Survey of alumni finds university exemplary in educational satisfaction

Graduates pleased with multiple aspects of majors, careers
July 19, 2021

University of Wisconsin-Stout was one of only two universities ranked exemplary in educational satisfaction in the National Alumni Career Mobility Survey.

This means the university ranked highly with alumni surveyed on the marketability of their majors, career mentoring, career preparation and alumni affinity with the university.

NACM collected career pathway data from mid-November 2020 to mid-January 2021. The survey sought career satisfaction feedback and insights from alumni who completed a bachelor’s degree in 2010 and 2015. The data will be used to help institutions better understand the professional pathways of graduates and prepare future alumni for continued and improved career success.

Bryan Barts photo
Bryan Barts / UW-Stout photo

“We wanted to learn more about our alumni’s career success, their career pathways and overall engagement with the university,” said Career Services Director Bryan Barts.

Some takeaways from the survey include:

  • More than 50% indicated UW-Stout helped them create a plan for their career overall.
  • More than 60% reported UW-Stout helped them envision their career options and network with employers.
  • More than 70% said the university helped them understand their career opportunities.

“The university has made it a priority in academic programs and support services to help students be successful in their career planning, process and professional development opportunities,” Barts said. “This just helps strengthen what we have already said.”

Reflection of value’

“It’s a reflection of the value that alumni see in the multiple areas of campus that focus on their next step,” Barts said.

Kori Klaustermeier, a hotel, restaurant and tourism management alumna, was not surprised to hear UW-Stout did well on educational satisfaction.

Kori Klaustermeier photo
Kori Klaustermeier / Photo courtesy Kori Klaustermeier

Klaustermeier, a Boyceville native who participated in the survey, works at Hilton hotel’s Revenue Management Consolidated Center based in Dallas, Texas, as a Project Manager on the Performance Support team. She analyzes data to support efforts in boosting hotel revenue performance and increase efficiency across the department. She started working at Hilton a few weeks after she graduated in December 2015.

“I worked with Career Services and did a lot of resume review and interview preparation before the Hilton interview,” she said. “My professors were so helpful. Hilton is the best hospitality corporation in the world, and I wanted to work at the best company.”

While at UW-Stout, Klaustermeier worked as a tutor in the Writing Center and at the Physical Plant as an accounting assistant, both giving her experience she has used at Hilton.

She also completed two internships while at UW-Stout, at the reservation office of Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells and in food and beverage at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior in Lutsen, Minn.


Meridith Wentz photo
Meridith Wentz / UW-Stout photo

Klaustermeier loves working in the hospitality industry. “Everyone is so open, kind and service-oriented,” she said. “It’s a fabulous industry to be in, and my position is also able to be truly analytical with a project-based mindset.”

The latest annual employment report by Career Services found that 97.8% of recent graduates found full-time jobs or continued their education soon after graduating.

Ensuring graduates are prepared

Meridith Wentz, assistant chancellor and director of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality, said data is collected on alumni to ensure graduates are prepared to succeed in the workplace and beyond.

“UW-Stout's strong educational-satisfaction ratings don't surprise me; after all, we have a history of collecting data, sharing it with stakeholders and using it to improve the student experience, academic programs and applied learning experiences,” Wentz said. “These high satisfaction ratings reflect our focus on innovation and continuous improvement. For example, through the strategic planning process, Stout set a goal that 100% of our graduates have an applied learning experience prior to graduation, and we've now met that ambitious goal.

“In today’s environment where the pandemic impacts everyone, we need comparative data to put experiences at UW-Stout in the context of experiences at other institutions of higher education and to help us assess where we excel and where more work may be needed,” Wentz said.

NACM logo
NACM logo / Logo courtesy of the Career Leadership Collective

Career Services offers the Cooperative Education and Internship Program, which supports UW-Stout’s polytechnic designation by providing students the opportunity to experience an active and applied focus on learning in their professional field. The program started in 1982 and has grown to one of the largest in the country with more than 1,000 students enrolled annually who work at more than 600 employer sites.

Career Services also offers two Career Conferences each year. The Fall Career Conference will take place both in-person and virtually Monday, Sept. 27, through Friday, Oct. 1. The in-person career fair will take place in the Memorial Student Center. The Career Conferences are open to UW-Stout students, alumni, faculty and staff. Employers recruit students and alumni for professional positions and co-op and internship opportunities.

UW-Stout partnered with the Career Leadership Collective, a higher education solutions group, and more than 40 other universities to conduct a national online survey of two groups of alumni.

Along with Career Services, supporting the survey effort at UW-Stout were the Alumni Association; Learning and Information Technology; and PARQ.

The Career Leadership Collective provides advisory and data services to assist campuses in building capacity around career development effectiveness. The National Alumni Career Mobility Survey is the group’s signature survey. 

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