School of Education and Human Services

Pawley Hall
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
248 370 3050

Alumni Interview Project Banner

SEHS Alumni Story Project

About the project

We are launching a new initiative called the OU SEHS Alumni Interview Project. This project will pair current students with alumni to have a conversation surrounding the alumnus/a’s OU experiences: college program and activities, favorite memories, why they chose OU, and what they believe makes SEHS special.

This is not a fundraising activity. At no time will we ask alumni for a financial donation. This is an opportunity for SEHS alumni to share college stories or perceptions and to meet the young people who are following in their footsteps.

The input alumni provide will be invaluable to us as we set long-term institutional goals and continue to improve on the student experience. After the interviews are complete, we will share with you what we have learned and how that information comes to shape the School’s future.


What will OU do with these stories?
OU wants to know about alumni’s perceptions of OU, how OU gave them the foundation to launch their careers, and how OU alumni are making an impact at work and in their communities.

The president, deans, and faculty don’t have the bandwidth to have these kind of in-depth conversations with alumni on a large scale. Therefore, student interviewers are serving as OU’s arms, legs and ears.

By using students, OU can reach hundreds of alumni quickly and easily. It’s also a chance for alumni to hear first-hand about what’s going on at OU from a student’s perspective.

The information gathered from the interviews will be used by:

  • Administration to set ambitious long-term university goals and strategic plans
  • Alumni Relations to design better alumni engagement programs
  • University Marketing & Communications to look at the effectiveness of their social media outreach and communications activities
  • School Deans to hear more about where their graduates are working and what they’re doing professionally
  • Admissions to tell prospective students about the careers and activities alumni pursue

Will I see my OU story used anywhere for promotional purposes?
If the OU Communications and Marketing department or Alumni Relations decides it would like to feature your story in some publicity activities, they will reach out to you directly. Nothing will be used without your permission first.

Should I expect a follow-up letter or call from OU?
OU will assemble and share a final report about the interview findings and how the information is being used by the university.

Why did I get picked for this project?
OU selects alumni with post-graduation participation history and close proximity to the university and its student interviewers.

For questions on the OU SEHS Alumni Interview Project, or if you would like to get involved, please contact Stephanie Lawrence at (248) 370-4233 or


A big thank you to all of our alumni for participating in the Alumni Story Project for Oakland University's School of Education and Human Services. It's through the stories and experiences that you shared that we are able to strategically propel our programming forward, keeping our students and alumni in mind.

As you may know, the Alumni Story Project was a pilot project for us. We're thrilled to see the results, share our challenges, and hear your feedback:

From June to August 2017, we were able to conduct 30 interviews with alumni from all walks of life. We spoke with retirees, those at the peak of their careers, and recent graduates who are just beginning to reflect on their experience at Oakland University. What were the key themes?

  • Oakland University provides a supported, connected family feel that we see growing with new traditions and an expanding set of on-campus activities. 
  • Our participants often chose Oakland University because of its close proximity and inexpensive programming, but many felt that it provided transferable skills that make our alumni competitive in the job market.

What should we at SEHS take away to improve our impact on students?

  • Provide more connecting opportunities for current students and those working in the field
  • Keep alumni connected with each other after they graduate
  • For teaching programs: provide well-rounded, supportive programming that prepares new teachers for approaching a diverse set of students, including special education and urban placements.
  • Be innovative and provide up-to-date programming for student preparation, especially in the area of technology.

On a more personal note, I wanted to share with you the positive impact you made on our student interviewers. In speaking with our students at the end of the project, they expressed how much they learned from conversations with you! The students came back with an expanded network, new strategies for managing a classroom, and tips to navigate their careers post-graduation. One student specifically told me that by participating in this program, she now feels more pride in being a Golden Grizzly.

We have created a 2-question survey about your experience participating in this project. If you would be willing to complete it, we would appreciate it. 

Participate in the survey


Thank you,

Jon Margerum-Leys

Dean, School of Education and Human Services