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1889 Impact Grant supports survey of recent graduates

career fair


The Center for Career and Professional Development is nearing completion of a survey of recent graduates and young alumni to determine where they landed after receiving their degrees from Western Carolina University. The $14,950 project was made possible by donors to the Fund for WCU.

The CCPD used funding from the Division of Advancement’s 1889 Impact Grants Program to outsource the project and purchase the Embark software package used to administer the First Destination Survey and additional questions from the National Alumni Career Mobility Survey. The project included development and distribution of the survey instrument, collection and cleaning of data, conducting a “data scape” for additional responses and creation of a virtual dashboard to display the data.

“This program was aimed at helping to find an easier way to collect first destination information about our recent graduates and young alumni,” said Theresa Cruz Paul, director of the Center for Career and Professional Development. “The university was spending significant time and human resources to manually collect this data, and this project helped to outsource this process to free up staff time, allowing our counselors to help prepare our students for their first job or graduate school search.”

Data from the First Destination Survey will be used by the CCPD, Division of Advancement, Office of Alumni Engagement and WCU’s academic colleges and departments to learn about what fields students enter upon obtaining their degrees and to build university connections with young alumni, Cruz Paul said.

“This information helps to provide data on employment trends, salary information and insights into the return on investment for our current students,” she said. “We are grateful to the donors to the Fund for WCU who made this project possible through the 1889 Impact Grants Program.”

Data from the survey will be shared with the university community later this semester.

Launched in 2021, the 1889 Impact Grants program is designed to provide a consistent source of funding for colleges and other units at WCU in support of initiatives that enhance the engagement of alumni and community stakeholders with the philanthropic activities of the university.

Funding for the program comes from annual contributions to the Fund for WCU, including leadership gifts from members of the 1889 Club, which recognizes donors for gifts made on an annual basis to the Fund for WCU. The club, among four giving societies established by the Division of Advancement to celebrate the impact of philanthropy on the institution, is named in honor of the year of WCU’s founding.

Eleven projects were selected to receive a total of $40,000 in grant funding during the program’s inaugural year.

Learn more about how the Fund for WCU and 1889 Impact Grants provided support for this project.

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