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Otago students invited to take part in world-first study

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Monday 19 September 2011 9:57am

About 2000 University of Otago final-year students have just been approached to take part in a world-first study of graduates.

The Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand (GLSNZ) is being commissioned by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara. It involves surveying 14,000 final-year students across New Zealand about their lifestyles, employment, projected career development, and their health and well-being. As a longitudinal study, the participants will be re-approached for follow-up surveys in two, five and 10 years’ time.

The study will evaluate the ongoing impact of a university education on New Zealand graduates’ lives. The breadth of questions and length of time the study follows graduates into the future are the features which make the study a world first.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says the results of this study will be extremely valuable to universities and policy makers – both here and overseas.

“We believe a university education provides an excellent foundation for employment, but more importantly it provides an excellent foundation for life. It will be fascinating to document the different ways that university education impacts on graduates’ lives as they progress. To capture and analyse this information empirically, rather than just hear it anecdotally, will mean we can incorporate the findings into our future planning.”

Professor Hayne says the fact the study is being led by researchers at Otago reflects the extensive expertise in longitudinal studies that the University possesses.

The GLSNZ study is being carried out by the internationally-respected National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR) – a multi-university group headquartered at the University of Otago and responsible for the world-renowned Dunedin Multi-disciplinary Study, which has followed the lives of about 1000 people from birth to now (the participants are around 40 years old).

Centre Co-Director Professor Richie Poulton is leading the GLSNZ study. He says the survey will provide the most detailed picture to date of what actually happens to graduates after they leave university.

The study will provide a great deal of information about how graduates’ lives unfold: how their careers develop, the university-related influences which have the greatest impact on their employment success, when they begin to have families, where they live, the state of their finances, their health and their social relationships.

It will also generate important information about less tangible aspects of their post-university life – such as how their values, attitudes and behaviours evolve over time – and what contribution they make to broader society.

Results of the initial baseline survey will be released in February next year.

For further information, contact

Dr Kaa-Sandra Chee
GLSNZ Project Manager
Tel 64 3 479 5087

David Thomson
Director of Planning & Funding
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 7716

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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