June 25, 2008

Recent graduates give high marks to alma mater

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Recent graduates of Southern Illinois University Carbondale are finding well-paying, full-time work and give the University overwhelmingly good marks, according to a survey released this week.

The annual Baccalaureate Alumni Survey is accomplished through a cooperative relationship with the Provost’s Office, Alumni Services, Institutional Research and Studies, Printing/Duplicating, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The survey asked graduates who received their bachelor’s degrees in calendar year 2006 various questions about their experience at the University. The survey polled 3,681 former students one year after their graduation. Of that number, 1,212, or about 33 percent, completed the survey.

Of the returned surveys, 83 percent reported a “strongly positive” or “positive” attitude toward their alma mater, with 76 percent reporting similar feelings toward their major degree program in particular.

The respondents also indicated a great willingness to recommend SIUC to others, with 96 percent reporting that sentiment. Fully 80 percent of those surveyed also reported they had achieved full-time employment. Their reported salaries equaled a median annual income of $42,000.

The newly employed graduates also reported being satisfied with their careers. Of those surveyed, 90 percent said they were “very satisfied,” “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their jobs. Almost three quarters said their positions were either “closely related” or “related” to their majors, indicating most found work in their chosen fields. Another 14 percent they were working in an unrelated field by choice.

Almost 70 percent of those graduates who are pursuing additional degrees said their undergraduate experience at SIUC prepared them “very well” or “well” to do so.

Graduates also gave high marks to SIUC in class size, faculty, course curriculum, communication and other areas. Here is a percentage summary of responses to statements about the majors in which those surveyed either “strongly agreed” or “agreed”:

• 95 percent: In general, the size of my classes in my major program was conducive to a quality educational experience.

•94 percent: The faculty in my major program effectively communicated the subject matter.

•94 percent: The faculty in my major program were very good instructors.

•92 percent: Courses in my major helped me develop my ability to think critically.

•92 percent: Courses in my major helped me develop my ability to communicate my ideas to others.

• 95 percent: The number of required courses in my major program could be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

• 92 percent: Classes in my major program were offered in a logical sequence.

•89 percent: Classes in my major program were offered at convenient times.

•92 percent: My program of study challenged me.

•89 percent: There was improvement in my ability to write more clearly and effectively.

•87 percent: Courses in major helped me develop my ability to understand other people.