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Facilitating and Realizing the Benefit
of Tracking Your Alumni
(Beyond Initial Placement)
Maia Bergman
Shelly Conner, Ph.D.
Merle Feldbaum
John Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Rackham Institutional Research
November 8, 2013
Why is Tracking your
Alumni Important?
• Are you meeting the goals of your program?
– Curriculum, Future directions, Skills
• How do you market your program?
– Attract future students, Options
• What value can your alumni add?
– Resources for your program
Rackham Graduate School
• University of Michigan (U-M) has 19 Schools & Colleges
• Rackham programs in 18 Schools & Colleges
– 108 Ph.D. programs » 5,200 students » 800 graduates
– 87 Master’s programs » 3,000 students » 2,100 graduates
• Home to half of graduate or professional students
* U-M is decentralized
* Rackham is not the major funding source for
graduate fellowships, research or teaching appointments
Process Logistics
• Limited to Ph.D. graduates
– Started in 1999 with 1 year of graduates
– Gradually moved to collecting 5 years
– Mandated to moved to 10 years in one year
Process Logistics
• Create the list of graduates
– Central warehouse and Rackham database
• Access table
– Limited Student Data, PhD. Chair, Employment
• Create and share program-specific files in excel
• Leverage existing relationships between Ph.D.
programs and their alumni
Facilitate the Collection Process
• Graduate School produces a template file listing the
recent Ph.D. graduates (see handout):
– Student’s name
– Degree Conferral Date
– Dissertation Chair or Co-Chairs
– Program’s reported job from last year
• Consistent format for data re-integration in Access
Facilitate the Collection Process
• Consistent timing for data request
• Send strategies and tips for completing template:
– Clear Instructions and Definitions
– Subset to Faculty
– Designate Someone to be Responsible
– Web searches and Social Media
– Direct contact with Alumni
Facilitate the Collection Process
• Create incentives by using the data:
– Graduate Deans discuss it with Department
– Ph.D. Program Statistics public website
• Clear expectation for annual participation
• Hold programs accountable
UM Ph.D. Placement Outcomes (2013):
Select points in Time after Completing
No Placement
Other Employment
Tenure Track
Post-doc Fellow
Benefit of Tracking Your Alumni
Beyond Initial Placement
• Reporting to funding agencies
• Independent validation of achieving the
program's goals
 Important student outcome
 Curriculum
 Skills training
Benefit of Tracking Your Alumni
Beyond Initial Placement
• Marketing for your program
– Recruit future students
– Diverse options for your graduates
– Showcase alumni in newsletter
Benefit of Tracking Your Alumni
Beyond Initial Placement
• Alumni can be resources for your program
– Recruiters and Ambassadors
– Field experts (portfolio review)
– Mentors (students, internships)
– Program advisory board (future directions)
– Fundraising
– Create and maintain an eCommunity
Thank You !!
[email protected]

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