UT Martin alumni interviews show areas of success, need
Contact 1: Erin Chesnut
MARTIN, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee at Martin recently received results from phase two of a study of the perceptions and experiences of UT Martin alumni and current students conducted by Gallup Inc.
UT Martin partnered with Gallup Inc. in 2016 to begin the project, and phase one dealt with the quantitative results of 2,623 alumni surveys completed from August to September of that year. That study showed UT Martin alumni to have an attachment to their alma mater surpassing the national average in many categories, including faculty support and academic rigor.
Phase two, conducted in May and June 2017, focused on qualitative answers from 20 phone interviews with alumni who graduated between 2011 and 2016, including both traditional and non-traditional students.
This phase focused on five research areas: academic rigor, student-faculty relationships, undergraduate internship and research opportunities, preparedness for post-graduation life and considerations for making post-graduation decisions.
The majority of alumni interviewed described their UT Martin professors as caring and willing to work with students. They discussed the small-town feel of the school and local area and said this atmosphere helped foster strong relationships with faculty mentors who showed interest in both their academic and personal success.
These interviews also revealed opportunities to further enrich UT Martin’s academic programs. Areas of discussion will include career support services, access to career-relevant internship opportunities, and the relevance of core academic classes to graduate school and career options.
UT Martin has already addressed some of these issues with the creation of the Office of Career Planning and Development, now almost a year old. This office is funded through the Soar in Four program, which encourages students to graduate in four years, and is designed to help students make educated career decisions, gain relevant work experience before graduation, and learn valuable skills such an interview tactics, salary negotiation and job-search strategies.
Phase three of this project will turn the focus toward the perceptions and experiences of current students, and a survey will be released later in the year to gather this data.
For more information on this survey, or to see full demographic information for the response pools from phase one or two, contact Charley Deal, associate vice chancellor of alumni relations, at 731-881-7610.