Walden University, one of the leading providers of online education, has released updated information that tracks its students and alumni, their opinions of the university and their eventual outcomes. The project, Demonstrating Accountability, Transparency and Assessment (DATA), provides detailed information about Walden’s students as well as student learning, student and alumni satisfaction, and the social impact of students and alumni in their communities and workplaces.
DATA is part of Walden’s ongoing commitment to communicate information about who its students are, what they are expected to learn at Walden, and how they are applying this knowledge to advance their careers and effect positive social change. The following information is a snapshot of the larger project that can be found in full at www.WaldenU.edu/DATA.
Demographics: Women are leading the way. Walden’s total student population is three-quarters female (77.1%), and women represent 72.4% of students in undergraduate programs. Walden graduate students are 42.58% white and 37.7% black, while 42.5% of undergraduates are white, 34.8% are black and 12.3% are Hispanic/Latino. Walden students continue to be most heavily represented by the 30–39 age demographic followed by those age 40–49, but there is also significant representation among those age 24–29 years and 50–59 years.
Walden students are satisfied with the university. Nearly nine out of 10 (88.2%) Walden students are satisfied or highly satisfied with Walden. In addition, a majority of Walden international students (94.2%) are satisfied or highly satisfied with Walden. More than 85% of Walden students and 90% of alumni are likely or highly likely to recommend Walden to others.
They’re developing skills and achieving. Alumni assessed themselves on a variety of skill sets before and after their Walden experiences. Self-ratings differed at a statistically significant level, showing improvements on each skill, most prominently in conducting mixed-methods research, interpreting published research findings, performing qualitative and quantitative analyses, designing research projects and leading positive social change. A number of Walden doctoral alumni have reported achievements such as delivering at least one presentation at a conference (90%). In addition, nearly half (46%) have published at least one peer-reviewed article, more than one-third (35%) have published at least one article in a trade magazine or journal and a quarter (25%) have published at least one book.
They’re prepared: Walden alumni report a direct impact on their careers. Nine out of 10 (88%) alumni report that the Walden curriculum was relevant to their daily life and work. Three-quarters (79%) of graduates say they are prepared to pursue professional opportunities in a new area or to teach in a higher education institution (72%) while 88% of graduates say their education helped them enhance their professional performance. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of recent Walden graduates are applying what they learned to their career to a great or very great extent.
Employers of Walden graduates are pleased. About 90% of employers of Walden graduates reported that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the Walden graduate employed at their organization. Almost all (98%) employers of Walden graduates surveyed say they would hire another Walden graduate. Employers also reported that Walden graduates’ professional skills and performance have improved since attending Walden, including areas such as research (76%), project management (75%), problem solving (81%), leadership (72%), knowledge of the field (77%) and pursuing professional development opportunities (73%). In addition, a majority of employers surveyed said they believe online degrees are equal to or more valuable than degrees earned in a face-to-face setting.
Walden alumni are effecting positive social change. Part of Walden’s mission is to provide a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so they can effect positive social change. Four out of five (80%) Walden alumni report that Walden has helped them effect social change to a very great, great or moderate extent. Walden alumni also have a 68% average rate of volunteerism, compared to the national average among college graduates of 42%, and have trained others using skills or knowledge gained at Walden (61%), served as a mentor (51%) or served in a leadership capacity at work (67%).