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Your Alma Mater is listening

Monday, June 6, 2016
Alumni talking to each other and filling out a survey.

Alumni Attitude Survey reveals strong alumni loyalty, but also identifies areas for improvement

by Sharon Jones Schweitzer '75

The University has long touted that the Trinity experience – steeped in the traditional liberal arts – instills critical thinking and reasoning skills, while developing strong communication and presentation abilities. Thus it should come as no surprise that Trinity alumni hold strong opinions, especially when it comes to their alma mater. The results of a national survey of alumni perceptions, attitudes, experiences, and opinions conducted last fall revealed that Trinity alumni are fiercely loyal to the University, but also have expectations that the value or equity of their degrees is improving over time.

Trinity's office of Alumni Relations participated in the Alumni Attitude Study (AAS), a national, multi-college research study in fall 2015, to develop a deeper understanding of what alumni value and to learn how the University might better engage alumni. For Trinity 18,449 surveys were delivered and 1,086 responses were received for an overall response rate of 5.8 percent. "We are very grateful to the alumni who participated in the survey," said Mary Kay Cooper, senior director of Alumni Relations. The demographic range of Trinity's respondents is representative of the University alumni base of 29,000 living alumni.

According to the survey, a majority of those who responded describe their experience as an alumnus/a as good to excellent.

Other key findings:

  • 95 percent rate their decision to attend Trinity as a good to great decision
  • 60 percent say they promote Trinity "regularly" or "all the time"
  • 92 percent of alumni highly regard their overall current opinion of Trinity as good to excellent
  • 95 percent describe their experience as a student as good to excellent

Alumni believe strongly that the education they received at Trinity prepared them most for "further graduate education" and "commitment to continuous education" or life-long learning. While a majority of alumni respondents have a positive opinion of Trinity, they also indicated areas where Trinity can work to improve, including:

  • Expanding Trinity's national profile. Alumni want to know that the value of their degree is greater to them today than the day they graduated and they want to understand what the University is doing to increase that value.
  • More alumni and alumni association involvement in improving the student experience and career mentoring.
  • Increased opportunities for alumni who live farther from campus to participate in virtual events.
  • Provide more opportunities to improve skills and career training for students.

The results of the Alumni Attitude Survey along with feedback Trinity president Danny Anderson received on his 22-chapter city Listening Tour will help Trinity build on its lifelong connections with alumni. "The survey results provide us with valuable feedback we can use to enhance current programs, services, and communication with a goal of engaging even more alumni with the University," said Cooper.

Sharon Jones Schweitzer '75 is assistant vice president for External Relations. You can follow her @sjschweitzer.