Using Alumni Views to Connect the Past, Present, and Future in Political Science
by Eric D. Raile, Montana State University, Elizabeth A. Shanahan, Montana State University, Michael P. Wallner, Boise State University, Linda M. Young, Montana State University, Marja Avonius, University of Tampere, Finland, Micaela Young, Montana State University, Nacer Tayeb, Montana State University
This article describes the collection of views from political science alumni via a web-based survey as a central part of efforts to review and improve the curriculum and the broader political science program at a public university. Based on the literature and on interviews with faculty members and former students, we iteratively constructed a questionnaire containing five categories of items: program structure, content/knowledge, skills, outcomes, and learning environment. These categories were intended to capture curricular elements and outcomes that include but go beyond jobs and professional skill attainment. Graduate students contributed in meaningful ways to the effort through a research methods course. The article discusses how the results of the survey have fed into the curriculum revision process specifically and into program review and assessment considerations more generally.