There is very little these days that policy makers agree on—no big news there. The BIG NEWS is that our profession has an opportunity to lead in an area that many in the public and private sectors do care about and will most certainly impact the work we do in the future.
What is it that the President and legislators in both parties agree on? The need for detailed outcomes data about college graduates and their first destinations after receiving their degrees.
In 2013 we saw a number of federal and state initiatives launched to meet the growing demand for accountability and transparency about college outcomes.
- In February 2013 in his State of the Union Address, President Obama introduced the College Scorecard designed to provide data on affordability, value and employment potential by institution. http://collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard/
- According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 20 states have moved formally to performance-based funding for higher education institutions and the majority of states report interest in doing so.
- Numerous efforts from both parties are being proposed by federal lawmakers to collect and report data about the value of education and the specific first destinations of college graduates.
What does this tell us? The demand for hard data is real and the expectation for data delivery is imminent. The time is NOW if our profession wishes to lead in determining how we can best collect and report data about college graduates and develop the means to do so.
In January at our Advocacy Mashup in Washington D.C., NACE will be releasing Guidelines for First Destination Surveys, developed and reviewed by NACE members. More than 150 members provided commentary and recommendations related to the formulation of these guidelines.
Those attending the Mashup will have the opportunity to discuss the scope and content of the Guidelines as well as consider how to strengthen the data collection and reporting for their institutions. They will also look at how we as a profession can come together to meet the demands being placed upon us externally for accountability and compliance. We hope you can be part of that conversation—but if you can’t, it won’t end there. We look forward to engaging our members in this discussion on an ongoing basis and encourage your participation in the future.
Let’s make sure we don’t let others pave the way for what is certain to happen. Let’s create opportunity and strengthen the role of our profession as we come together to provide high quality and timely data about the outcomes of our graduates.
For more information about the Mashup or to register, go to http://www.naceweb.org/events/advocacy-mashup.aspx.