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Grads give HCC high marks

February 23, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

A survey of some 1996 Hagerstown Community College graduates shows many got jobs in Washington County and make an average salary of $26,668.

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In 1997, the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the state's 18 community colleges conducted a survey following up on 1996 graduates. The intent was to help the colleges evaluate how well each school achieves its goals.

"It kind of gives you a road map of where you need to focus your energy," said HCC President Norman Shea.

The survey results also show how the local community college compares to others.

"We stack up pretty well with the state," Shea said. "We're generally pleased with the results. It's a pretty good indication we're doing okay."

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The Higher Education Commission tallied the survey results. Director of Institutional Research and Planning Barbara Macht presented a report to HCC's board of trustees on Tuesday.

In May 1996, 369 people received associate's degrees or certificates from HCC. Of those, 161 graduates responded to three mailings.

"The state told us at 46 percent we had the highest response rate," Macht said.

The survey asked graduates to rate the overall quality of their colleges. About 89 percent rated HCC as good or very good. Statewide, 88 percent rated their colleges as good or very good.

Asked if they would attend HCC again, 92 percent of those responding said yes. Statewide, 89 percent said yes.

The graduates rated individual aspects of the college, including the quality of classroom instruction, lab equipment, faculty availability, class scheduling, academic advising and library.

Not all of the 161 respondents from HCC answered every question on the survey.

For example, 79 responded to a question about where they became employed. HCC's report shows 76 percent got jobs in Maryland. Of those, 93 percent are working in Washington County.

The 59 graduates who responded to a question about their salaries had an average income of $26,668. That's about $53 less than the state average of 1,240 graduates.

The survey also included a space for comments.

"I thought overall, comparing this year to other years, they were more positive," Macht said.

HCC generally conducts a follow-up survey every two years. Shea said surveys will be sent out to 1998 graduates in March.

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