Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Low Dispersion of Alumni

This is another in a series of findings from the Centre College Alumni Survey.

About 40% of the alumni live in Kentucky. About 60% of current students come from Kentucky, and this has been true for some time.

I am glad that Centre College serves the commonwealth so well, both in educating its children and in providing educated citizens. I think, though, that our ambition to be a more national college would be enhanced if our alumni were spread around the country a bit more.

I can think of three good reasons the alumni stick so close to home. First, Kentucky is a nice place to live, and many have family there. This is especially helpful when they start families of their own.

Second, the Old Colonels network is famously helpful. It is densest, and can be most helpful, in Kentucky.

Third, about two thirds of the graduates get further education, and most of them do so from a small number of nearby universities. I believe this is the single biggest factor in why the alumni settle so close to the college (relatively speaking).

The lesson I take from this is that we should be more conscious of encouraging our graduates to go further afield - and to more nationally weighty universities - for their graduate work. This would naturally take some of them into broader networks of professional life.

1 comment:

Terena Bell - In Every Language said...

I think the job market's got something to do with it as well. As you mentioned, the alumni network is stronger in Ky, so alumni can get alumni jobs, but also, once you leave the Commonwealth, not that many people have heard of Centre or know how much a degree from there is worth. It's just any old BA to them, or--even worse--a lesser BA because it's from some school they've never heard of without a team in March Madness. So, even if you aren't job hunting from alumni, then a Centre BA is still more likely to get you work in Ky, because, here, even if you didn't go there, you've heard of it. Heck, you probably applied and didn't get in.