IR and Career Services, a Natural Partnership

Collaborating on Graduate Outcomes

Gina Johnson, Strategy Director for IR Capacity Initiatives, AIR and Marilyn Mackes, Executive Director, NACE

Measurement of student outcomes can take many forms in higher education; from satisfaction surveys to formal assessment measures of growth. One measurement tool used by many institutions is administration of a First Destination Survey to capture where students head post-graduation. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has led the way in developing a set of standards and protocols for collecting graduate outcomes. Institutional research professionals appreciate the need for data standards to ensure comparable data across institutions and enhance the usability of the data for analysis and decision making. Combining the knowledge and expertise of career services professionals with the data collection and analytical skills of IR professionals is a natural collaboration that improves the entire First Destination Survey process.

Collaboration among IR and career services professionals is occurring at institutions across the country. In its 2015 National Survey of IR Offices, AIR found that 49% of individual IR offices provided data, information, or analysis to career services and an additional 38% provided consultation. In 2015 NACE conducted a survey of its membership around the topic of first destination data collection and found that 41% of survey respondents reported collaborating with their institution’s IR office on the development of their First Destination Survey and 33% collaborated with IR on every phase of the process, including development, distribution, and analysis.

With the goal of increasing the percentage of institutions reporting collaboration among IR and career services, NACE and AIR have developed a collaborative partnership of information sharing and advocacy to encourage the development of collaborative partnerships at the institutional and system level. At the invitation of AIR, NACE staff partnered with AIR and its members to present information on their first destination standards and protocols as well as First Destination Survey results at the AIR Forum in 2016. And on March 3, NACE has invited AIR to participate in a panel on collaborating on graduate outcomes at its 2017 Public Policy Forum taking place at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. At this Forum, AIR leadership and members will share the stage with peers from NACE to present methods for collaborating to improve the collection and use of first destination data. AIR members are encouraged to attend the NACE Public Policy Forum with their counterpart in career services or individually. To encourage participation, NACE has generously offered current AIR members the NACE member price for the event. Interested AIR members should contact Gina Johnson by email or phone at (850) 391-6663 to obtain the discount code. Registration can be accessed at this link.

For more information on the NACE First Destination Survey standards and protocols and best practices around the survey, please see the standards and protocols page on the NACE website. For information on the latest results of the annual First Destination Survey, please see the First Destination Survey: Class of 2015 page. For information on the AIR National Survey of IR Offices, please see the National Survey page on the AIR website.

For more information on the partnership between AIR and NACE related to the First Destination Survey, please contact Gina Johnson or Matthew Brink.




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Total Comments: 2
Mary Ann posted on 2/16/2017 2:39 PM
Glad to see this collaboration.
Mike posted on 2/16/2017 11:46 PM
I agree with Mary Ann's comment. I hope that both as individuals and as an association, IR will increasingly collaborate with non-IR offices and associations.

I've been thinking about attending the NACE conference precisely because of the Career Center-IR partnerships on campus and nationally. But there are plenty of other organizations and associations to reach out to.