What planning students find valuable about grad school

A group I was part of in CP201B, our introductory research methods class, put together a survey imaginatively targeted at graduates of the DCRP program. (Kudos to Jon McCall, Gabriela Picado Aguilar, and Lily MacIver for allowing me to share these charts as part of my portfolio!)

We got 26 responses from our classmates, and the answers are actually pretty interesting—they are an initial signal of some of the divisions between students in our program by intended field of employment.* This is a new lens through which to see our program—one we don’t think about much as students—and a way to evaluate what we’ve learned so far.

Distribution of responses by intended field of employment

Most valuable/relevant experience in graduate school, by field

Most important skills acquired at school, by field

Other includes: Negotiation, design work, literature review, memo writing and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR).

Opinions on most valuable professional experience for graduates, by field

Opinions on most valuable skills for graduates, by type

Among the open-ended responses, the most frequent themes were social media management, presenting to company leaders, and interpersonal communications skills.

*There’s a possibility these answers aren’t accurate, given that people were just testing the survey and may have answered randomly. I have assumed that people’s responses reflect their intended field of employment; our survey asked for people to answer from the perspective of a graduate, so there’s some mental forecasting involved in making up an answer.

That said, given the distribution and variation of responses by field, these seem believable on their face. At any rate, it’s a sign that we should be doing more surveys like this to understand what people are feeling and need in this program.

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