The Graduate Office, in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Research, recently conducted a survey of Dartmouth graduate alumni in order to gauge their satisfaction with their Dartmouth experience.
The survey was sent out electronically to 738 Dartmouth PhD alumni, all of whom were at least five years removed from graduation. Data collection lasted three weeks, and 251 alums responded for a 34% overall response rate.
Overall, the results of the survey were highly encouraging. Eighty-seven percent of the graduate alumni surveyed feel that completing their Dartmouth graduate degree was ‘definitely worth the effort.’ Eighty-three percent of respondents use the skills from their specialty or general field on a daily basis, and 93% percent of alumni respondents believe that Dartmouth provided effective training in designing and executing research. Additionally, 92% of alums feel that their Dartmouth education has been instrumental in helping them think critically and identify problems/format solutions.
“Maintaining strong alumni connections within the Dartmouth graduate community is of the utmost importance to the Graduate Studies Office,” says Kerry Landers, Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs at Dartmouth. “We’re thrilled that so many graduate alumni, several years after graduating, are still pleased with the overall quality of their Dartmouth experience.”
In terms of career placement, Dartmouth graduate alums fare extremely well in comparison to the general population. Eighty-two percent of respondents are currently employed full-time, with 57% currently working in the education sector. Graduate alums are also productive scholars: of the respondents working in four-year educational institutions, more than 64% of graduate alums are on a tenure-track faculty appointment, with 52% of respondents having published seven or more refereed journal articles since graduating from Dartmouth.
Some of the recent awards and accolades that Dartmouth graduate alumni have received include the National Medal of Science (Marye Anne Fox, PhD, Chemistry), as well as numerous teaching and research grants and awards from such prestigious institutions as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, NASA, and the Fulbright Program. In June of 2011, Marye Anne Fox was also the first graduate alumnus in Dartmouth’s history to be elected to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees.
While the majority of graduate alums (80%) report that their academic experience at Dartmouth was ‘very good or excellent’, approximately half of the respondents felt that there is room for improvement in the development of career-focused skills such as managing people, budgets, and writing funding proposals.
“Many of the areas in which respondents expressed less enthusiastic support for—such as non-academic student life and non-academic career training—are areas that we have been aggressively targeting over the last few years by offering multiple workshops on professional development skills,” says Landers.
Brian Pogue, Dean of Graduate Studies, also commends the efforts currently being made to increase the satisfaction of graduate students at Dartmouth, both academically and non-academically. “Surveys such as this one allow us to recognize the areas in which we are already succeeding, while also helping us to identify opportunities for growth and improvement,” says Pogue.
by Erin E. O’Flaherty