Opinion

Graduates, we need to know about you

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By Patricia Alvey

What will you do after you graduate? Will you start a new job in your desired field, or head to graduate school? These are big questions, and beginning this year, SMU is asking all graduating students to answer them as part of an important new survey.

I know that graduating students may be ready for a break from any and all “tests.” However, only you can provide the correct answers to this brief confidential survey about your future. And by doing so, you can help future students and their families.

How will your answers help others? Students coming to a university, and parents sending students to a university, want to know whether the time, effort and expense they put into receiving their degrees will lead them to their desired outcomes. Those outcomes vary for all students and parents, but might include being able to get a desired job, working in a desired field or being admitted to graduate school.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) now requires institutions of higher education to publish measures of student achievement online, including information about what students will be doing after they leave their institution. The only reliable source of that information comes from students themselves, most often through a survey such as the one emailed this week to graduating students.

Provost Paul Ludden and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White are overseeing the survey, which students are required to complete before graduating. This requirement will help SMU provide the best data for the greatest number of students possible.

Previously, SMU’s individual schools collected information from their graduates. Centralizing this survey means that every graduate will take only one survey no matter how many majors or degrees they are completing. And every school will have information about all of their graduates.

In addition to helping future SMU students with your survey, you can help the University know about your successes. The survey provides the chance to reflect and voice your opinions about SMU and your departmental experiences. You might also be motivated by the free SMU Alumni T-shirt that you’ll receive after completing the survey!

Regardless of your motivation, your feedback allows future students, parents, alumni, graduate schools and employers to see that student achievement is important at SMU, demonstrating clearly that what our Strategic Plan promises students CAN achieve is what students DO achieve at SMU and well into the future.

If you have any questions or concerns about this new survey, please email graduationsurvey@smu.edu. Thank you for sharing your achievements, and congratulations!

Patricia Alvey is the SMU Director of Assessment and Accreditation, and Professor of Advertising.

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