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Retrospective research canvasses alumni


BY SUSAN ROSENBERG


SKIDMORE GRADUATES CALL their college experience “life-changing,” “too expensive,” “the highlight of my life” … and a lot more. Those are just a few keywords abstracted from the 2010 Alumni Learning Census results. With the 2011 survey now being conducted, Scope talked with professor Sarah Goodwin, Skidmore’s assessment coordi- nator, about the early-stage research.


The 2010 questionnaire went to all reachable alumni with class years ending in 1 or 6, and of the 4,742 online and paper surveys sent out, 545 were completed, for a respectable 11.5% return rate. Goodwin says, “First, I was pleased to see that alumni are so satisfied with some areas of their education that we also emphasize: writing well, communicating ideas confidently, developing a lifelong com- mitment to learning, and learning a subject in depth. These corre- spond very nicely with our teaching goals.” Those skills and attitudes were among 34 that alumni were asked to rank in two areas: by im- portance to their lives, and by how much those attributes were en- hanced by the Skidmore experience.


Overall, responses were strongly positive. Three of the top five items in importance—effective writing, lifelong learning, and respon- sibility for one’s own learning—were also in the top five for having been enhanced by Skidmore. Their average score was just over 4 on a


Skills & Abilities Developed at Skidmore: Top 5 in Rank Order on “Enhanced by Skidmore”


1 Appreciate the Arts Write Effectively


Develop a Commitment to Lifelong Learning


Take Responsibility for My Own Learning


Learn a Subject at a Deep Level


4.1 4.6 4.1 4.6 4.1 4.3 4.1 26 SCOPE WINTER 2010 2


3 45 Importance


Enhanced by Skidmore


4.4 4.4


4.7


Skills & Abilities Developed at Skidmore: Lowest 5 in Rank Order on “Enhanced by Skidmore”


1


Work with People of Different Cultures


Communicate Visually


Apply Scientific Principles and Methods


Maintain Healthy Living Habits


Use Quantitative Tools to Solve Problems


2.9 3.5 2.8 2


3 45 Importance


Enhanced by Skidmore 4.3 3.2 3.9 3.2 3.5 3.2 4.4


HAL MAYFORTH ’75


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