Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was to investigate graduate and employer perceptions in regard to the job preparedness level of graduates from a design technology program at a single Midwestern university in five skill category areas: (a) general work habits and skills, (b) communication skills, (c) technical skills, (d) graphic communication skills, and (e) project management skills.

This study was conducted as evaluation research and implemented an internal formative evaluation conducted through the administration of surveys to two distinct groups. Fifty-nine (27.4%) program graduates from 2001 -2006 completed and returned the 19-item survey, while twenty-seven (67.5%) employers of program graduates completed and returned the 15-item survey. This sample of employers may not have employed more than a small percentage of the graduates from 2001-2006.

The responses of graduates and employers revealed definite strengths and weaknesses of graduates in the job skill categories, along with areas that were modestly rated, but still need improvement. Through the examination of graduate and employer perception data, the following strengths in job preparedness skills of program graduates were identified: (a) the ability to work in teams and (b) the ability to follow a project to completion. The remaining job skill items under study in this research were rated with moderate scores, revealing the need for improvement in those areas. The following weaknesses in job preparedness skills of program graduates were also identified through this study: (a) the ability to work with clients, (b) the ability to communicate with clients, (c) skills in sketching, (d) knowledge regarding issues of salary and benefits offered in the industry, (e) the ability to determine project estimates, and (f) skills in utilizing project management software.