ncu-spring-2017-cover-alumni-survey

Alumni Survey Shows
High Satisfaction with Northcentral University

Written by Judy Tierney

If you haven’t already guessed, Northcentral University loves to stay connected to its alumni. No doubt you’ve read or heard about the exciting programs and opportunities that have been created just for this special group of people. This entire issue of Higher Degrees is dedicated especially to them. Keeping a pulse on how former students feel about their degrees and experiences at NCU also plays a critical role in helping the University ensure positive outcomes for its current and future students.

John Fulginiti John Fulginiti

One of the ways NCU strives to exceed its goal to provide best-in-class degree programs is through the University’s alumni survey. John Fulginiti, Director of the NCU Institutional Research Office and his Associate Director, Nick Redell, are responsible for accumulating, gathering, aggregating, analyzing and reporting institutional data. The alumni survey falls under their purview. We spoke to Fulginiti to find out more about the latest survey, its results and how his office supports decision-making based on survey outcomes.

Fulginiti explained that the objective of the 2016 survey was to determine longitudinal student outcomes that are a direct result of earning a degree from NCU. “We are interested in things such as whether alumni are working in their chosen field, if they received a higher salary or a promotion as a result of the degree, or if they were able to change jobs or do something in their field because the degree opened an opportunity for them.”

“One of the very powerful findings of our alumni survey is that NCU students who earn a degree are generally very pleased and satisfied with the experience they had at this institution,” said Fulginiti. “Eighty-one percent said there is an alignment between NCU’s program content and their own career objectives, which means that four out of five students found a direct correlation between what they studied and how they work.”

While NCU has been administering alumni surveys for many years, the survey was redesigned in 2016 to be more comprehensive. The new survey included more focused questions and was sent to alumni from throughout the University’s 20-year history. At the time of the survey in July 2016, 9,111 unique alumni had graduated from NCU, and because several had earned multiple degrees, a total of 9,384 degrees had been awarded. From this group, NCU attempted to contact 8,279 alumni and invited them to participate.

“One of the very powerful findings of our alumni survey is that NCU students who earn a degree are generally very pleased and satisfied with the experience they had at this institution.”

John Fulginiti, Director of the NCU Institutional Research Office

“Approximately 17% responded, which is substantial for this type of research,” explained Fulginiti. “Our responses were spread across the three Schools, across degree types and across gender and ethnicity, so it was representative.”

“Our alumni can tell us a lot about the world,” Fulginiti continued. “The survey helps us to establish long-term student outcomes that can ultimately enhance institutional effectiveness and support a whole host of activities.”

Because the survey is so broad ranging and covers so much territory, Fulginiti said it is one of the more pervasive reports that is used across the institution. For example, it may influence policies and procedures in the individual Schools or planning for new courses. Leadership may use data to make decisions about growth and potential new programs. Fulginiti’s team supports decision makers by offering perspectives on how to interpret the data and making suggestions for a direction to follow based on the analyses.

“Our alumni can tell us a lot about the world.”

John Fulginiti

Along with all of the insightful data that comes out of the survey, Fulginiti said that it also drives more questions. One of the future research elements his team is working on is looking for predictors of future student success. “If we can look backward and figure out the connections in that longitudinal data, we may be able to predict patterns or triggers that promote the likelihood of success later on.”

While there’s always more research to be done, Fulginiti emphasizes what he said are strong and telling findings for NCU. “I’m pleased with what we’ve heard from our graduates.”