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Understanding the Effects of Current Students Receiving Support from Graduates and Graduate Associations at their Alma Mater
Recently, the importance of the role of graduates and graduate associations in supporting current students at their alma mater to maximize the performance of the university has been firmly established in Japan. In a previous experimental study focused on graduate services at our alma mater (2012-2014), the authors found that support from graduates and graduate associations to current students at the university not only benefitted the university but also provided the graduates and current students alike with the opportunity to gain in certain expertise. Students with the experience of receiving support from graduates of that university are highly likely to have the urge to support the university and its students after they themselves graduate. Furthermore, if students are fostered with this support of graduates, the strength of the role that the university plays in society will be heightened, and this will benefit graduates and lead to them maintaining and strengthening their links with their alma mater. There had been no nationwide study conducted on this. For this reason, this research was undertaken to investigate the current state of affairs in universities across the country in terms of how an attachment and sense of belonging to the university is fomented in graduate and current students alike due to support of current students by graduates and placement of interdependent enterprises to raise alumni consciousness. Of the 771 national, public, and private universities in Japan in 2016, a questionnaire was sent to all eligible members of 643 graduate associations across these universities in February 2017. Of these, 250 graduate associations returned completed questionnaires from their members, a response rate of 38.9%. A total of 1,702 questionnaires were returned.
This paper presents the findings of this study and reports specific details and trends found regarding the nature of support of current students by graduate associations of those universities. In addition, the possibility of the formation of an attachment to and sense of belonging to one’s alma mater will be discussed.
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