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Drive to Twenty Five Placement rate of graduates report

Placement rate of graduates report


To define, understand, and if required, improve the placement rate of WSU undergraduates


Currently, no central unit or system is responsible for the collection of data related to the placement rate of undergraduates after graduation Washington State University. Individual departments, schools and colleges use various methods to gather this data. There appears to be wide variation in the types of data collected, process used to collect that data, and data reported. This is true for internal activity, as well as activity external to WSU. To better understand the needs of WSU regarding the placement rate of undergraduates after graduation, we will seek to answer the following questions:

  • What processes and applications are in place at WSU to determine the placement rate of graduates?
  • Which WSU units are effectively gathering graduate placement rate data?
  • Which WSU academic units have an elevated rate of success in the placement of their graduates?
  • What criteria (definition of) should be used to measure the placement rate of graduates for WSU?
  • What processes are most effective in gathering graduate placement information?
  • What are other universities doing to gather graduate placement data?
  • Which universities are effectively gathering graduate placement data?
  • Which universities have an elevated rate of success in the placement of their graduates?

These questions must be addressed before next step recommendations are offered, as we do not have a clear understanding if our current practice is satisfactory or needs improvement.


As we do not have a clear understanding of the practice, definition, or system wide results. The activities to achieve the stated goal will take place in four phases:

PHASE I       

Completed by June 2018

  1. Survey WSU units that currently collect graduate placement data
    1. Design survey questions
    2. Set up the questionnaire in Qualtrics
    3. Survey all academic departments/colleges and non-academic units (e.g. ASCC, Alumni Relations), and campuses
    4. Gather samples of current exit surveys
    5. Ask Associate Deans for Undergraduate Education to appoint a coordinator for the college to follow up with non-respondents
    6. Summarize results from the survey and share with the action group
    7. Follow up with units identified as capturing placement data well
  2. Identify and review the published graduate placement rate on university websites within our identified peer-grouping
    1. Review the IEC Peer List of Universities
    2. Locate the published data reported by peer institutions
    3. Determine the rate of graduate response to data collection efforts
    4. Determine the success of each institution in placing graduates
    5. Identify universities with high institutional graduate placement rates
    6. Identify universities with high graduate response rates
    7. Contact universities with high response and placement rates to understand the process used to collect data and the factors deemed important by institutional representatives that resulted in high graduate placement rate for that institution
  3. Review National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
    1. Compare graduate placement rates reported on a national level
    2. Identify a national average for response and placement rates
    3. Identify universities with high response and placement rates
    4. Contact a sub-set of those universities with high response and placement rates
    5. Evaluate the First Destination Survey suggested for use by NACE
  4. Interview stakeholders to identify the outcomes we want to understand
    1. Develop interview questions
    2. Interview
      1. WSU Leadership/Administration
      2. IR
      3. WSU Colleges/Departments (accrediting bodies)
      4. Others (State agencies such as WASAC, WSCTC, etc.)
  5. Contact institutional research units at our IEC peer institutions
    1. Request a copy of the First Destination Surveys they may use to determine their graduate placement rate.
PHASE II              

Completed by December 2018                                                                                 

  1. Compile findings and develop recommendations and strategies to gather graduate placement data
    1. Definition of WSU Placement Rate data (examples)
      1. Employment
      2. Continuing Education
      3. Raising a family
      4. Service
    2. Tools for data collection (examples)
      1. Third party EMSI
      2. 12/Twenty
      3. Gallop
      4. NSSE
      5. Education Programs Support Services (EPSS)
      6. Handshake first destination survey tool: Integration with Handshake’s platform claims to increase response rates by using the student’s job application history to reduce completion time. Reports comply with NACE requirements.
        1. All of these solutions require an investment to purchase and operationalize
    3. Tactics including timeline for data collection (examples)
      1. First Destination Survey should be a graduation requirement for graduating seniors
    4. Development of the First Destination Survey
    5. Stakeholder (i.e. faculty, staff, administrators) review of the survey
      1. Revise the First Destination Survey based on feedback from stakeholders
    6. Propose the First Destination Survey as a graduation requirement to Faculty Senate (Spring 2018).
      1. If approved as a graduation requirement, add the new requirement to the Catalog (Spring/Summer 2018).
      2. Launch First Destination Survey to graduating seniors for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.

Completed by June 2019

  1. Implement university-wide graduate placement rate data gathering strategy
    1. Ensure that academic units have flexibility in the data to be gathered
  2. Identify a central unit to coordinate data gathering activity
  3. Gather data
    1. The First Destination Survey will be deployed to graduating seniors approximately 4 weeks prior to the end of the term.
    2. Contract with SESRC to initiate a follow up survey approximately 4 months after the end of the term.
      1. Survey will be sent to recent graduates who completed the First Destination Survey but didn’t have employment/destination information at the time of the initial survey.
  4. Compare our graduate placement data to Phase I Action Steps 1, 2, & 3

Completed by January 2020

If determined from data collected that improvement is required

  1. Implement strategies identified in Phase I Action Steps 1, 2 & 3
    1. Tactics for placement of graduates (examples)
      1. Advisory boards populated with executives from industry
Phase I Establish a WSU system-wide standard for graduate placement rate data and possess adequate data to inform Phase II.
Phase II Develop a clear definition of and plan for gathering graduate placement rate data for the WSU system.
Phase III Possess graduate placement rate data for the WSU system.
Phase IV If Phase III data determines that improvement is required based on the standard of
graduate placement rate data in Phase I, develop and implement strategies to improve graduate placement rate data.

Efforts should be centralized and properly resourced for the collection and distribution of data. For example, WSU could develop a common data set for placement information since many academic programs collect similar information often for accreditation processes and the diversity of the campus. Programs and campuses submit graduate data to the common data set that is used for institutional reporting and still maintain the ability to collect specific data for their needs. A central process for all students could be developed so that it is only sent to students who are not having data submitted via a program or campus.

Governance would be established for the collection of data so that all efforts are coordinated and non- duplicative. For example, the graduation process in myWSU could include items to survey students before graduation about their placement to facilitate data collection. Specific program or campus needs could then follow up and only ask students to submit missing data for their needs.


At the conclusion of the Action Plan, success will be measured by a clearly stated definition of graduate placement rate at WSU, a clear standard of measure, and a rate that meets or exceeds that standard.