AACU Report 2015

Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2015 

By Hart Research Associates

Employer & College Student Survey, data highlights: 

  • n = 400 executives from profit & non-profit organizations
  • n = 613 college students (455 four-year college seniors & 158 community college associates degree)

Employers: 

*student data in brackets

  • Learning Authenticity (real-world applications)
    • 88% important that all students have the skills & knowledge to complete an applied learning project
    • 73% important that all students complete a significant applied learning project to improve their career preparation
    • Most would prioritize a job candidate who has participated in: 
      • 94% an internship (95%)
      • 87% senior project/thesis (89%)
      • 81% multiple courses involving significant writing (76%)
      • 80% collaborative research project (82%)
      • 69% a community-based project (85%)
      • 66% field-based project in a diverse community setting (87%)
      • 51% study abroad program (71%)
  • Knowledge & Skills
    • 60% stated having both field specific knowledge & skills along with a broad range of skills & knowledge is more important for recent college graduates (63%)
    • 15% stated having specific career knowledge & skills is more important (15%)
  • Agree/strongly agree that all students should:
    • 96% have educational experiences that teach them to solve problems with people whose views are different from their own (94%)
    • 87% gain an understanding of democratic institutions & values (85%)
    • 86% take courses that build civic knowledge, skills & judgment essential for contributing to a democratic society (86%)
    • 78% acquire a broad knowledge in liberal arts & sciences (83%)
    • 78% gain intercultural skills & an understanding of societies & countries outside of the US (87%)

Learning Outcomes Rated Very Important by Employers:

  • 85% effective oral communication
  • 83% work effectively with others in teams
  • 82% effective written communication
  • 81% ethical judgment & decision-making
  • 81% critical thinking & analytical reasoning skills
  • 80% knowledge & skill application in real-world settings
  • 70% analyze & solve complex problems
  • 68% locating, organizing & evaluating information from multiple sources
  • 65% creativity & innovation 
  • 60% stay current with changing technologies & workplace applications

Other Significant Data:

  • 80% state E-Portfolios are very or fairly useful in evaluating applicants
    • 45% college transcripts are very or fairly useful in evaluating applicants
  • There is a significant difference between Employers & Students in regard to preparedness across learning outcomes
  • Workplace preparedness graphic (AACU, 2015)