Alumni Feedback and On-Line Survey
The School also relies on unsolicited student and alumni comments about our academic program and its impact on individuals’ postgraduate careers. Our alumni often contact individual faculty members about current interests and achievements. The UA Anthropology Alumni Survey (administered in October and November 2010) was emailed to 218 undergraduate students who graduated between 2003-2010. Forty responses were received (18% response rate). Respondents could mark more than one answer in all cases. We are pleased that both our graduating seniors and alumni generally express satisfaction with the Anthropology undergraduate academic program. They (82%) report that they use skills (problem solving, writing, information-research, analysis, synthesis and evaluation) they acquired as an Anthropology student often, frequently or every day. more than 50% of the respondents are pursuing graduate and professional training in several fields including Law, Medicine, Public Health and Anthropology. An additional 42% identify themselves as working Anthropologists in a range of positions in the non-higher education setting such as working for non-profits, international corporations, teaching K-12 and ESL, tourism, diplomacy.)
Former students use e-mail messages, letters, telephone calls, and one-on-one interactions to provide qualitative information about the effectiveness of the Undergraduate Student Program in the context of their postgraduate lives. In Fall 2010, 40 recent graduates (2003-2010) completed an alumni survey about their Anthropology experience at the University of Arizona.
Areas of concern have been: a) improvements in curriculum; b) more opportunities for research and professional training earlier in undergraduates’ careers; c) increased scholarships and research awards; d) enhanced special events; and e) access to computers and lounge space in the Haury building. Students suggested improvements that now are integrated into the Senior Capstone in Anthropology course. This course has two components: first, formal presentations as part of the School of Anthropology Lecture Series and informal talks by guest speakers to provide academic content and promote lively discussions to encourage individualized anthropological worldviews; and second, discussion of students' pathways and goals to promote their respective personal, scholarly, and professional development. Advanced students proposed a lower-division “foundations” course to encourage early development of anthropological perspectives in a manner that will captivate beginning students. Students requested an increase in the number of the four required, lower-division “core” course offerings. Students suggested that the School enhance communications about opportunities for out-of-classroom research and professional training. Students requested more funding for scholarship and research awards. The few undergraduate students who participated in special events requested that we attract more students. Events include presentations about writing grants and applying for scholarships and research awards, searching for careers that use anthropology, applying to graduate degree programs, and planning finances for the future (in addition to the above-mentioned museum event). Students wanted information about the Undergraduate Student program to be more accessible.
Changes Made on Basis of Findings
· Development of 14 online courses to increase flexibility and access to desired upper division elective courses. Courses began going live in 2009.
· Offering required courses in the summer sessions as well as in fall and spring semesters.
· Planning and implementation of a B.S. in Anthropology with an option in Archaeological Sciences or Human Biology. Enrollment began in Fall 2010.
Offering an increased number of 300-level and 400-level courses.
· Organization of information by website addresses and increasing the amount of information posted in the School and transmitted via e-mail messages.
· Improved communication with students about these activities by using all available resources in the Advising Office. Social receptions for students and faculty members have been held during the fall semesters with increased numbers of both students and faculty members this year.
· Improvements allowing the Advising Office to become a more effective communication /information center. New furniture and lighting create a more student-friendly place. New computers and other technical equipment enable more efficient ways to contact students and to help them to achieve their academic and personal goals as they negotiate their individual pathways through a large, Research I university.
· Computers in the Advising Office for allowing immediate student access to UAccess.
· Addition of new funds and finding ways to maximize the return of existing funds. The Director of the School and UGSPAB have collectively been remarkably successful in adding funds to the School’s scholarship and research awards for students.
· Varying emphases on discussions of subfield topics, written and oral presentations, and investigations of career opportunities. Assessment tools that are embedded in course activities and centered on learning outcomes are planned.
· Outreach Committee formed to investigate and identify internship opportunities.
· Addition of comfortable seating and tables in the ground floor lobby for undergraduate students to hangout or work
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