By JACK BILBROUGH
Colorado College, in conjunction with Gallup Polling, is hosting an open student survey to “gain a better understanding of student experiences and career plans,” announced CC Communications.
Gallup Polling is an expansive and reputable company with roots in political polling as well as privatized market research and college-focused academic profiles. The conscription of so heavy a hitter as Gallup indicates a seriousness in the pursuit of knowledge about student’s career plans. Gallup’s website insists: “We help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems.” A New York Times study of CC listed the school at 59th in a field of 71 in terms of income at age 34. The same study ranked CC at 40th, in the same field of 71, in its “Mobility Index,” a metric that measures the likelihood that a student will move up “two or more income quintiles.”
Payscale.com, a crowd-sourced, big-data based, compensation analytics website, evaluates colleges based on their return on investment statistics each year. In a 2017 survey, CC managed an average 1.8 percent return on investment annually. This places CC directly below Oklahoma Baptist University and two spots above Western State Colorado University in the ranking. In Forbes’ “Best Value College of 2017,” CC was ranked number 149th out of 300 based on a metric that evaluated tuition cost and average expected income after graduation. This places CC 40 spots behind University of Colorado, Boulder, and eight spots below University of Denver.
George Butte, an English Professor at CC, doesn’t necessarily see these studies as a cause for concern. He conjectures that the income a student makes after graduation is not necessarily aligned with the “good” they can do for their community. A student that goes on to follow their passion and educate elementary school students, he suggests, might be more “valuable” than surveys that rate colleges based on the incomes of their students suggest. Butte also considers the intended outcomes of a program like the one offered within CC’s English Department. He’s skeptical of a metric that attempts to put a value on critical thinking skills.
The ability to think dynamically and inventively might not necessarily result in first job placement success. However, Professor Butte theorizes that these skills better prepare students for changing market conditions and enable graduates access to a larger field of employment options, should their interests and goals change.
Still, the outlook offered by these polling numbers might not be what some CC students hoped to find. However, the school’s increased focus on student careers, marked by the hiring of Gallup, might be a cause for renewed optimism for the career-oriented students. Students should check their email-inboxes for a link to the poll, which will close Nov. 6.