Relationships Make a Difference in Student Success

Relationships Make a Difference in Student Success

A new Gallup-Purdue Index Report shows that caring professors make a significant difference in graduate success. In an article published in the May 16, 2014, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson reports that a Gallup-Purdue survey interviewed 30,000 American college graduates on issues ranging from employment to job engagement to their well-being. Ultimately, it credits positive student outcomes to “old-fashioned values and human connectedness.” The survey also assessed graduates’ sense of purpose, their connectedness to their community and their physical health.

“These results definitely mirror the values Shenandoah University espouses and the connectedness our faculty and staff members deliver each and every day,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “We are especially proud of the training and experience our students gain here. Our faculty are passionate about teaching and about interacting with students in a caring and supportive learning environment.”

According to the Chronicle article, “College graduates had double the odds of being engaged at work and three times the odds of thriving in Gallup’s five elements of well-being if they had “emotional support’ while in college — professors who ‘made me excited about learning,’ ‘cared about me as a person,’ or ‘engaged my hopes and dreams.’”

Third-year pharmacy student Tee-Al Barksdale of Lynchburg, Virginia, said, “Shenandoah’s been a perfect fit for me because I’m supported by great faculty who equip me with the knowledge and experiences I need to make my dream of becoming a pharmacist a reality.”

Similarly, 2013 graduate Khalid Johnson of Richmond said, “While I dream of working in film, Shenandoah’s mass communications program provided me with the skills to get a job in advertising, public relations, film or television news. As a student, I worked closely with Shenandoah’s professional communications staff. As a result, I’ve produced and edited dozens of videos, written voice-overs for commercials and learned editing software.” Johnson’s first job was in broadcast news.

According to the survey, a higher proportion of science and business majors reported full-time employment, compared with graduates who majored in the social sciences or the arts and humanities. However, the latter two alumni groups were more likely to be “engaged” with their work.

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