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University of West London Graduate Outcomes case study

'Your career journey, is our journey'

Between January and March 2018 we ran presentations to all the Heads and level 6 tutors from the eight schools/colleges that make up the University about the changes from DLHE to Graduate Outcomes, what it meant for their school/college and how they could personally inform their students about Graduate Outcomes, and any potential impacts the change might have for the University. We also had a video produced which was shown to all final year students during the final weeks of teaching and which was uploaded to all UWL social media channels.

We created three online portals for us to push out Graduate Outcomes messages and materials:

  1. A bespoke Graduate Outcomes page

  2. We converted a pre-existing DLHE Twitter account into a Graduate Outcomes version: @UWLGradOutcomes

  3. We recently created a Facebook page: @UWLGradOutcomes

We've also developed our own in-house brand (that touches on the colours of the official HESA Graduate Outcomes logo) and this includes various posters/adverts, banners and a logo that was created to only be used in conjunction with Graduate Outcomes messages, along with a slogan - your career journey, is our journey - that connects to the University's ethos as 'The Career University'.

 

 

 

In addition to the above, we had a graduate intern create a short video that was shown at our graduation ceremonies in July and November 2018, which was preceded by a talk from our Deputy Vice-Chancellor on Graduate Outcomes.

For the graduation ceremonies themselves, we put together a Graduate Outcomes bag (that contained an assortment of branded goodies) that each graduate received on the day.

We also attended the large graduation ceremony in July 2018 at Wembley Stadium so that we were on hand to talk to graduates and parents about Graduate Outcomes.

Furthermore, a 'Graduate Outcomes for Staff' booklet was produced which was given out to all staff at the beginning of the academic year staff briefings and any new staff will receive one of these with their contracts. A 'Graduate Outcomes for Students' booklet is also being developed.

 

 

Where did the idea come from?
As you can see from the breadth of our activities and promotional materials for Graduate Outcomes, we had multiple ideas. They originated from an array of strategy group meetings, smaller focus groups and individual initiatives.

How did you put it into action?

What was the process?
In December 2017, a paper was presented to our League Table Working Group on the changes from DLHE to Graduate Outcomes, following this it was decided by our VC/DVC that a Graduate Outcomes Working Group (GOWG) should be formed to create strategies for a smooth transition between DLHE and Graduate Outcomes. This group consisted of staff from the Alumni, Careers, Placement, Planning and Registry departments, with the Head of Student Services acting as chair. The group met regularly to formulate project plans and timelines across various workflow strands. Following these GOWG meetings, smaller teams met to work on actioned points.

Was there any resource/cost implications?
As UWL is a ‘Careers University’ and employability is one of UWL’s key KPIs, any resources required for Graduate Outcomes were prioritised and a budget was allocated so that all promotional materials could be produced and disseminated at key points during the year.

Who else was involved? E.g. students, other internal teams?
Throughout the project timeline there was input and assistance from various UWL departments (e.g. marketing, careers, etc), to the students who helped assemble the Graduate Outcomes goodie bags, the graduate intern who produced the graduation ceremony video and the two recent graduates who produced the ‘Graduate Outcomes – where will your degree take you?’ video.

What was the result?

What was the impact?
The impact is that we have transitioned the University from DLHE to Graduate Outcomes in a smooth and efficient manner to both students and staff. However, we believe that we won’t know the true impact of our work until we see data from each cohorts’ responses.

What was the benefit?
The benefit is that we’ve promoted the survey successfully to the 17/18 cohort and embedded Graduate Outcomes within the mindset of UWL staff. The Graduate Outcomes videos aimed at different levels throughout their studies will inform the students early enough that the survey won’t be a surprise when they’re contacted 15 months on.

Any feedback from students/graduates?
We got positive feedback from the students who commented on the ‘Graduate Outcomes – where will your degree take you?’ video and those whom we spoke with at the graduation ceremonies, plus they loved the useful content from the Graduate Outcomes goodie bags!

Lessons learned

Would you recommend this idea?
Yes, as from a marketing perspective we’ve successfully promoted Graduate Outcomes to our students from the last academic year (and have already commenced doing the same with the 18/19 cohort) and enlightened UWL staff about Graduate Outcomes.

What would you do differently next time?
Well, we are always reviewing what is working and what isn’t, and what we could do next to spread the message of Graduate Outcomes to staff and students.

  1. One new initiative for 2019 is that we’re going to design a short one-hour Graduate Outcomes awareness training programme for staff that we’ll run two/three times a year

  2. We will, of course, adapt the contents of the Graduate Outcomes goodie bag to the needs/trends applicable at the time

  3. Once the 17/18 Graduate Outcomes results have been published (in early 2020), we will also undertake a thorough review of everything that we’ve worked on during this phase and implement any lessons learned

What's next?

Two further Graduate Outcomes themed videos are being planned that will target our level 3/4 students and level 5 students. These two films will encourage students to make the most of the career preparation support that is available to them at UWL, whilst also introducing the concept of Graduate Outcomes.

Contact details

Shawn Moore, Graduate Operations Manager, Student Services, University of West London.

Role in Graduate Outcomes
To manage and oversee all operational aspects of the Graduate Outcomes survey.