graduates 1 for a 35% return rate. The number of responses given below will not total 774 because some former students gave responses falling into more than one category and others chose not to respond to these questions. What follows are the number of alumni comments that fell into the various categories in response to the following questions:

What had the most positive impact on you during your time at Eastern?

(A total of 652 alumni responded to this question.) And,

What had the most negative impact on you during your time at Eastern?

(A total of 584 former students responded to this question.)

What had the most positive impact on you during your time at Eastern?

No response: Total responses:

Academics: 528 (81%) 2

122 652 (84% of returned survey respondents)

Relationship with professors/advisors: 345 (53%) Specific programs; small class sizes; overall education, career: 183 (28%)

Three hundred forty-five of the 652 former students who answered this question indicated that their professors had had the most positive impact on their time at Eastern. Faculty were applauded for bringing real-world experience into the classroom, for caring about their students’ and their learning, and for their enthusiasm and passion for their fields. Alumni remain thankful for the small sizes offered by EIU; 27 former students listed small class sizes as having the most positive impact on their education. Small class sizes are linked to the availability and approachability of faculty and are seen as fostering those one-on-one relationships. Specific programs, classes, assignments, and degree requirements were chosen by 114 alumni as the most important feature of their education. Students valued assignments and requirements that went beyond the classroom and provided real world experiences such as internships, study abroad, research projects, and group projects. Thirty three alums indicated that obtaining their degree or their overall education was the most prized aspect of their association with Eastern.

Student Life: 231 (35%) Relationships/social activities/Greek system/housing: 140 (21%) Involvement/activities/recognized student organizations/athletics: 91 (14%)

Social activities, relationships with peers, and living arrangements are an important aspect of the college experience as evidenced by the 30% of positive impact comments related to these areas. Social aspects were given as the top choice for 87 alumni while 37 people directly mentioned their sorority or fraternity as having the most positive impact. Sixteen alums indicated that their housing experiences had been the most positive. For the first time in several years, enough comments were received to add a new subcategory to comments related to student life and out-of-classroom engagement/activities. Fifteen alumni indicated that their on-campus employment had had the most positive impact with several people indicating these positions had offered them valuable skills and support. Fifteen individuals listed their involvement with volunteer/service/religious 1 There were 2205 potential graduate responders in this cohort. A total of 20 graduates were unreachable because of bad addresses, were deceased, or had “do not solicit” orders. The above total reflects the number of alumni who received the survey. 2 Percentages are taken from the total number of responses to each question, rather than the total number of alumni in the cohort or the total number of returned surveys. Executive Summary & Analysis Prepared by the Center for Academic Support and Assessment, January 2011

organizations as the most positive experience at Eastern; 17 listed athletics/intramurals; and 44 offered various RSOs and activities.

University-wide Issues: 87 (13%) Facilities; services; community; diversity: 67 (10%) Personal growth: 20 (3%)

Alumni comment on the friendliness of the campus atmosphere and the beautiful grounds. Other comments related to specific offices that had aided individuals in their time on campus. Twenty alums listed positive outcomes such as becoming independent, more organized, and achieving goals.

What had the most negative impact on you during your time at Eastern?

No response: Total responses: Nothing negative: 190 584 (75% of returned survey respondents; 447 negative impact (58% of responses)) 137 (23%); 42 additional positive comments (7%)

Academics: 264 (45%) Relationship with professors/advisors: 133 (23%) Specific programs; scheduling; overall education, career: 131 (22%)

Like the responses to the positive impact question, the responses to the negative impact question elicited the most comments related to academics with 133 comments concerning faculty/advisors and 131 related to majors/courses/degree requirements. Eighty-seven negative comments related to specific programs or scheduling; former studnets complained of choices being limited in terms of times of classes or certain courses being offered only once a year. Others found little value in general education requirements or had specific criticisms concerning courses or majors. Some repeated issues were other students not pulling their weight in group projects, being misadvised, having trouble understanding faculty, and issues related to technology in the classroom or instructors’ facility with WebCT or the on-line learning environment.

Student Life: 73 (13%) Relationships/social activities/Greek system/housing: 71 (12%) Activities/recognized student organizations/athletics: 2 (<1%)

Only two negative comments related to organizations or clubs and one of those was regret for not getting more involved. Thirty-seven negative comments related to student life focused on students’ partying too much, being apathetic, and interpersonal relationships. Fourteen comments related to the Greek “atmosphere” or life as being too prominent on campus or other issues related to fraternities and sororities. Twenty comments related to housing and included issues such as not getting along with roommates, the quality of the food served in the dining halls, and various housing rules and policies.

University-wide Issues: 145 (25%) Facilities; services; community: 83 (14%) Personal growth/finances: 62 (11%)

Of the 83 negative comments related to the community, facilities and services, 21 were related to a lack of parking for students on campus. Other comments focused on issues with campus police and policies and procedures of Student Standards. Some former students complained about the size of Charleston and the lack of entertainment choices. Some comments expressed dissatisfaction with red tape or “getting the run around” when trying to find answers to questions. Personal issues and finances included topics such as commuting to school, the problems of having a family and/or job and attending school, finding career goals late, or issues with responsibility and time management. Twenty-seven alumni expressed concerns over the cost of college or issues with financial aid.

Executive Summary & Analysis Prepared by the Center for Academic Support and Assessment, January 2011

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