Washington State Magazine

Winter 2011


Winter 2011

[+]
In This Issue...

Features

When Memory Fades :: With memory notebooks and smart apartments that use motion technology to track their residents’ daily behaviors, WSU neuropsychologists are exploring ways to help patients and their families cope with age-related memory loss. Meanwhile, two scientists have discovered a means to restore neural connectivity. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: Smart Apartment Research }

Attention! :: Cell phones, Internet, car horns, children, commercials—all carry information and all work together to create in us what social scientist Herbert Simon calls “a poverty of attention.” How do you rise above the din to capture what is most important? You may be surprised to learn that one of the oldest forms of communication is still one of the best. by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Tips: How to focus your attention }

All About Everett :: The blue-collar Snohomish County city just 25 miles north of Seattle recently asked WSU to take over the University Center where graduates of its community college can go on to complete four-year degrees in a variety of disciplines, including engineering. Snohomish, Skagit, and Island counties have been underserved by the state’s four-year programs. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Map: Everett: City Snapshots }

Essay

Collegiate athletics in the 21st century :: by Thabiti Lewis

Panoramas

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Sabermetrics As Told By The Simpsons }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Recipes: Unifine Flour Cookbook from Leonard Fulton’s Fairfield Milling Co. (PDF, 2.2MB) }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Flourgirls and the WSU-Unifine connection }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: A talk with architect Jim Olson}

Departments

:: Sports: John Olerud: Faith, hope, and horses

:: In Season: Wheat: A 10,000-year relationship

:: Last Words: Are our pictures worth a thousand words? (Washington State Magazine 2012 calendar)

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Timeline: John Olerud’s baseball career }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Books and videos: Bread }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Calendar: Order your Washington State Magazine 2012 calendar }

Tracking

New Media

:: The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel by Alex Kuo

:: Building New Pathways to Peace edited by Noriko Kawamura, Yoichiro Murakami, and Shin Chiba

:: Montaña Y Caballo by Yarn Owl - Tyler Armour ’10, Tim Meinig ’10, Ted Powers ’09, and Javier Suarez ’10

:: New & Noteworthy: Standing Above the Crowd by James “Dukes” Donaldson ’79; Eliminate the Chaos at Work by Laura Leist ’91; Pick Up Your Own Brass: Leadership the FBI Way by Kathleen McChesney ’71 and William Gavin; The Itty Bitty Guide to Trees: A Children’s Identification Guide to Trees of the Inland Northwest by Jaclyn Gotch ’07 MED, Lisa Bird, and Amy Ross-Davis; The Alpine Tales by Paul J. Willis ’80 MA, ’85 PhD

Cover photo: William Lipe, PhD, Archaeology, born 1935 — came to Washington State University in 1976. (See First Words.) By Robert Hubner

Letters
Fall 2011 cover

WSM Reader Survey Results: So what do you think?

© Washington State University

Most of you really like us. Some of you don’t. A very few of you (2 percent) ignore us, but hardly anyone outright hates us. That’s the gist of the reader survey many of you recently participated in. Either way, we’re listening. And the most striking point of the survey was that you do indeed read us. 

We haven’t done a reader survey in quite a while, not because we’re not interested, but because they’re expensive. There comes a time, however, when an editor needs something a little more systematic, even more than your informal comments and letters, in gauging his readership. Fortunately, that time coincided with the offer of a free survey. Well, free in the sense that the Council for Advancement and Support of Education covered the costs, but we’re dues-paying members. They offered it to member magazines for comparative purposes. So readers of every participating magazine got the same questions.

The survey was conducted by Qualtrics, Inc., an industry leader in online surveys, using a random sample of 25 percent of our readership.

So, a brief synopsis:

Sixty-three percent of you read every issue, while another 24 percent read most issues. 

Sixty-six percent read most or all of each issue, and 80 percent of you keep it around for a month or more.

As far as what you like to read about in the realm of academics and intellectual life, you are most interested in faculty research. You’re not particularly interested in stories about curriculum or individual classes, but you are interested in student research and academic experience

Regarding alumni life and activities, you are much more interested in the professions of fellow alums than you are in their personal lives or in individual profiles.

You are very interested in institutional history and traditions, as well as campus facilities and growth.

Thirty-nine percent of you believe the magazine covers the institution accurately and objectively, while 37 percent believe we spin things a little but are generally accurate and objective. One percent of you do not find us an objective source.

When it comes to general interest topics, you are most interested in science, technology, and engineering. You’re quite interested in issues facing the local community, but even more interested in issues facing higher education.

But percentages aside, you were quite voluble with your written comments:

“Even though I live far away (in Tennessee) and rarely get to the state of Washington, it keeps me connected to the University and makes me glad to be a consistent donor.”

“It keeps me connected to the school.”

“Reminds me how I am connected to the University and the State ...”

Get the drift? Of course I’m picking these comments out because of the theme, but that theme was constant, and that’s what excites us most about your response. Back to the numbers, 57 percent agree and 30 percent strongly agree that WSM “strengthens my personal connection to the institution.”

That’s what we aim at, and we’re glad it’s working.

Thank you.

Questions and Results

How do you generally acquire information about your school?
How often do you typically read Washington State Magazine?
How much of each magazine do you read?
How long do you typically keep an issue of the magazine?
How much total time do you typically spend with an issue of Washington State Magazine?
Would you prefer to read your Washington State Magazine...
What is your interest in topics of:
Academics and Intellectual Life
Campus Life
Alumni Life and Activities
Institutional Affairs
General-interest
Rate the quality of Washington State Magazine
Agreement with this statement: "Washington State Magazine strengthens my personal connection to the institution."
Ways in which Washington State Magazine strengthens connection to the institution
Ways in which Washington State Magazine fails to strengthen connection to the institution
Actions taken as a result of reading Washington State Magazine
Degree you consider Washington State Magazine to be a credible source of information about the institution



Survey Results

How do you generally acquire information about your school?

All
information
Most
information
Some
information
No
information
No
opinion
Magazine 5.67% 32.71% 57.73% 3.40% 0.49%
E-mails from the institution 3.51% 28.74% 61.57% 5.60% 0.58%
Website 1.68% 18.11% 59.66% 16.25% 4.30%
Other institutional publications 0.42% 3.68% 38.32% 44.95% 12.63%
Local or national media 1.54% 10.84% 61.80% 21.21% 4.61%
Word of mouth / other alumni 1.42% 12.84% 59.40% 21.53% 4.82%
Other 1.87% 9.74% 14.98% 25.09% 48.31%

How do you generally acquire information about your school?

Comparison to similar publications [1]

All
information
Most
information
Some
information
No
information
No
opinion
Magazine 5.77% 33.25% 56.97% 3.47% 0.54%
E-mails from the institution 4.22% 28.38% 59.88% 6.53% 1.00%
Website 3.14% 20.13% 57.06% 15.94% 3.72%
Other institutional publications 0.68% 5.06% 41.66% 41.13% 11.46%
Local or national media 1.46% 12.82% 62.15% 18.81% 4.77%
Word of mouth / other alumni 1.35% 12.31% 59.53% 22.03% 4.79%
Other 1.62% 8.00% 12.85% 24.53% 53.01%

How often do you typically read Washington State Magazine?


Answer
No. of Responses %
Every issue 806 63%
Most issues 313 24%
Occasional issues 142 11%
Never read an issue 27 2%

How often do you typically read Washington State Magazine?

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
Every issue 59.51%
Most issues 25.93%
Occasional issues 12.21%
Never read an issue 2.35%

How much of each magazine do you read?


Answer
No. of Responses %
None of it 29 2%
Some of it 413 32%
Most of it 601 47%
All of it 248 19%

How much of each magazine do you read?

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
None of it 8.69%
Some of it 35.30%
Most of it 42.56%
All of it 13.45%

How long do you typically keep an issue of the magazine?


Answer
No. of Responses %
More than one month 564 44%
Up to one month 459 36%
Up to one week 190 15%
Discard immediately 67 5%

How long do you typically keep an issue of the magazine?

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
More than one month 39.37%
Up to one month 35.26%
Up to one week 20.06%
Discard immediately 5.31%

How much total time do you typically spend with an issue of Washington State Magazine?


Answer
No. of Responses %
60 minutes or more 367 29%
30 to 59 minutes 519 40%
10 to 29 minutes 295 23%
1 to 9 minutes 80 6%
Do not read it 23 2%

How much total time do you typically spend with an issue of Washington State Magazine?

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
60 minutes or more 18.53%
30 to 59 minutes 44.24%
10 to 29 minutes 29.42%
1 to 9 minutes 5.86%
Do not read it 1.96%

Would you prefer to read your Washington State Magazine...


Answer
No. of Responses %
In print 980 77%
Online 93 7%
Both 199 16%

Comparison to similar publications [1]


Answer
%
In print 71.19%
Online 10.09%
Both 18.72%

The number of topics that Washington State Magazine can focus on is almost unlimited. Please rate your interest in knowing about the following subjects:

Academics and Intellectual Life


Topic
Very
Interested
Interested Somewhat
Interested
Not
Interested
No
Opinion
Stories about individual
courses
8.30% 30.65% 44.37% 15.58% 1.10%
Curriculum 7.92% 27.94% 45.23% 17.72% 1.19%
Faculty research 21.27% 44.81% 27.85% 5.15% 0.93%
Student research/academic
experiences
17.14% 45.90% 30.60% 5.52% 0.84%
Faculty publications 5.51% 27.63% 46.69% 18.31% 1.86%
Faculty awards and
achievements
7.23% 28.93% 45.58% 16.57% 1.68%
Faculty selection promotion
retirements
5.91% 21.54% 47.30% 23.48% 1.77%
Individual faculty profiles 7.43% 33.33% 45.15% 12.74% 1.35%

Academics and Intellectual Life


Campus Life


Topic
Very
Interested
Interested Somewhat
Interested
Not
Interested
No
Opinion
Cultural events and
performances
16.05% 42.23% 31.50% 9.88% 0.34%
Athletics 32.89% 35.74% 19.30% 11.41% 0.67%
Visiting speakers 11.18% 38.15% 36.89% 13.11% 0.67%
Campus controversies 18.18% 40.66% 31.65% 8.59% 0.93%
Student achievements 15.24% 44.30% 33.84% 6.03% 0.59%
Student community service 10.77% 34.26% 39.39% 14.48% 1.09%
Student issues and opinions 11.24% 37.62% 37.87% 12.34% 0.93%
Extracurricular life and
activities
10.62% 33.31% 38.87% 16.10% 1.10%
Individual student profiles 9.78% 31.87% 38.03% 19.14% 1.18%

Campus Life


Alumni Life and Activities


Topic
Very
Interested
Interested Somewhat
Interested
Not
Interested
No
Opinion
Alumni chapter activities/
regional programming
17.82% 37.23% 31.43% 12.52% 1.01%
Alumni volunteers for
the institution
9.77% 32.71% 39.34% 16.65% 1.53%
Alumni in their professions 22.91% 43.23% 26.51% 6.61% 0.75%
Alumni in their personal lives 13.32% 34.57% 33.81% 16.86% 1.43%
Individual alumni profiles 15.26% 37.05% 35.29% 11.57% 0.84%
Class notes 23.33% 30.77% 27.81% 15.89% 2.20%
Obituaries 20.54% 32.24% 31.31% 14.31% 1.60%

Alumni Life and Activities


Institutional Affairs


Topic
Very
Interested
Interested Somewhat
Interested
Not
Interested
No
Opinion
Admissions policies and results 8.70% 30.57% 41.55% 17.65% 1.52%
Campus facilities and growth 20.07% 46.85% 27.20% 5.04% 0.84%
The institution’s financial status 16.18% 38.50% 35.55% 8.76% 1.01%
Fund-raising efforts 10.52% 31.99% 41.50% 14.56% 1.43%
Staff selection promotion
or retirements
5.84% 22.93% 48.82% 20.81% 1.61%
Commencement convocations
or ceremonies
4.47% 20.93% 48.52% 24.05% 2.03%
Institutional history and
traditions
28.80% 46.85% 19.48% 4.28% 0.59%
Strategic planning 12.75% 36.57% 36.06% 13.26% 1.35%
Stories about donors 9.60% 30.58% 40.02% 18.79% 1.01%
Message from the president 16.27% 38.28% 33.56% 10.88% 1.01%
The institution's financial status 14.36% 35.45% 38.81% 9.96% 1.42%

Institutional Affairs


General-interest Topics


Topic
Very
Interested
Interested Somewhat
Interested
Not
Interested
No
Opinion
Issues facing the
local community
14.13% 39.78% 34.06% 11.02% 1.01%
Issues facing
higher education
21.61% 41.97% 29.35% 6.31% 0.76%
Arts and culture 16.95% 35.42% 33.98% 12.54% 1.10%
Health and health care 14.48% 37.12% 35.27% 12.12% 1.01%
Business and industry 15.11% 44.81% 31.22% 7.93% 0.93%
Science, technology
and engineering
26.26% 44.97% 22.32% 5.54% 0.92%
Environmental issues 21.95% 38.35% 28.34% 10.68% 0.67%
Religion/faith-based issues 7.50% 20.99% 34.82% 34.74% 1.94%
Letters to the editor 10.02% 30.98% 42.76% 15.40% 0.84%
Global/international issues 16.03% 35.29% 36.15% 11.59% 0.94%

General-interest Topics


Please rate the quality of Washington State Magazine on the following:


Area
Excellent Good Average Poor Very Poor No
Opinion
Content 36.10% 48.78% 12.34% 0.92% 0.17% 1.68%
Cover 56.26% 35.43% 6.21% 0.67% 0.08% 1.34%
Ease of reading 40.15% 45.18% 11.48% 1.17% 0.34% 1.68%
Layout and design 41.23% 44.58% 11.08% 1.01% 0.25% 1.85%
Photography 60.25% 32.52% 5.13% 0.59% 0.08% 1.43%
Writing 38.22% 46.46% 12.46% 0.76% 0.08% 2.02%

quality of Washington State Magazine

Comparison to similar publications [1]


Area
Excellent Good Average Poor Very Poor No
Opinion
Content 26.48% 55.56% 14.18% 0.64% 0.27% 2.87%
Cover 43.58% 43.87% 8.84% 0.66% 0.12% 2.94%
Ease of reading 37.05% 49.10% 10.59% 0.57% 0.10% 2.59%
Layout and design 33.11% 49.99% 12.91% 0.89% 0.06% 3.05%
Photography 44.53% 43.18% 9.04% 0.49% 0.04% 2.71%
Writing 27.92% 54.31% 13.93% 0.56% 0.15% 3.13%

Please indicate your agreement with this statement: "Washington State Magazine strengthens my personal connection to the institution."


Answer
No. of Responses %
Strongly agree 352 30%
Agree 664 57%
Disagree 66 6%
Strongly disagree 17 1%
No opinion 56 5%

agreement with this statement: Washington State Magazine strengthens my personal connection to the institution.

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
Strongly agree 27.44%
Agree 60.09%
Disagree 5.01%
Strongly disagree 1.27%
No opinion 6.18%

Please indicate all the ways in which Washington State Magazine strengthens your connection to the institution. (check all that apply)


Answer
No. of Responses %
Serves as a source of continuing education 438 45%
Helps me to feel more in touch with my graduating class 281 29%
Encourages me to volunteer my time to the institution 128 13%
Provides useful career and networking information 210 21%
Reminds me of my experience at the institution 838 85%
Encourages me to support the institution financially 501 51%
Other: 86 9%

ways in which Washington State Magazine strengthens your connection to the institution

Comparison to similar publications [1]


Answer
%
Serves as a source of continuing education 59.21%
Helps me to feel more in touch with my graduating class 33.06%
Encourages me to volunteer my time to the institution 10.01%
Provides useful career and networking information 33.64%
Reminds me of my experience at the institution 62.41%
Encourages me to support the institution financially 34.05%
Other: 7.80%

Please indicate all of the ways in which Washington State Magazine fails to strengthen your connection to the institution: (check all that apply)


Answer
No. of Responses %
The magazine does not address topics of interest to me 44 56%
The magazine does not reflect my experience of the institution 39 49%
The magazine is not an objective source of information
about the institution
20 25%
The magazine is primarily a fund-raising tool 37 47%
Other 14 18%

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
The magazine does not address topics of interest to me 31.10%
The magazine does not reflect my experience of the institution 41.43%
The magazine is not an objective source of information
about the institution
19.37%
The magazine is primarily a fund-raising tool 32.96%
Other 20.67%

What actions have you taken as a result of reading Washington State Magazine? (check all that apply)


Answer
No. of Responses %
Attended an event 378 32%
Contacted a classmate or friend 226 19%
Submitted a class note 77 7%
Discussed or forwarded an article or issue 520 44%
Saved an article or issue 551 47%
Visited the magazine's or institution's website 365 31%
Written a letter or e-mail to the editor or institution 40 3%
Made a donation to the institution 424 36%
No action taken 199 17%
Other 43 4%
Volunteered for an activity 62 5%
Recommended the institution to a
potential student or family member
445 38%

actions have you taken as a result of reading Washington State Magazine

Comparison to similar publications [1]


Answer
%
Attended an event 34.69%
Contacted a classmate or friend 20.38%
Submitted a class note 7.30%
Discussed or forwarded an article or issue 40.99%
Saved an article or issue 44.72%
Visited the magazine's or institution's website 30.40%
Written a letter or e-mail to the editor or institution 3.63%
Made a donation to the institution 31.34%
No action taken 17.07%
Other 2.35%
Volunteered for an activity 5.18%
Recommended the institution to a
potential student or family member
35.97%

To what degree do you consider Washington State Magazine to be a credible source of information about the institution?


Answer
No. of Responses %
Consistently portrays the institution accurately and objectively 458 39%
Contains some "spin" but is generally accurate and objective 428 37%
Usually portrays the institution only in a positive light 141 12%
Is not a good source of objective information 16 1%
No opinion 126 11%

consider Washington State Magazine to be a credible source of information about the institution

Comparison to similar publications [1]

Answer %
Consistently portrays the institution accurately and objectively 29.55%
Contains some "spin" but is generally accurate and objective 41.72%
Usually portrays the institution only in a positive light 16.50%
Is not a good source of objective information 2.49%
No opinion 9.74%

[1]Compared to seven publications with circulation of 100,000 or more at doctoral-level public institutions.

Categories: Alumni, Washington State Magazine | Tags: Surveys, Readers

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