NACE Journal, May 2020
The following recommendations are derived from the NACE April 14 Town Hall: Strategies for Collecting First-Destination Data During COVID-19. Download the video and transcript here.
Many institutions collect initial data from their students when they pick up their graduation cap and gown. That is not going to be an option with most spring 2020 graduates, who are likely to attend a virtual graduation or see their in-person graduation moved to later in the fall.
Leverage partnerships with other offices that capture data, such as Institutional Research and specific academic departments. Compare notes on how to shift strategies and gather the data together instead of sending out multiple, separate surveys.
Email your students with an electronic version of your survey. Put the survey behind a firewall so that students can provide that information securely.
Let students know you want to celebrate their successes to gain buy in. This could be through a social media campaign.
Consider how you can deploy your staff—possibly by shifting their hours—so that they can call students personally to gather data.
Be sensitive in your approach. Your messaging should be student-centric. For example, craft your message to emphasize career services is here to support the student in the job-search process and has resources and programs to help; you can position the request for their job-search information in that context. Collecting data should not be approached as a transaction, and that is especially true in the current environment.
Explain why you are collecting the data and how it benefits them and other students. For example, you may explain that the data can be used to help ensure the quality of the curriculum and that students get jobs in their chosen fields.