What Students Gain from a Southern Education

The 2016 Alumni Survey showed 80% of alumni both live and work in Connecticut. Another 4% live in Connecticut.

88% of alumni are currently employed in a professional capacity. 80% of alumni indicated that they have higher paying jobs, advanced in their careers, or have rewarding jobs as a result of their experiences at Southern and their degrees.

14% of graduates found employment before they graduated, a total of 83% found employment within 9 months of graduation, and 90% found employment by the time of the 2016 Alumni Survey (the respondents had graduated within the last 5 years). 3% were not working for pay, 3% did not seek employment, and only 4% were still seeking employment.

Southern’s 2015-2025 Strategic Plan calls for preparing students to enhance the educational, political, environmental, economic, and health needs in the state of Connecticut and beyond. 67% of the respondents to the 2016 Alumni Survey indicated that they are doing so as part of their current employment.

Licensure exam pass rates are high. For example, the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Certification exam pass rate was 100%. For the Department of Communication Disorders, the licensure pass rate for each of the last five years has been 100%.

Potential employers are impressed with students’ professionalism. Every year, Southern holds a career fair in which employers meet with students. In 2014, 90% of the participating employers agreed that the students presented themselves professionally. Also, 98% agreed that they would recommend the SCSU Career Fair to other employers.

Employers highly rate graduates of Southern’s professional programs. Employers of graduates from certification programs commended the university on the well-preparedness of Southern graduates, according to the 2015 Employer Survey. Employers describe Southern graduates in positive terms. For example, one employer responding to the 2015 Employer Survey wrote, “I have had positive experiences when hiring professionals from SCSU, and would hire again graduates from SCSU.” Another wrote, “SCSU has a much-respected program for producing strong teachers; I am always very satisfied with their skill level.” Another employer noted that “In my experience, the SCSU graduates are well-prepared.” The Employer Survey elicited other high ratings. For example, employers rated Clinical Mental Health Counseling program graduates highly, with 93% agreeing graduates “demonstrate the competence to think through a problem and offer novel approaches to resolving it.” Employers’ satisfaction with the graduates of the Nursing Department provides additional evidence of the effectiveness of Southern’s professional programs. In response to the AACN EBI Employer Assessment, employers have noted that graduates are well prepared for practice and have a great sense of the “real world” of nursing; they also noted the benefits of the capstone clinical experience and how this learning experience enhances students’ transition from the student role to the graduate nurse role, and the effective use of standardized HESI testing within the curriculum in preparing graduates for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.

Graduates of certification programs find employment in their fields. According to the School of Education’s 2015 Alumni Survey, for example, 79% were employed in the field of education, 12% were employed outside the field, 4% were in graduate school, 1% were not employed and not currently seeking employment; only 4% were not employed and seeking employment. Graduates’ current employment is usually related to their SCSU degrees. 72% of 2014 Alumni Survey respondents indicated that their current employment is related to their SCSU degree and 75% of 2016 Alumni Survey respondents said they were employed in a job that is related or closely related to their SCSU degree.

Alumni surveys also show that recent recipients of undergraduate degrees tend to continue their education, a metric of the success of the university. For example, according to the 2016 Alumni Survey, 66% of respondents who received an undergraduate degree were attending/ed graduate school. This is all the more remarkable considering the university’s high percentage of first-generation college students.

Graduates tend to recommend SCSU to prospective students. According to the 2016 Alumni Survey, 86% recommended the university to at least one prospective student.

The results of the 2015 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) showed that Southern first-year students had nonchance higher scores than students throughout the country who participated in NSSE during 2014 and 2015 as well as peers in Connecticut in terms of higher-order learning, reflective and integrative learning, discussions with diverse others, and student-faculty interaction. The quality of SCSU interactions for NSSE 2015 freshman was greater than 5% points versus Connecticut peer institutions in the areas of “Helping you manage your non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.),” “Attending campus activities and events (performing arts, athletic events, etc.),” and “Attending events that address important social, economic, or political issues.” The seniors scored higher than the NSSE sample and Connecticut peers in terms of learning strategies and discussions with diverse others. The quality of SCSU interactions for NSSE 2015 seniors was 5% points or greater versus Connecticut peer institutions in the areas of “Helping you manage your non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)” and “Encouraging contact among students from different backgrounds (social, racial/ethnic, religious, etc.).”