To get a clearer picture of its graduates, the University of Mary Washington asked for participation this spring in its first truly comprehensive alumni survey, complete with clickable answers, drop-down menus, and all the trappings you’d expect of an online poll. But rather than pop into view like a digital photo, the UMW image developed more like a Polaroid print, sliding into focus a little at a time.
As results were tallied, numbers crunched, and comments analyzed, a picture began to emerge. It shows a professionally successful group of graduates who feel they left Mary Washington with the skills it takes to succeed, friendships that last a lifetime, and experiences they wouldn’t trade for the world. The survey committee – organized by UMW Chief of Staff Martin A. Wilder Jr. and composed of key members of Mary Washington’s faculty and staff, including Assistant Provost for Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness Taiwo Ande – is grateful to the more than 2,000 UMW alumni who took time to participate. The group is eager to share highlights from its findings and its plans for moving forward.
“We are extremely pleased by the very candid and thoughtful responses of our alumni,” Wilder said. The survey sought to measure not only the career-related success of Mary Washington grads but also their emotional connection to their alma mater. “The data will help us tout the many achievements of the UMW community and move us closer to President Hurley’s goal of making UMW the best public liberal arts and sciences university in the nation.”
Administrators, who have shared results with specific academic departments, will prioritize participants’ concerns, identify areas that call for further exploration, and discuss how to make collected data accessible. They plan to capitalize on offers from survey-takers who said they’d like to strengthen their connections to their alma mater. And they’ll fine-tune questions from the survey’s two versions – one for recent graduates and another for those who finished five years ago or more – to ensure that subsequent polls capture information that is missing or could help illuminate certain areas.
Statistics revealed by the results of this spring’s survey, along with those culled from future versions, will help President Hurley – and the entire University – herald the accomplishments of Mary Washington’s faculty, staff, and students; instill pride in alumni; attract prospective students and their parents; solicit financial assistance from legislators and other officials; and continue to give students a first-rate education.
Here are some stats and sentiments from the survey: