Alumni Survey Results
Every three years, the Alumni Association surveys its members. It’s a way for us to see what alumni are thinking about their alma mater, to identify any problems, to see how better we can meet members’ needs.
The most recent survey was a little different. It included the usual questions—how satisfied are you with your student experience at Penn State; what are your overall feelings about Penn State; etc.—but it also took a look at perceptions and attitudes related to the Sandusky scandal and its aftermath.
The results are in.
Despite the tragedy of the scandal and the resulting negative publicity, 82 percent of respondents described their feelings toward Penn State as “very positive” or “somewhat positive.”
That said, 58 percent said that Penn State’s handling of Joe Paterno was all or mostly wrong. Asked the same question about Penn State’s handling of Graham Spanier, 20 percent responded that Penn State’s actions were all or mostly wrong.
Those of us in the Alumni Association were especially interested in the results of this question: “Please indicate the extent to which you trust the following the following groups to provide you with information about Penn State.” Of those who responded, 57 percent said the Alumni Association, 56 percent said current Penn State students, 23 percent said the administration, and 13 percent said the trustees.
And we at the magazine staff were particularly interested in the part where alumni were asked, “What information sources do you rely on for information about Penn State?” Some people answered in general terms (“the Internet,” “the news media,” etc.), but among those who named a specific information source, the most commonly mentioned (at 10 percent) was The Penn Stater, followed by psu.edu (7 percent), and the Centre Daily Times (6 percent).
Some other findings:
—33 percent agree that “Penn State should publicly recognize Graham Spanier for his years of service to Penn State.”
—87 percent agree that “Penn State should publicly recognize Joe Paterno for his years of service to Penn State.”
—35 percent say that “There are still people at Penn State who are accountable for this tragedy and have not been held responsible.”
—33 percent agree that “Penn State has been holding back information about the problem.”
—Only 15 percent say that “This issue is just one extreme example of a larger problem at Penn State of secrecy and cover-ups.”
—63 percent of respondents agree that Penn State “will be able to rebuild the trust and confidence that people have had in the University.”
The survey was conducted by StrategyOne, a company owned by Edelman, which Penn State has hired as a consultant. The Alumni Association provided 10,000 randomly chosen alumni records with either phone numbers or email addresses, and 1,282 alumni responded. You can download a PDF of the survey results and read a news release here.
Lori Shontz, senior editor