May 20, 2009

Alumni give SIUC high marks in annual survey

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumni are finding jobs they want and are so happy with their education that 96 percent would recommend SIUC to someone else as the place to go.

That’s what recent graduates said in a survey released this week. The annual Baccalaureate Alumni Survey is a cooperative effort involving the Office of the Provost, Alumni Services, Institutional Research and Studies, Printing/Duplicating and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The survey queried 3,624 alumni who earned their bachelor’s degrees at SIUC in 2003. Respondents submitted 1,145 completed surveys.

The full-time employment rate was 87 percent for those responding to the survey. Of the 905 full-time employees who reported their salaries, the median annual salary was $52,000. Moreover, 92 percent of the alumni reported they were “very satisfied, satisfied, or somewhat satisfied” with their current posts. In addition, 72 percent reported that their jobs are “closely related or related” to their majors, while 15 percent said their current jobs are unrelated to their baccalaureate major but that it’s by their choice.

The alumni offered substantial praise for the SIUC faculty. Of those responding, 96 percent said the faculty in their major effectively communicated the subject matter while 94 percent proclaimed the faculty “very good instructors” and 95 percent said faculty gave timely feedback on student performance. In addition, 92 percent said faculty in their major was accessible outside of the classroom.

A wide variety of experiences inside and outside of the classroom at the University were valuable in helping complete their college education, they indicated via the survey. Some touted “being an active member of clubs and organizations” while others praised “the friends that I made,” the “very relaxed atmosphere of the campus and Carbondale community,” “diversity,” the “beautiful country” and the fact that “there was so much to do outdoors.”

Alumni also praised “campus amenities,” “friendly people” and the “togetherness of all students and the focus one another shared to lift each other’s spirits to stick it out and see things through until graduation.” From friendships to outdoor activities, from having caring mentors to numerous club activity options, from a great recreation center, library and other amenities to quality faculty and peers, alumni said SIUC provided what they wanted and needed in a University. They applauded the research opportunities, internships, campus employment, volunteerism and camaraderie.

Alumni also gave the University high marks for course curriculum, class sizes, advisers and other facets of their educational experience. Following is a percentage summary of responses from respondents saying they “strongly agreed or agreed” with the statements:

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

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

• 88 percent: Courses in my major improved my ability to write more effectively.

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

• 85 percent: There was a balance between the practical and the theoretical in my major classes.

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

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

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

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

• 94 percent: My program of study challenged me.

• 83 percent: The knowledge and skills learned in my major program are applicable to my field.

• 82 percent: Advisers in my degree program were effective in informing me about future course offerings/scheduling.

• 85 percent: Advisers in my degree program were effective in informing me about degree requirements.

• 88 percent: Advisers in my degree program were available when I needed assistance.