UConn to Seek Alumni Input on Post-Graduate Career Success

A student graduating in 2014 wears a cap with the legend, 'Students Today, Huskies Forever.' (Elizabeth Caron/UConn File Photo)
By seeking information about graduates’ career paths at the five-year and 10-year mark after their bachelor’s degrees, the University hopes to assess the impact of a UConn education and help future generations of students. (Elizabeth Caron/UConn File Photo)

UConn graduates will soon have a chance to share their career experiences and their opinions about the value of their degree, as the University takes part in a national survey on alumni career mobility.

The University this year will participate in the National Alumni Career Mobility Survey (NACM), in which universities can learn about their graduates’ career paths at the five-year and 10-year mark after they receive their bachelor’s degrees.

That information is expected to help the University, policymakers, and prospective students and their families assess the impact of a UConn education on graduates’ professional journeys after leaving campus, in essence helping measure the value of their degree.

It can also help UConn determine areas of strength and areas in which more attention and resources could be valuable, using the experiences and input of alumni to help future generations of UConn students.

“As we gain a better understanding of alumni satisfaction with their career choices and how UConn prepared them for post-graduation success, we can better create targeted programs to assist current students with their career development and planning,” said James Lowe, UConn assistant vice provost and executive director of the UConn Center for Career Development.

“In addition to analyzing our own alumni data, we will also have access to aggregate information on peer and aspirant institutions. This will help us to assess the comparative strength of our existing programs and develop plans to address any gaps that may exist,” he added.

The career center will coordinate UConn’s participation in the survey in partnership with the UConn Office of Alumni Relations.

Graduates from the undergraduate classes of 2009 and 2014 will be invited later this year to visit a specific secured online portal to fill out the survey, which will be presented in an easy-to-navigate interactive dashboard. It is estimated to take about seven to 10 minutes, and participants can also choose to complete the survey in Spanish if they wish.

The questions include asking about specific numbers and locations of jobs the alum has held and in which industries; how satisfied they’ve been with their career choices; and their economic mobility such as salary growth over the previous five or 10 years.

They will also be asked about their civic engagement, including honors and volunteerism; and how satisfied they are with their degree, including whether they feel it prepared them for the working world.

The information will build on existing data already collected by the UConn Center for Career Development, which has expanded its offerings significantly in recent years both for underclassmen building their experience through internships, and for those approaching graduation and seeking to launch their careers.

That work is paying off. According to the center’s First Destination Data tracking initiative, about 88 percent of UConn’s 2018 graduates had gone on to jobs, were studying for advanced degrees, or serving in the military or volunteer positions within six months of graduating.

About three-quarters of those students who came to UConn as Connecticut residents remained in the state within the six months after graduation to start their careers, according to the data.

UConn has more than 225,000 alumni nationwide. That includes about 4,600 who received their bachelor’s degrees in 2009 and about 5,200 in the Class of 2014, which will be the groups contacted for participation in the survey.

Montique (Mo) Cotton Kelly, UConn’s vice president, alumni relations and communications, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Center for Career Development on this initiative. As we travel around the state and hear alumni stories, we hear anecdotally how well UConn has done on preparing them for their career success. To be able to get measurable information from these two classes of alumni is simply incredible. I often tell our alumni that I believe the value of their degree rises after graduation, I am hoping that getting this information from them will prove me right.