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  • First-Destination Success Built on Partnerships, Relationships

    Christine Cruzvergara has found benefits to implementing the NACE First-Destination Survey Standards and Protocols beyond accruing valuable data.

    “So far, my experience as an early adopter has been wonderful,” says Cruzvergara, director of university career services at George Mason University. “Having the guidance and protocols has been extremely helpful with engaging a larger group of stakeholders.”

    Prior to implementation, Cruzvergara reached out to several offices—institutional assessment and alumni affairs—for partnership.

    “Having those champions as part of the process was essential,” she says. “These are the institutional numbers used for all reporting purposes.”

    The career center also created a new position—assistant director of trends assessment and communication, which focuses on telling the success story with data. One of the main responsibilities of the position is to ensure George Mason’s first-destination survey illustrates value to the institution.

    “Having a dedicated staff member focused on trends and assessment allows us to showcase the value of university career services and the value of a George Mason education,” Cruzvergara says

    Another key step was customizing the data reports for each college and school in a visually appealing infographic format.

    “The data has existed in an online database for a while, but when we put it into an infographic, we got more attention from the deans and it gave me the opportunity to further engage them in the process and increase their buy-in to improve our knowledge rate,” Cruzvergara says. “In an effort to make the first destination survey more valuable to the deans, we just concluded a series of meetings with the schools and colleges, and offered to add up to three school-specific questions into the survey so we can provide customized data to tell their success story.”

    As a result of Cruzvergara’s efforts, seven out of nine deans chose to submit school-specific questions for this next cycle.

    “The deans and academic partners look forward to engaging in further conversation about their next set of infographics and on how best to create a strong career community for students with university career services,” she says.

    Cruzvergara notes that through this process, career services’ relationships with deans, academic partners, and the admissions office have strengthened.

    “There are a lot of stakeholders who can benefit from this process, and you can showcase and elevate the value of career services on your campus,” Cruzvergara says.