As we continue to analyze our Alumni Feedback Survey we would like to share more of our findings. This time we would like to focus on the open-ended responses in which respondents told us the highlights of their experience with the program as well as where they felt the program could improve. We share now some common themes we’ve found as well as how the program has started to respond to your feedback!
We generated a word cloud for the 50 most common words used in response to the question: “If you were to highlight one of the best things in the MPP/MPA program at MSU, what would it be?”
We also identified three themes among the nearly 75 responses to this question. One of the most often mentioned topics for alumni was the capstone project completed in the last semester of the program.Many alumni found the capstone to be one best experiences they had in the program. The capstone project allowed many to pursue an area of research they found personally important and while the capstone is an individual project, the opportunities for collaborating with local practitioners and faculty were often highlighted. Secondly the training in quantitative methods was mentioned as being very important for their careers. While some alumni continued to use their training in their analysis work, others found the basics of statistical analysis and their statistical literacy to be useful in wide-ranging settings. Lastly several alumni responded that the practical skills they gained through coursework or real-world experience from their internships to be the single most important aspect of the program. Interestingly this was also an area that was mentioned as needing improvement by many alumni.
Here is the word cloud we generated from the responses to the question “If you were to suggest one thing to improve in the MPP/MPA program at MSU, what would it be?”
Again, we found a few common themes among the responses. The most common response from our alumni was to improve the career services offered by the program. Respondents wanted more guidance from beginning to the end of the program as well as more effort at maintaining contact with recent graduates. Another closely related theme was to make use of MSU’s location and have much better connections with state and local governments for internships, networking, and potential mentors for student projects. Many respondents indicated that their internships were the most useful part of their experience with the program and suggested a stronger focus on this. Lastly alumni advised a more practical curriculum over a theoretical emphasis as many became practitioners where the theoretical knowledge was less applicable than the practical skills they received from the program.
We are listening. The MPP Program has taken several steps to address these areas with a new emphasis on career services and internships. There has also been a concerted effort to build a closer relationship between the program and local practitioners in state and local governments, many of which are alumni themselves. You can keep track of our progress through our social media outlets, check out our posts on the distinguished speaker series as well as our alumni, faculty, and current student profiles!