Purdue releases its first alumni results as part of Gallup-Purdue Index

September 26, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - President Mitch Daniels on Friday (Sept. 26) released the first results of a survey of Purdue University alumni based on the national Gallup-Purdue Index.

Results of the survey of nearly 20,000 alumni who graduated between 1975 and 2014 were presented to the Board of Trustees as part of a report on student intellectual growth and achievement.

Among the results, the survey found that 39 percent of Purdue alumni strongly agreed that Purdue prepared them well for life. That is well above the 27 percent for graduates from all universities surveyed earlier by the Gallup-Purdue Index.

GPI was designed to measure the most important outcomes of higher education – great careers and lives that matter – and provide higher education leaders with productive insights for meaningful performance improvements.

The initiative aims to create a national movement toward a new set of measures, created by and for higher education, and to help foster a new level of accountability for the sector.

Last spring, nearly 30,000 U.S. college graduates were surveyed to establish national averages on key areas, including well-being, engagement at work and college debt.

Universities then can do corresponding surveys, using the national data as a benchmark.

"Our survey gives us a measure of how Boilermakers are doing in life," Daniels said. "We are pleased that Purdue compares favorably in many areas, including the important aspects of well- being. But we also know we can improve in all areas, and now we have the benchmarks to tell us where to concentrate our efforts."

Purdue graduates rank above the average of all colleges - public and private - in all areas of well-being: 57 percent for purpose, compared with 48 percent nationally; 52 percent for social, compared with 46 percent; 51 percent for financial, compared with 37 percent; 50 percent for community, compared with 43 percent; and 40 percent for physical, compared with 32 percent.

The number of respondents who indicated a very strong emotional attachment to their alma mater is far higher among Purdue graduates, at 30 percent, than for all college graduates, at 18 percent.

"I didn't need Gallup's researchers for this one," Daniels said. "Talking with thousands of our alums had already shown me that Boilermakers are a loyal and grateful bunch."

In the areas of university practices that help prepare them for life outside college, Purdue graduates reported more internships or jobs, 36 percent, compared with 31 percent for all colleges; and more participation in extracurricular activities, 28 percent compared with 21 percent. 

Other data reveal room for improvement. Sixty percent of Purdue graduates surveyed strongly agreed that they had a professor who excited them about learning, compared with 64 percent nationally; 17 percent strongly agreed that they had a professor who cared about them as a person, compared with 27 percent nationally; and 17 percent strongly agreed that they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams compared with 23 percent nationally.

Daniels also said the survey results validate Purdue Moves initiatives centered on transforming education to provide more opportunities for students to engage with the university and to take part in practices that will benefit them both at Purdue and once they graduate.

The Purdue Alumni GPI results are based on the responses of 19,825 alumni who graduated from Purdue between 1975 and 2014. They were surveyed by Internet over the summer. The national GPI survey was conducted via Internet last February with 29,560 respondents.

Results based on the national sample have a margin of error plus or minus 1.3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Brent Drake, chief data officer, Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness, 765-496-2600, bmdrake@purdue.edu

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