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The Association of Southwestern University Alumni




Instructions for Accessing the Research Findings

Alumni are invited to review Lipman Hearne's research findings through this secured site.

Registered SUAlumni.net Users
If you have previously logged into sualumni.net, please click on the link below and enter your username and password to access the findings. If you have forgotten your username or password, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations (800-960-6363).

First Time SUAlumni.net Users
If you have not previously logged into sualumni.net, you will first need to set up your account. Contact the Office of Alumni Relations (800-960-6363) for your Constituent ID and click here for My Account Lookup.

Click here to access the research findings.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why did Southwestern commission research at this time?

Excerpt from Shaping Our Future: The Strategic Plan for Southwestern University 2010-2020:

Build far-reaching visibility and recognition for the University as an exceptional undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution known for engaging minds and transforming lives.

Those who know us well, recognize Southwestern to be an exceptional undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. However, the assumption too often made--particularly by those outside of Texas who are not familiar with us--is that "Southwestern University" is a regional public institution. While not an insurmountable factor, the name of a university or college should be a significant positive factor in its visibility. A name maximizes the potential of the institution, helps build recognition for the scholarship offered by the school's rigorous academic environment, helps recruit faculty and students (and their parents), attracts funding, and opens doors for students and alumni. It is not in the best interest of Southwestern for our students, faculty, staff, trustees or alumni to find themselves in a position of having to explain the University's name--even while they are proud of their Southwestern degree and what it represents. As Southwestern engages in current planning for growth, the time is right to obtain valid market research about the University's name and to use that research for strategic decision-making.


What has been the process to date?


Shaping Our Future: The Strategic Plan for Southwestern University 2010-2020, put forward by the Commission on Planning and Action and adopted by the Board of Trustees in March 2010, included a recommendation to conduct research surrounding the University’s name.

In accordance with this recommendation, the University retained the Chicago firm of Lipman Hearne to oversee the research effort. Lipman Hearne specializes in marketing and communications exclusively within the nonprofit sector, especially higher education. Through e-mail, alumni, students, faculty and staff were asked to participate in an online survey. Representative parents and prospective students also participated.

The Research Task Force comprised of alumni, faculty, staff, a student, and members of the University’s Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors evaluated the research and presented a report to the University’s Senior Staff, who will add their report to the Board of Trustees for consideration during the Board’s mid-winter meeting in late January.

Who participated in the survey?

  •     Alumni – 3060 (30%)
  •     Students – 750 (54%)
  •     Faculty – 110 (53%)
  •     Staff – 191 (61%)
  •     Prospective Students
  •           599 completed surveys from college-bound high school seniors and juniors (all of whom are
              academically qualified for admittance to Southwestern)
  •           69 of the completed surveys are from Southwestern University inquirers (47 from Texas, 5 from
              surrounding states, 12 from the West Coast, and 5 from other states)
  •           530 are from students who have not inquired, but fit the profile (143 are from Texas, 203 from
              states surrounding Texas and CO, IL, MO, and 184 from the West Coast)
  •     Parents – two parent focus groups took place in Houston – one with 11 current parents and one with parents of nine prospective students.
Note: Research consultant Lipman Hearne developed "proxy" questions, which required "forced choices" by the survey participants; "We're asking participants to use their judgment based on what they know, have experienced, have seen or heard, and/or believe to be true of the University. That ensures that the subsequent assessments of the visibility and reputation of the University will be grounded by their experiences."

How and to whom are the research findings being distributed?

Through secured access, Lipman Hearne’s report of findings will be available to Southwestern’s Board of Trustees and to constituent groups (except prospective students) who participated in the survey – alumni, students, faculty and staff. Students, faculty and staff can access the report using their Southwestern username and password at http://www.southwestern.edu/plan/research/. Alumni can access the report using their username and password at http://sualumni.net/research. The University’s Board of Trustees has received the report in preparation for their January Meeting.

How were decisions made regarding whom to survey and the sample size?

The University wanted all students, faculty, staff and alumni to have an opportunity to participate. For prospective students, Southwestern relied on Lipman Hearne to determine a statistically significant sample size.

Why weren't employers, high school counselors, graduate school admission counselors, etc. surveyed?

The scope of the research project was defined by the grants received. Therefore, it was cost prohibitive to survey these groups.

Was Lipman Hearne charged with making a recommendation regarding the University's name?

Lipman Hearne was charged with conducting research to evaluate the equity in Southwestern's name. They were not asked to provide a recommendation.

Lipman Hearne Research Definitions/Clarifications

Prospective Students (Inquirers) – high school students who had some prior relationship with Southwestern University (i.e., attended a college fair, requested information from the website, etc.)

Prospective Students (College-Bound) – high school students whose names were purchased from a higher education panel, had no connection with Southwestern, but were screened for admissibility.

College-Bound Texas – high school students surveyed living in Texas.

College-Bound Surrounding – high school students living in contiguous states.

College-Bound Expansion – high school students living in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, and West Coast states.

Aided Awareness – a list of college names was provided to “aid” the prospective student as he/she responded.

Unaided Awareness – “unaided” prospective students were asked to develop a list of colleges that complied with the respective survey question.


Total Awareness
– aided plus unaided awareness. For example, if a prospective student listed Southwestern (unaided) as one of the 15 schools of which he/she is aware and/or acknowledged awareness of Southwestern from a provided list of schools (aided).

What are the next steps?
   
  • The Recognition Task Force made a report to the University’s Senior Staff, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their late-January meeting.
  •  The University’s Senior Staff will also submit a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in January.
  •  The University’s Board of Trustees meet January 26 and 27 to consider the name research and recommendations as part of its agenda.
  •  Any Board of Trustees decision regarding the name and respective next steps will then be announced.

Helpful Links

Shaping Our Future: The Strategic Plan for Southwestern University 2010-2020


Shaping Our Future Progress Report

Board of Trustees

Engaging Minds: Messages from President Jake B. Schrum

Comments or Questions? Share Your Ideas.