Several alumni surveys have been completed in recent months that have helped us gain significant insights on both our alumni services and your attitudes as graduates and former students. Surveys like these help us know where to adjust focus, and help ensure that the programs, events and services that we provide for you are worth our time (and budget) and yours!
Here are some highlights:
- Alumni want to be more involved. Those who live near Biola want to help with student mentorships, internships and career advice. Those at a distance want to provide networking for students who come to their areas.
- Alumni (especially young alumni) want the kind of professional networking that their peers in the best secular schools have.
- Alumni want to feel appreciated for more than just their pocketbooks.
- 96 percent of alumni from our online survey describe the quality of their education as good to outstanding, and 98 percent felt their education prepared them for their chosen career.
And, when it comes to giving back:
- Alumni are surprised that more alumni don't give back to Biola (about 12 percent of alumni give back each year) and many have asked why giving percentages aren't higher.
- Alumni are passionate about supporting scholarships and faculty salaries, especially in the programs from which they graduated.
- Alumni understand the need for more classrooms and dorm space, but want to make sure we are taking care of students' financial needs first.
So, why aren't more alumni giving back? We're not really sure! Our data suggests that only a few alumni consider school loans to be a challenge to supporting their alma mater. Others have expressed an interest in hearing more about the university's needs before giving. And some say they aren't in a position to help due to the economy. If something is holding you back from supporting Biola, I would encourage you to email me. If there is more that your alumni office can and should be doing to better communicate with you, I'd like to know!
So, what are we doing with the ton of data we have gathered from you? Well, for starters:
We are working with academic departments to create internships and career advisement that, with your involvement, will help new grads and other alumni find employment.
- We are making changes to better serve your needs. Over the summer, we launched a new alumni online directory with more than 7,000 active alumni email addresses. (Find it at biola.edu/alumni.) If you have taken a few minutes to check it out, you know how easy it is to keep your information current and help provide a resource directory for fellow alumni.
- We are building a stronger sense of Biola pride in our current students. That begins by telling stories of alumni — like you — who have come before and overcome difficult situations to accomplish much for the Kingdom.
- We are examining affordability, training students about debt and increasing our efforts to raise scholarship support.
- We are creating more opportunities for alumni involvement, from academic advice to service projects. We want you to continue to serve with us in preparing future generations of Biolans.
My special thanks to all of you who have completed a survey in recent months. Watch your mail and email for opportunities to serve with us here at Biola! Together, we are … Alumni for Life!