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New article in Change Magazine describes Graduate School data collection and analysis on career outcomes for Ph.D. alumni

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January 3, 2017

A new article in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, “Using Longitudinal Data on Career Outcomes to Promote Improvements and Diversity in Graduate Education,” reviews the data drawn from the WSU Graduate School’s intensive project in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Research to track career outcomes for doctoral alumni and apply this information to new data systems to benefit graduate students and programs.

The Student Lifecycle Project is a multi-phase data collection project that recorded the career outcomes of Ph.D. alumni over a 15-year window to understand the reality of where our Ph.D. alumni end up, with some surprising results both specific to WSU graduates and in line with national trends. While it is commonly assumed that a Ph.D. leads to a tenure track position at a research university, many post Ph.D. paths lead to industry, entrepreneurial, government and nonprofit careers. This information has implications for the design of new programs and adjusting existing ones to best support the career success and satisfaction of our students.

The goal of this process is to “ensure that all members of the graduate community have immediate and direct access to the information they need to make data-informed decisions,” according to authors Andrew L. Feig, Leah Robinson, Song Yan, Mark Byrd, and Ambika Mathur. The highly visual and interactive Data Dashboard is a portal to this information. This data centered approach broadens the perspective on graduate student success, “not just placing students into one career track, but rather having students feel that they accomplished (or are on track to accomplish) their own goals, whatever those may be.”

Download the full article or read online to learn more about this project’s process, outcomes and ongoing research.

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