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They have Eyes but they See Not: Alumni Relations and The University of the West Indies Francis O. Severin Office of Administration & Special Initiatives The Second Annual Conference of ACHEA July 10-13, 2002 Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre Aim of Presentation:

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They have eyes but they see not alumni relations and the university of the west indies l.jpg

ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

They have Eyes but they See Not:Alumni Relations andThe University of the West Indies

Francis O. Severin

Office of Administration &

Special Initiatives


The second annual conference of achea l.jpg

ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

The Second AnnualConference of ACHEA

July 10-13, 2002

Hilton Trinidad & Conference

Centre


Aim of presentation l.jpg

ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Aim of Presentation:

  • Document for the UWI community and other customers/stakeholders what is taking place in Alumni Relations at The UWI;

  • Place Alumni Relations on the academic agenda as an area which is important enough to merit informed discussion;

  • Invoke constructive feedback in helping the institution to achieve its aim of a mutually productive relationship with alumni.


Reactions to ar at the uwi l.jpg

ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Reactions to AR at the UWI

  • Is the UWI into this sort of thing?

    (Astonishment)

  • What does this involve anyway?

    (Genuine doubt)

  • What does this involve anyway? (the ‘whatever’ or ‘what’s the big deal’ syndrome)


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

What prompts such Doubts?

  • Cynicism derived from:

    • Feelings of alienation from alma mater after years of institutional neglect;

    • Grievances, including poor treatment as students;

    • This group comprises mainly the GenXer’s born between 1961 and 1981 (classes of 1982-2002)


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Doubts (cont’d)

  • This group is located along a continuum:

    • The extreme and negative – forever wish to hold on to the hurt and distress apparently caused by The UWI;

    • The extreme and positive – although having had bad experiences, they welcome the new approach (including AR initiatives) by The UWI


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Doubts (cont’d)

  • Holding on to tradition – the consummate and traditional UWI employee. They believe:

    • AR has nothing to do with ‘unlocking West Indian potential’;

    • The UWI cannot support this excess called AR


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Doubts (cont’d)

  • Traditionalists, complacent and laissez-faire:

    • We have worked well for 54 years without a structure – why now?

    • AR is a soft area which requires no real structure – it will take care of itself.


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

The Positive Alumni

  • Responds positively to the news that AR is on the agenda at The UWI;

  • Commonly belonging, but not restricted to the:

    • Silent Generation, born between 1935 and 1942 (from The UWI’s first class of the Medical Faculty at Mona and beyond until 1963);


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Positive Alumni (cont’d)

  • Boomers, born between 1943 and 1960 (belonging to the classes of 1964-1981)

    Characteristics include:

  • Appreciation that their positive contributions to their respective societies give The UWI a positive image and profile;


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Positive Alumni (cont’d)

  • Appreciation of the link between the value of their UWI degrees and the regard with which The UWI is held;

  • Wish to ensure that The UWI’s valuable education is not lost for posterity’s sake (Sustainable Development);

  • Embrace the service culture that views students and alumni as valuable customers (in the case of employees who are alumni).


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Alumni Volunteerism

  • Alumni volunteerism is the linchpin of any successful AR programme;

  • Depends on a high level of pride, a sense of worth and nationalism;

  • Assumes a certain level of self-help


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

What motivates volunteers?

  • Achievement – Driven to achieve success in situations requiring excellent or improved performance;

  • Affiliation – Wanting to be with others and enjoying mutual friendship;

  • Power – Wanting to have impact on others.


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

What motivates volunteers

(cont’d)?

  • Unless the UWI and its Alumni Association can provide for such diverse needs, there is little chance of success;

  • The traditional activities such as homecomings, reunions and special events (typically the basis of AR in the USA) may not work the same magic today;

  • Figure 1 shows the positive and negative forces.


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Positive and Negative Forces


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Volunteerism must be Managed

  • A structure is necessary to manage volunteerism;

  • According to Benninghoff (2000):

    “Our very survival in difficult times will depend upon the connection our alumni can make between their institution and whatever is most meaningful in their lives. Our challenge may be to provide an important anchor; an enduring community that can adapt to the times and maintain the lifelong connection of our alumni family”


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

The Institutionalization of

AR at The UWI

  • In 1998, Vice Chancellor Rex Nettleford established the Office of Administration and Special Initiatives (OASIs);

  • One of its major functions is AR

  • OASIs established a structure for AR which was approved by F & GPC in 1999;

  • Figure 2 shows the Basic Structure for AR


Figure 2 l.jpg

ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Figure 2

Administration and Special

Initiatives

Cave Hill

Campus

Alumni Office

St. Augustine

Campus

Alumni Office

Mona

Campus

Alumni Office


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

‘Friend-Raising,Not Fund-Raising’ Visits

  • The Pro-Vice Chancellor, OASIs, has insisted that ‘friend-raising’ is the present priority;

  • Friend-raising visits to chapters have been undertaken to:

    • Serve as ‘ice-breakers’ – re-establish important link between alumni and the University;


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

‘Friend-Raising,Not Fund-Raising’ Visits (cont’d)

  • Provide alumni face-to-face opportunities with senior UWI personnel;

  • Allow UWI personnel to bring alumni up-to-date with significant developments at the UWI (in a personal way);

  • Collect alumni information as initial database re-building effort;


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

‘Friend-Raising,Not Fund-Raising’ Visits (cont’d)

  • Distribute newsletters and other relevant information;

  • Distribute memorabilia, etc.


Friend raising visits catharsis for alumni l.jpg

ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

‘Friend-Raising’ Visits –Catharsis for Alumni

  • The friend-raising visits provided an unprecedented opportunity for alumni to vent their feelings:

  • Major issues included:

    • Public relations matters;

    • Everlasting wait for confirmation of acceptance to The UWI;

    • Distance education;


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

‘Friend-Raising, Catharsis for Alumni (cont’d)

  • Unfriendly environment for students on the campuses;

  • Examination matters.


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

New Beginnings

  • The Database;

  • Statutory matters;

  • Strategic matters;

  • Chapter activities.


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Trends in AR

  • Community service

  • Advocacy.


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Conclusion

“It is still relatively early days for AR at The University of the West Indies ….. OASIs and The UWI have begun slowly and painfully, but surely, to chart the course for a structured and systematic AR function ….. Progressive thinking suggests that AR must be the tie that binds teaching, research and outreach. It is the University’s call now.”


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ACHEA Conference July 2002

‘The Challenge Of Quality for the Higher Education Administrative Professional.’

Ensure that your

UWI Degree Endures

By Becoming

Active Alumni


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