2015 Alumni Survey Results

What do you think of East Carolina? If you’re like most alumni who responded to the survey we recently distributed, you are proud of our university and want to stay connected. Sent via e-mail in the spring of 2015, this 25-question Alumni Attitude Study was designed by an impartial party to help us gauge your perception of the university, your experience as a student and now as an alumnus, and what you’d like to see in the future.

This survey was the third in a series of three surveys contracted with Performance Enhancement Group, Ltd. These surveys were distributed in 2007, 2012, and 2015. This year, we received more than 1,400 responses, an increase from 1,100 responses in 2012.

We are very pleased with the results, which are comparable to previous years. A key figure is the alumni satisfaction index, which averages the results of several questions to represent general satisfaction of alumni. This year’s alumni satisfaction index is 83.75%, up slightly from 83.38% in 2012. When it comes to the performance of the East Carolina Alumni Association, 56% of responses were “good” and 25% of responses were “excellent.”

We’re proud to report our progress on the actions we have taken and will take to keep alumni satisfaction high. We expect improvement to continue as we keep evaluating the data and working to improve your experience as an alumnus.

The East Carolina Alumni Association’s mission is to inform, involve, and serve members of the ECU family throughout their lifelong relationship with the university. The results of this survey will guide our future plans, ensuring that we provide programs, activities, and communications that meet and exceed your needs and expectations of the alumni association.

Purple and Gold Pride

Pride in East Carolina keeps our university thriving, and it’s easy to see from the survey results that loyalty continues to reign true at ECU. Among the 1,400 responses, graduates of every decade are represented from the 1960s to the 2010s. Respondents also included donors and non-donors, members and non-members, graduate and undergraduate degrees, in- and out-of-state. When it comes to their current overall opinion of East Carolina, 92% of respondents said it was good or excellent, which is comparable to 95% in 2012. Experience as an alumnus has shown an increase through all three surveys. In the 2007 survey, 72% said their alumni experience was good or excellent. In the 2012 survey, that figure increased to 75%, and increased again to 77% in 2015.

  • (Q1) 95% of respondents said attending East Carolina was a good or great decision
    • 71% said great
    • 24% said good
  • (Q2) 79% of respondents said they promote East Carolina to others all the time or regularly
    • 48% said all the time
    • 31% said regularly
  • (Q3) 95% of respondents said their experience as a student was good or excellent
    • 59% said excellent
    • 36% said good
  • (Q4) 77% of respondents said their experience as an alumnus is good or excellent
    • 27% said excellent
    • 50% said good
  • (Q5) 92% of respondents said their current overall opinion of East Carolina is good or excellent
    • 59% said excellent
    • 33% said good

Indicate how much each of the following impacts your overall opinion of East Carolina. (Click the graph to view larger.)

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Increasing the Value of Your Degree

According to our respondents, the number one factor that determines their overall opinion of the university is the value and respect accorded to their degree, more so than national rankings, media visibility, and athletic team wins. The university’s quality and variety of academic programs, preparedness of our graduates to enter the workforce, success of our alumni in their professions, and the ongoing promotion of these factors all ultimately increase the value of every degree from East Carolina and the prestige of the university as a whole. The value of a degree does not remain static as of the year it was awarded; it rises and falls with the life of the university. The East Carolina Alumni Association contributes to the life of the university and propagates the value of all East Carolina degrees by celebrating the accomplishments of our alumni. We do this through several outlets, including blog entries, magazine articles, newsletters, press releases, and social media.

Engaging Current Students and Young Alumni

A key trend we noticed this year was an increase in the willingness of young alumni to participate financially. Among those who indicated that they have never given to ECU but plan to do so in the future, 47% were young alumni. These are recent graduates who graduated in or after the Great Recession. They may not be able to donate now, but there is a great deal of potential for the future. In addition, young alumni are highly likely to advance the university though non-financial means like word of mouth and on social media. More than 50% of young alumni who responded to the survey said they promote East Carolina all the time. In addition to encouraging alumni to share their treasure, we should also encourage alumni to share their tales and give their time and talents.

In the 2007 survey, we noted the importance of engaging current students while they are on campus; after all, today’s students are tomorrow’s alumni! To this end, a student membership program called Forever Pirates was created in 2010. By 2012, it had 1,300 members. While this program has been on hiatus since the summer of 2014 due to several leadership changes, we are planning a re-launch in the fall of 2015. Several input sessions were held with students on campus over the past year to ensure the program suits their needs and interests. We welcome student and alumni feedback as we revamp this program.

Reaching Out of-State Alumni

While the majority (roughly 75%) of East Carolina alumni live in North Carolina, Pirate Nation spans all 50 states and several countries. Engaging out-of-state alumni is a major and ever-increasing role of the alumni association. In the 2012 results, geographic distance was the most cited barrier of participation in alumni activities for out-of-state alumni. In the 2015 results, the data shifted more toward time and other commitments as more common barriers. This could be indicative of our increased presence throughout the Pirate Nation. Over the past three years, we have increased out-of-state events like professional networking events, viewing parties, and social events. If you’d like to get together with alumni in your area or see a networking event in your city, let us know!

Communicating Effectively

One of the major responses we saw from this survey was a desire for more communication, particularly invitations to alumni association and university events. Respondents said e-mail was the most important method of communication, followed by the alumni magazine and the university website. Interestingly, social media was rated as only somewhat important. Respondents also wanted more clear communications regarding benefits and services. We know people are busy and not always able to attend events, but we’ll continue to send invitations and updates. To ensure that you are receiving our printed invitations and e-mails, be sure to update your information at PirateAlumni.com/UpdateInfo.

Continuing Opportunities for Feedback

Having a voice at ECU is important to our alumni, and the East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to serve in this role. We are always open to feedback. You can contact us at 252-ECU-GRAD (252-328-4723) or ecualumni@ecu.edu. Our door is always open at the Taylor-Slaughter Alumni Center at 901 E. 5th St. from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We want to serve you, and your feedback is vital to shaping our programs, services, and communications.

This survey was commissioned by the East Carolina Alumni Association using non-state funds.

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