Alumni Survey results

Summary of results
A survey with 16 questions was sent to 650 Alumni of the Surveying Engineering Department. Of these 650 the department received 177 filled questionnaires. An analysis of the results shows that the state of the Surveying Engineering Department Alumni of Ferris State University is excellent. 88% of these Alumni are working in the Surveying Engineering profession, the average salary is $74000 which is well above the average salary stated by the US Department of Labor for Professional Surveyor. From these Alumni 19% are earning more than $100,000. More than 71% are licensed as Professional Surveyors and 5% are Professional Engineers.

 

Areas generally perceived as the most critical need in surveying education in the next five years are:

  • GPS, GIS and Advanced technologies.
  • Legal aspects and boundary surveying
  • Business management, team work and communication skills
  • State Plane coordinates

 

Areas perceived as least relevant were photogrammetry and remote sensing except for those working in the photogrammetry industry.

 

The following action was taken to address these concerns:

  • In The new Surveying Engineering curriculum, GPS is taught and integrated in more courses for example SURE220, SURE230, SURE425 and SURE440, in addition to the Geodesy and GPS courses SURE452 and SURE453.
  • The new GIS and Digital Photogrammetry lab enables practical experience with the state of the art GIS technologies as well as other technologies such as Laser Scanning.
  • Another legal aspects course was added SURE366 to reflect the need.
  • The department has developed a new form that provides information about the small business management certificate. This program is an excellent opportunity for students interested in learning more about management and faculty encourages student to take these four courses.
  • State Plane coordinates are now being taught and practiced in almost all the courses of the Surveying Engineering program.

 

The complete survey with the questions, results and an analysis is presented in the attached Appendix.

Appendix Alumni Survey

Question 3: Are you currently employed in the surveying profession?

 

Yes

No

Participants

147

20

Percentage

88%

12%

Many of the alumni that answered No have indicated working in related fields such as civil engineering, Photogrammetry, and so on.

This question reflects program outcome number 1.

Question 4: Which arena are you working at?

 

Number

Percentage

Government

33

20%

Academia

4

3%

Private

127

77%

Question 7: Check any of the credentials listed below that you hold.

 

SIT

PS

EIT

PE

Total number out of 177

39

113

18

7

Percentage

22%

64%

10%

4%

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni that have graduated before 2000

23

109

13

7

Percentage

15%

71%

9%

5%

This question reflects program outcome number 7, and demonstrates that indeed the Surveying Engineering program provides the education needed for the graduates to become qualified as licensed professional surveyors.

Question 8: What is your annual salary range?

Salary Range

In $1000

No of participants

Percentage %

<30

3

2

30 - 40

4

3

40 - 45

8

6

45 - 50

15

11

50 - 55

14

10

55 - 60

11

8

60 - 65

12

8

65 - 70

14

10

70 - 80

11

8

80 - 90

11

8

90 - 100

12

8

over 100

27

19

Average Salary (142 participants all alumni since 1974): $ 74,014

Remarks:

  1. Several responses did not indicate their degree (BS, AAS, MS etc.). Consequently the presented results are slightly biased downward as they include alumni from the AAS program.
  2. The three responses that have marked a salary of “less than $30000” also indicated part-time employment (people that have retired, or alumni in maternity leave).

Graduation

 

Year Range

Average Salary ($)

2000

55,717

1990

68,480

1980

83,121

1970

86,014

Question 9: What is the size of your firm (including branch offices) in personnel?

 

Number

Percentage

Less than 5

25

15%

5 to 10

21

13%

10 to 25

29

18%

25 to 50

16

10%

over 50

70

44%

 

Question 10: Activities in which your firm is involved (check all that apply).

Percentage that said Yes

Number

(out of 161)

 

82%

138

Land surveying which is the surveying of an area for its correct determination or description for its conveyance, or for the establishment or re-establishment or a land boundary or the designing or design coordination of the plotting of land and the subdivision of land.

62%

105

Geodetic surveying which includes surveying for determination of the size and shape of the earth both horizontally and vertically and the precise positioning for points on the earth utilizing angular and linear measurements through spatially oriented spherical geometry. (include GPS)

46%

78

Utilizing and managing land information systems through establishment of datums and local coordinate systems and points of reference.

80%

136

Engineering and architectural surveying for design and construction layout of infrastructure.

76%

129

Cartographic surveying for the making of maps, including topographic and hydrographic mapping.

Question 11: Please rate the importance of the following for your current job based on the rating scale(1-5): 5=critical 4=very important 3=important 2=not very important  

Skill

Average

Leadership

4.3

Teamwork

4.4

Communication

4.6

Problem Solving

4.4

 Question 12: Please rate the degree to which your education at Ferris prepared you for those skills identified in Question 11 (5=critical, 4=very important, 3=important, 2=not very important) 

Skill

Average

Leadership

3.2

Teamwork

3.7

Communication

3.4

Problem Solving

4.2

This section reflects program outcome 5 and demonstrates that indeed graduates are able to function and communicate effectively both as individuals and as members of teams.

 Question 13: Please rank the relative importance of the following subject areas to your practice by checking the appropriate box.

( 5=critical 4=very important 3=important 2=not very important) 

Subject

Average

Legal Aspects/Land Boundaries

4.3

Business Aspects

3.8

Geodesy/GPS

3.7

Photogrammetry/Remote Sensing

2.6

Data Analysis

3.7

Route Surveying/Traverse/COGO

4.1

GIS/LIS

2.8

CAD/ Computer Applications

4.2

Map Projections/Coordinate Systems

3.6

Leveling

3.7

Land Use Design

3.4

Automated Data Collection and Processing

4.1

Soils/Drainage/Hydrology

3.0

Question 14: Please rate the degree to which your education at Ferris prepared you in the following subjects: 5=excellent, 4=very good, 3=good, 2=not very good

Subject

Average

Legal Aspects/Land Boundaries

4.0

Leveling

4.0

Route Surveying/Traverse COGO

3.98

CAD/Computer Applications

2.9

Automated Data Collection and Processing

2.7

It is important to note that many surveying engineering technologies and specifically CAD/Computer applications and automated data collection and processing software have dramatically changed in the last 20 years. The numbers reflects the fact that practical education (labs) that was given ten or more years ago is often no longer relevant. The department has recently acquired 38 new computers and all the software in this lab is state-of-the-art with the latest versions installed.

 

Question 15: What do you perceive to be the most critical need in surveying education in the next five years?

The most critical needs as indicated by the answers are:

  1. More legal aspects and boundary surveying
  2. Business management, team work and communication skills
  3. More GPS and GIS
  4. More advanced technologies like internet and laser scanning
  5. Working with state Plane coordinates

 

  • Indeed the Department has recently added a legal-aspects of surveying course (SURE366 -Evidence & Procedures for Bound. Loca).
  • The Department has developed a new form to encourage student to take the Small Business Management certificate and enhance their business skills.
  • GPS technology is now part of the SURE230, SURE220, SURE425 and SURE440 courses. GIS is taught using an advanced lab and include the latest technologies such as internet and laser scanning technologies.
  • State Plane coordinates are now being studied in more courses such as SURE230, SURE220, SURE325, SURE425, and SURE440.

 

Question16: Please provide comments on areas not included in the survey that you feel are relevant.

Many have expressed their gratitude and wrote kind words about the program in this section for example:

  • “I believe the success I've achieved in my career is directly proportional to the education I received at FSU. The educational experience was most rewarding, and also helped develop my work ethic, because of the effort required to earn my survey degree.”
  • “I feel everything needed in today workplace is included at FerrisState.”

 

Some have stressed again the importance of management abilities and team work, and the importance of GPS and internet technologies.