committing to success
The Gold Commitment is both a commitment to the liberal arts, long the gold standard of higher education, and to the success of each and every DePauw student, who will take their place as leaders — not just in the workplace, but in the world.
Our alumni embody this commitment. They spread far and wide, shaping industry and transforming communities wherever they go. And they begin making their mark just as soon as they leave DePauw.
We like to talk about our high success rate in the mid-nineties for recent graduates, which varies from year to year. But that’s just short of perfect. The Gold Commitment began with a question: What would it take to get that number to 100 percent?
THE GOLD COMMITMENT...
PROMISES STUDENTS that DePauw faculty, staff, alumni and trustees will provide a distinctive and relevant DePauw liberal arts education that results in a life of meaning and means.
ASSURES ALUMNI that the value of their DePauw degree maintains its value, especially with their ongoing support of our students and graduates.
PROMISES EMPLOYERS AND GRADUATE SCHOOLS that they can expect well-prepared and accomplished graduates.
EXPECTS FROM STUDENTS that they fully invest in the DePauw Portfolio of rigorous academics and robust experiences and graduate in good standing within four years.
GUARANTEES that DePauw’s liberal arts education will lead to post-graduate engagement. If not, DePauw will provide an entry-level professional opportunity or additional semester tuition-free.
A conversation with Dr. McCoyPlay Recording Here
- What is the Gold Commitment?
- Why is DePauw doing this?
- What will DePauw do differently? Will staff and faculty do anything new?
- What changes for all the students currently enrolled?
- Why is DePauw moving forward with the Commitment at this particular time?
- Will the entry-level professional opportunity be in the graduate's area of interest?
- Who is going to give graduates the professional opportunity? Is DePauw going to hire them all?
- What is the student's responsibility within the Commitment?
- What happens if a student participates fully in the Commitment pathway but doesn’t get a job or isn't accepted into graduate school?
- Is DePauw going to do anything differently with the Commitment in place?
- Is this to try and attract more students?
- Aren’t other universities offering guarantees?
- Does DePauw provide free tuition and room and board?
- Is the job DePauw offers a full-time job?
- Which employers will hire students who don’t get a job on their own?
The Commitment is primarily about two things – DePauw’s commitment to the liberal arts, which we believe to be the gold standard for higher education, and DePauw’s commitment to each and every student. DePauw’s graduates have always been very successful, but now students are investing more than ever in their college education. We want to assure them they will get a return on that investment and that they are free to pursue their passion.
The vast majority of students who graduate in good standing, within four years, and fully participate in their education and job search will obtain a job on their own or be accepted into graduate school. It is the intention of the Gold Commitment that every student will have this outcome within six months of graduation. For the few who might not, they can return during a fall or spring term, tuition-free, to further hone their skills, or DePauw will secure for them a professional, entry level position for a minimum of six months.
The Commitment is also a pledge to our alumni that their DePauw degree will hold its value due to the high quality of our education, and many of our alumni work to help DePauw students and graduates to have the same opportunities that they had.
DePauw graduates have had successful outcomes for 180 years. Our reasons for the additional depth of our Commitment are very straightforward: 1) There is an assurance gap – families are justifiably worried that an investment that can be at the level of a house might not pay off; the Commitment enables us to assure them that it does. It’s not enough that current students are already successful; they need assurance that they will continue to be so. 2) National data shows that the 15-17 year olds readying themselves for college are worried about employment; they’ve seen their families struggle during the Great Recession. They are saying loud and clear that they want experience, and at its core the Commitment is about fusing academics with practical experiences and ensuring each student is individually advised on connecting these pathways.
We believe the world needs DePauw graduates. While technology and industry continue to transform, collaborative problem solvers are needed in every type of endeavor. Employers are experiencing a shortfall in people who know how to think clearly, read and write well and have probing, inquisitive mindsets. These aspects of the education we offer are lasting, but the need for them has become greater over the last two decades. Our Commitment provides us internally with an intense focus on student outcomes, and externally meets the needs of new generations.
Yes! DePauw's faculty and staff have already led our students to a high post-graduation success rate. Our most successful students take full advantage of curricular and co-curricular opportunities that are the foundation of liberal arts education. With the Commitment we are providing better support and resources for every student to do the same through more guided selection and reflection of co-curricular activities and their connections to the curriculum. To do this we are integrating our curriculum and co-curriculum more explicitly and broadening advising to more effectively guide students in both of these areas of the liberal arts.
We’re also enhancing our Centers with directorships to increase networking and hands-on experiential opportunities; those directors will actively inform faculty of opportunities and support them in advising students of those opportunities and networking capabilities.
First, we need to emphasize that we are already committed to every student and doing many of the things that we are calling attention to with the Commitment. At this point, we’re codifying it – or making it official – so that families can clearly see the benefits of a DePauw education. Our track record of graduate school enrollment or employment is high, so most of our current students who have been working with their faculty and taking advantage of our Centers, Honors, Fellows and other co-curricular opportunities won’t need the guarantee. The partnerships we are already enhancing with the Commitment will benefit current students as well.
News media and pundits in recent years have questioned the value of a liberal arts education and whether it leads to employment. With the Commitment, we are assuring families that we know it does! Our graduates prove this year after year. We could not do this without our existing track record, and we want the world to know that our classical liberal arts education leads to powerful outcomes. The thinking, writing, speaking, collaboration and interpersonal skills of liberal arts students are in demand – national studies show that these are the top skills our employers are seeking – but are in short supply. DePauw’s small size and alumni connections enables us to work with individual students to develop their abilities and help them achieve excellence at DePauw and beyond, and should be leveraged to our students’ benefit.
In addition, we wish to differentiate ourselves and attract those students who want to be fully engaged in a collaborative, individualized, thought-provoking educational experience that leads to lifelong value.
We want to emphasize again that we don’t believe the vast majority of our students will need our help in pursuing their post-graduation path, but for those who follow the Commitment pathway, we’ll make sure they find that first entry level position where they can prove themselves and obtain additional experience. For the small number of students who need our help, our recommendations, leads and – ultimately – jobs, will be based on what that individual student is interested in, in situations that motivate and interest that student, and in causes, issues and opportunities that each student can contribute to in a meaningful way.
Based on previous graduate success, we expect less than 5% to pursue the guarantee, but for those who do, the positions and organizations will vary. Dozens of alumni-led or owned organizations already hire DePauw alumni and are proud to do so, and dozens of top employers regularly seek out and employ DePauw graduates.
To date, many Trustees and alumni have already offered to support the Commitment by hiring graduates who participate in the Commitment, just as they already do in general. Our connections, professional and academic, in many fields will provide the doorway to job opportunities for many. Career counseling, internship opportunities and professional associations will also provide opportunities for networking during their experience. For those small numbers of students who have not found employment on their own or been placed with an employer, we will assist them with our connections.
Above all, we expect students to be members in good standing of the larger community and to represent themselves and DePauw with character and integrity. They must be responsible members of this community.
Next, they must participate fully in the opportunities within our student pathways, and the university is prepared to advise them from day one to ensure they are not only advancing in their studies, but taking advantages of hands-on experiences DePauw provides, or that they discover on their own. Finally, they must actively seek a career path or graduate school acceptance, with which DePauw can also help them. Participating in and reflecting on co-curricular activities that are readily available will be part of the requirements if they want to take advantage of the guarantee. Once again, most students are already doing these things and more, but the Commitment helps us codify these in a holistic way.
Specifically, here are the Commitment's student eligibility requirements:
- Fulfill curricular requirements and graduate within 8 semesters [ten (10) semesters for those in a double degree program].
- Adhere to the standards set out in the DePauw University Academic Integrity Policy (as defined in the Student Handbook) with no lapses that result in an entry in the student’s permanent record.
- Fulfill the requirements of the experience portfolio.
- Meet with Commitment adviser at least once each semester.
Good Community Citizen
- Remain a student in good standing (as defined in the DePauw University Student Handbook) throughout enrollment with no violation of the University’s Title IX Policy or community standards infractions that result in deferred suspension or suspension as defined in the Student Handbook.
- Have no criminal conviction other than traffic violations.
- Fulfill all financial obligations to DePauw.
What happens if a student participates fully in the Commitment pathway but doesn’t get a job or isn't accepted into graduate school?
This is a rare occurrence at DePauw. We could not make this guarantee if we were not confident in the outcome. The few who are not in graduate school or in their first job within six months are usually intentionally pursuing a different path. But certainly, for various reasons, a student might need the guarantee. If they have graduated within the Commitment, we will provide them an employment opportunity or the chance to hone their skills and knowledge for an additional Fall or Spring term, tuition free.
We’re already doing nearly everything in terms of the opportunities and quality of teaching and academic programs. We’re using the Commitment as a catalyst to better integrate the curriculum with co-curriculum, expand opportunities for practical learning outside the classroom, provide additional scholarships, and include co-curricular advising to complement classroom learning. We’re also enhancing our Centers with directorships to increase the practical opportunities and professional networks for our students. Center directors will more actively keep faculty informed about opportunities and support them in making connections for students.
More broadly, we hope the Commitment attracts more students to a liberal arts education. We believe the world needs liberal arts majors who are the sense-makers in today’s world. The major goal of the Commitment is to pledge to the success of each student. So, while we certainly want to maintain the number of students we have, and yes, we hope more students will be interested in our Commitment and to this superior liberal arts education, the intent is for families to know we “have their back.” As for numbers, DePauw will never be a large university. We are an intentionally, strategically small university, where learning in small classes is integral to analysis, inquiry, debate, discussion, dialogue and connection with outstanding professors.
A few are offering internship guarantees, and others offer tuition promises that keep the price of an education the same for four years, and a very few others might offer a guarantee of graduating within four years or an opportunity to return for a semester. But we don’t know of any university of our level or scope that guarantees a first job OR free tuition for a semester.
On-campus housing is 100% undergraduate, so room and board is not included. We also expect that returning students, having established more independence, will prefer to live off campus and be part of the Greencastle community.
It’s important to note that this is not a ‘placement service,’ and we expect students to invest fully in the job networking and career services opportunities we provide them, and to apply for positions on their own. For the few who might not be successful within the first six months of graduating, we’ll arrange a six-month professional position, enough time to build skills and references and for students to prove themselves. It could lead to longer-term employment, but we guarantee six months.
These will vary widely and there may be different ones each year. Dozens of alumni-led or owned organizations are proud to hire DePauw alumni, and many more top employers already seek out and employ DePauw graduates. The Outcomes page includes a list of companies who currently regularly hire DePauw graduates; at any given time, those companies are likely to change or revolve.
(RE)DISCOVER YOUR PASSION, CREATE YOUR PATH
Whether you know what you're going to be or you're still trying to figure that out, you'll build a portfolio of experiences in and outside the classroom that deepen and broaden your life.
We're confident in your success. And we aren't alone. Find out why our alumni say the liberal arts experience at DePauw prepares students for life.