Dissecting the Magazine

Readership survey results

Continuous improvement is ingrained in the Harvey Mudd community, and so it is within the editorial staff of the Harvey Mudd College Magazine. This past summer, we participated in the CASE Member Magazine Readership Survey for magazine editors at colleges, universities and K-12 institutions that are members of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Our second such survey (our first was in 2011), it helps us evaluate how readers view this magazine and allows us to compare the results to those of other institutions. We sent the survey to a random sampling of 2,000 readers for whom we have email addresses and received 227 responses back (an 11 percent response rate; +/- 2 percent margin of error). The responses provide valuable information on how we can best address readers’ preferences.

We’re happy to report that the magazine is well-read. Respondents read nearly every issue; they spend at least 30 minutes reading some to all of it; and they keep their issues a month or more. They overwhelmingly prefer the print version, with both print and mobile versions being the second preference. (Remember, you can access current and past issues online at magazine.hmc.edu, and if you’d prefer to receive an electronic version only, just let us know: communications@hmc.edu.)

Respondents rate the overall quality of the magazine highly. This includes content, cover, ease of reading, layout and design, photography and writing. Most agreed that the magazine “strengthens my personal connection” to Harvey Mudd. Mainly, it reminds them of their experience at HMC and helps them “feel more in touch with their graduating class,” and it also encourages them to support the institution financially.

Magazine covers

There is a strong interest in stories about students, alumni (“more class notes!”) and first-person stories written by HMC alumni. There is also interest in stories that discuss problems, controversial topics and opportunities (With this in mind, we developed the story on the ITR experience. See page 8.) Respondents’ magazine article suggestions include energy-water nexus, robots and AI, quirky/funny stories and HMC history.

Here are some topics that respondents are “Very interested” or “Interested” in reading about

Academics and Intellectual Life

  1. Curriculum
  2. Student research/academic experiences
  3. Faculty research

Campus Life

  1. Student achievements
  2. Campus controversies
  3. Student issues and opinions

Alumni Life and Activities

  1. Alumni in their professions
  2. Class notes
  3. Alumni chapter activities/regional programming and obituaries

We welcome your story ideas, class notes and letters anytime at communications@hmc.edu. Find the full survey report at bit.ly/CASEmagSurvey17.

Square Biz

Something that came up several times in the survey comments was the size of the magazine, which measures 10.5 inches x 11 inches. We’d like to hear from more of you before we change anything (or not). Please send an email to sgraham@hmc.edu with the subject “Magazine size” and let us know what you think.

Diagram of magazine size options.