University graduates are a useful resource that can provide important information about the programme they studied at the university. This information could be in the form of feedback and evaluation which the university could utilize in improving academic programmes as well as running future ones. One way to obtain and make use of such strategic information is through graduate tracer studies (GTS). The Uganda Christian University (UCU) recently conducted a GTS. The experiences of the researchers are shared in this paper. The Uganda Christian University GTS referred to here as UCUTRACE, was part of a wider training on University Graduates’ Tracer Study Course (UNITRACE 2.0) in East Africa (2015-2016). The training targeted university managers and academics to train in GTS processes in scientific and systematic ways, at universities in East Africa. Participants in the training were drawn from 10 public and private universities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Each university provided two researchers who planned and conducted GTS at their institutions in sync with the training process, which had a series of four training workshops and two online mentorship sessions. The overall objective of the training was to develop skills for university managers, in order to be able to design, implement and analyse graduate tracer studies, as part of internal quality assurance systems. Further to this, pragmatically, each pair of researchers designed and conducted a GTS at respective universities, this paper presents experiences of the pair at UCU. The paper presents important selected results that UCU can use for quality enhancement of teaching - learning and service delivery. The objectives of this paper are: one, to describe the methodological experiences of conducting the first GTS at UCU; and two, to present selected results that attest to how GTS results can be utilised to enhance academic programmes and learning environments at an East African university. The relevance of these results to quality enhancement will resonate with other East African universities that are affiliated to the inter university council for East Africa (IUCEA). Researchers developed and implemented a project action plan (PAP) that was used in guiding the process of conducting the GTS. A survey design with a target group of graduates for the year 2012 was adopted. Representative employers of the graduates were also purposefully selected. Data (N=2031) was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) as descriptive statistics and reported in frequencies and percentages. Results show that the overall knowledge gained, relevancy of study materials, programme course content, quality of teaching and management was effective and efficient (mean=77.4%). However, weaknesses were reported regarding programmes offered and employability of the graduates. Based on the findings, the surveyed graduates offered important feedback for curriculum relevance, identification of best pedagogical teaching and learning practices and enhancement of quality education.
Keywords: East African higher education, graduate tracer studies, ICT, methodological experiences, quality enhancement, UCU.