Survey ranks NIU grads as ‘well prepared’

By Leslie Rogers

A recent survey shows NIU graduates scoring high in the business community.

The NIU Public Opinion Laboratory conducted an Employer Evaluation Survey of 300 employers to help the university assess how well it is educating its students.

NIU Assessment Coordinator Ruth Gold said, “This survey is not a measure of the student’s abilities, but the employer’s perception of how NIU grads are holding up in the work force.”

Three groups of employers were sampled for the survey. The first group included principals who hired recent NIU graduates, while the second group included employers who frequently recruit NIU students.

The third group consisted of randomly selected businesses that did not recruit at NIU but had hired NIU students who recently had graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

Graduates were rated on general qualities, work habits and specific skills. A 10-point scale was used to rate the preparedness of NIU graduates to fulfill their job requirements.

The highest overall rating among the general qualities was the ability to relate to others, with a rating of 8.02 on a scale from one to 10. NIU graduates also scored high with employers on their ability to work independently and their ability to use modern technolgy. The lowest rating, 7.05, was for managerial or administrative abilities.

“It is understandable that managerial skills are lower. Recent baccalaureate grads will develop these over time,” Gold said.

The highest rated work habit was willingness to learn at 8.6, while the lowest rated was quality of work at 8.03.

“These statistics show students are well-prepared enough and motivated to learn,” Gold said. “One part of our university mission is to enable our students to become life-long learners.”

atings for specific skills showed that math or computational skills are the highest among NIU graduates. Writing skills ranked the lowest with employers.

The principals, recruiters and employers surveyed had an overall positive attitute about the NIU students they hired.

According to the survey, one principal stated, “I’m an NIU grad and I feel I was very well prepared. I’m assistant superintendent and I’m very proud of Northern.”

Illinois State University’s student newspaper, the Daily Vidette, also reported on surveys of this type. A recent story in the newspaper concludes through several surveys that ISU graduates lack verbal communication skills, creativity and reasoning skills and are unwilling to take on more responsibility.

The article quotes Virginia Owen, ISU’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as saying newly hired graduates also lack the skills to identify and solve problems and function independently.