Prior to the release of NACE’s First-Destination Survey Standards and Protocols, Hofstra University’s outcomes data collection efforts were fruitful.
The latest iteration is sent to students by the career center approximately two weeks prior to cap and gown pick up and computer banks are set up at the event. Completion of the survey is incentivized by earning “express passes” to move to the front of the line for the cap and gown pick up and with drawings for gift cards. The most recent survey and follow-up efforts—which consist of sending the survey via e-mail and making follow up phone calls for one year post-graduation—yielded a 67 percent response rate.
While the collection methods will remain the same, implementation of NACE’s First-Destination Survey Standards and Protocols has allowed the career services office to align their survey to national standards and restructure it.
“We looked at what we were calling things because the phrasing is different and the definitions of the college classes were not in sync, and we aligned ours with what the standards and protocols said,” says Suzanne Dagger, Hofstra’s director of career development and assessment. “We also made sure we are capturing data in the right categories, although we don’t have them all yet.”
Dagger said implementation of the First-Destination Survey Standards and Protocols gave Hofstra’s career center the opportunity to shorten the survey.
“The [standards and protocols] gave us the courage to have the conversation about what data we really need to get,” she says. “Many are fearful of changing their survey because it might upset someone. By having the guidelines from NACE, we were able to have the conversation about why we were asking certain questions, and if and how we use the data. We decided to shorten the survey and tighten it up.”
For schools just starting the process, Dagger recommends starting the conversation with institutional research and other key players on campus.
“Collaboration is key,” she says. “There are people on campus who have expertise in this area.”
She also recommends educating the administration and the campus community about the importance of the process.
“For us, this backs up everything we have been saying about the importance of data collection,” Dagger explains. “By having our national association release this, we can help our faculty and department of institutional research better understand that other schools are doing it the same way. It has created a more streamlined and efficient process for us.”