As the ISE department sets its sights on an exciting future, it turns to its past for guidance
The ISE department’s goal in 2015 and beyond is to expand the scope of our research, education and partnerships. The need to enhance relationships with alumni both home and abroad is a leading priority. So last fall we launched an alumni survey initiative to rekindle ties with our graduates and gather critical intelligence. Your feedback is already helping to guide our communications efforts and strategic planning. It is also shaping our future fundraising development efforts.
In September 2014, we distributed the online survey via email to our 3,167 registered alumni. You provided answers and commentary to many questions about how to best connect with you, our current and future alumni.
The survey remained open through NC State’s Homecoming weekend. Attendees at the ISE Homecoming event on November 7th had an opportunity to complete the survey on-site at the McKimmon Center. As an incentive, those who completed the survey had their name entered in a random drawing to win one of two iPad Minis. See the sidebar at the end of the article for the winners’ names.
We saw a 38% open rate and ended up receiving almost 400 completed responses. That is over 12 percent of the total alumni database. The following are the highlights of your insight and feedback:
- An overwhelming 95% of you preferred that we communicate with you via email vs. mail.
- Leading sources of departmental news
- You ranked the eNewsletter (53%) as your leading source of department news. The ISE website ranked 2nd with 47% and inGear Magazine finished 3rd at 29%.
- LinkedIn (16%) outranked Facebook (12%) as the primary social media platform. You expressed nominal interest in following ISE on Twitter.
- Faculty and programs were the top picks for continued investments that you would like ISE to make to better the school. Scholarships ranked third.
- Homecoming (42%) was the clear frontrunner as the ISE event most preferred to reconnect with fellow graduates and faculty. Our Distinguished Alumni Awards luncheon and semi-annual Engineering Career Fairs tied for a distant second at 32%.
- We were happy to learn that most respondents were proud to be part of the ISE family. But there was frank feedback as well. While 40% of you felt a connection to ISE, 26% were neutral and the final third felt disconnected to the department.
- Many expressed the desire for expanded ISE communication beyond just annual fundraising outreach. You cited a need for more alumni interaction opportunities. This was especially true for those living outside of North Carolina.
We would like to thank everyone for your constructive and enlightening input. It has helped to illuminate the opportunities for ISE to better inform and engage ISE alumni everywhere.
ISE is already putting into motion many initiatives in response to survey feedback.
Enhanced online access in real time to ISE events such as Homecoming and graduation will bring the ISE family closer. Our recent December gradation was live-streamed and is viewable in archives on the ISE website. We plan to deliver more frequent email updates and expanded alumni profiles. There will be a focus on regional and even international ISE professional and social gatherings. This will create enhanced networking while raising awareness of ISE advancements and accomplishments. We want to show off the personalities that make up the global ISE community. Our inGear Magazine will now come out quarterly and we will be reaching out to more of you to feature your successes in each issue.
There will also be a renewed focus on building new opportunities for you to interact with ISE and other alumni. This will include workshops, webinars, industry showcases, mentorship and workplace engagement. We will increase direct interaction with ISE faculty, board members and corporate partners. Based on your feedback, we will be expanding the ISE LinkedIn presence and invite you to network with us as we target a goal of 1000 followers by year-end. You can join our LinkedIn group at www.ise.ncsu.edu/linkedin. This will provide an easy way for you to network with fellow alumni as well as other industrial engineers.
The ISE website will continue to grow in content and functionality. Our goal is to be a comprehensive source of news and information for our alumni, faculty, students and industry partners.
Thanks to the alumni who completed the survey and gave us their unfiltered perspective on how we’re doing and how we can improve. We hope to strengthen ISE alumni family ties around the world and provide new, more effective ways for you to contribute to our mutual success.
A special congratulations to survey respondents Toni Bulla of Plano, Tex, and Barbara Powers of Tampa, Fla, the winners of the two iPad Minis.