The Psychology Division, with support from the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Western Oregon University’s Alumni Association, sponsored a survey of recent alumni. We mailed a short survey to all Psychology majors who graduated Western Oregon University between the years of 1995 - 2000. In all 378 surveys were mailed and 124 were returned (a response rate of 33%). A summary highlighting the results of the survey is provided below. For more detailed results, please scroll down to view the survey questions and responses.
83% of respondents indicated they are currently working for pay.
60% of the respondents who were currently working indicated they were working in the fields of social service or education.
66% of respondents indicated they are making between $20,000 and $40,000.
33% of the respondents indicated they are either in the process of or have completed a Master's degree.
We asked alumni how satisfied they were with various aspects of the program. On the positive side, 94% of respondents indicated they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of instruction they received. Only 48% of respondents, however, indicated that they were satisfied/very satisfied with their preparation for entering the job market. The Division is in the process of planning several actions to try change the latter result. First, Psychology Club is planning to sponsor a Career Forum. This Forum will bring back WOU Psychology alumni to talk about their career experiences in relationship to the Psychology program (43% of alumni surveyed indicated they would be willing to do this). Second, we plan to stress to our majors that their college education is not necessarily specific job training, but an opportunity for them to develop broad-based competencies that will serve them well no matter what their profession.
Now it just so happens, that we asked respondents what impact the Psychology program had on their development of a number of these broad-based competencies. The results showed that, for each competency, at least three quarters of the respondents indicated that the Psychology program had some or a great impact on the development of that competency.
Overall, we are very pleased with the results of the survey. We are continuing to analyze the data for ideas of how to make the Psychology program stronger. For example, a number of respondents indicated that applied experiences were very important in their development. Consequently, we are considering the possibility of making practicum mandatory in some fashion.
Coincidentally, the alumni survey itself has given us the opportunity to provide students with practical experience in the process of program assessment. Two psychology students have been very involved in the process of preparing the mailing as well as entering and analyzing the data. As a result of their involvement, these students will be presenting some of these results at the 2002 Western Psychological Association (WPA) conference. More detailed results are provided below.