By Frank Cox '76
Chief Communications Officer
Without question, alumni
survey results can be very interesting to discuss and debate. To quote Sean
Connery in the 1987 movie The Untouchables (when his character challenged Kevin
Costner's Elliot Ness), "But what are you prepared to do about it?" Having this
information and then using it to strengthen lifelong connections to Hendrix is a
primary goal of the College's Alumni Engagement team.
The 2011 survey,
created by members of the Advancement office, and results and analysis, provided
by Dr. Jennifer Pezka, associate professor of psychology, has been shared with
the Board of Trustees, Alumni Board of Governors, and with members of the
Hendrix faculty and staff. Regarding the methodology of the survey, 6,703 alumni
were emailed survey requests with a link to the survey. If no email address was
available, postcards were sent to recipients with a link or the option to fill
out a printed survey instrument. Ultimately, 1,404 alumni responded to the
Several of the survey questions or statements received more than 90
percent "agree" or "strongly agree" responses, including "I would recommend
Hendrix to a prospective student" and "In social and business conversations,
when the opportunity arises, I speak highly of Hendrix." Interestingly, 94
percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I believe
that Hendrix College is an important part of who I am," indicating a strong
affinity for Hendrix among alumni.
Pamela Owen '82, Associate Vice President
of Alumni and Constituent Engagement, discusses how she and her colleagues are
using information from the survey to better connect with alumni.
purpose of our alumni surveys is to discover how effectively we're communicating
with our alumni – and how connected they believe they are to Hendrix," she says.
"With the advent and popularity of social media channels, we initially assumed
that our alumni would like to be more engaged with Hendrix through channels like
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. What we learned is that, while sharing tidbits
of information through social media channels is useful, they really don't want
us to rely on those channels as a major source of information for them."
"Another thing we've learned was that there is a perception among our alumni
that we are pretty highly connected to them; that we're doing a good job of
delivering information to them," Owen continues. "I think that one challenge,
going forward, is in making sure our alumni understand NCAA Division III
athletics and the fact that no athletic scholarships are given, and that
Division III student athletes are as competitive academically as they are
Hendrix will reintroduce football in the newly formed
Division III Southern Athletic Conference in the fall of 2013 and women's
lacrosse the following spring.
Until 1992 when Hendrix became affiliated with
a Division III athletics conference, fewer than 10 percent of Hendrix students
typically participated in intercollegiate sports. Today, the number is closer to
25 percent, yet the academic quality indicators for the College have risen over
In addition to finding more effective ways to communicate with
alumni, surveys also help improve campus events. Those attending annual events
such as Alumni Weekend, Family Weekend and the Odyssey College for Alumni and
Friends are often surveyed afterward to learn more about their experiences and
to solicit their ideas.
Almost 1,000 alumni responded to a 2009 Hendrix
Magazine survey that fueled a major redesign of the publication and alumni input
also guided a redesign of the College's website in 2004 and was helpful in the
newest redesign of the website that launched in January 2012. (Check it out at
A follow-up magazine survey is planned this spring. The
survey will be distributed by email to keep costs down. If you'd like to
participate but aren't sure that the College has your current email, please
request to become a member of the Hendrix Web Community and update your
information. Or, submit your current email address to
mentioning the survey in your message. If you don't have email or Web access,
please send a card or note to Hendrix Magazine Survey, Office of Marketing
Communications, Hendrix College, 1600 Washington Avenue, Conway, AR 72032 or
call 501-505-2932 to request a paper copy.
Using whatever method you prefer,
we hope that Hendrix alumni will continue responding to our queries. What are we
prepared to do about it, you ask?
We're prepared to listen.