Alumni research enthusiasts: Submit your ICARe abstract today!
A few years ago, I met an alumni relations professional in Scotland at the CASE Conference. She shared with me that my academic research paper helped to convince her boss (an academic) that she needed additional resources for her alumni program.
I was surprised and thrilled. Then, I was puzzled.
Why did the academic article make the difference? (and I should add the article wasn’t even focused on alumni relations funding or resources). I remember skimming the article to find some clues. Then it clicked: it was the concepts, reaffirmed in a high impact, peer-reviewed journal, that offered the evidence needed: alumni investment in the long run would lead to long-term alumni support in the institution.
Academics love evidence, what better way than through research pathways familiar to them? You can read the original article ‘Beyond Philanthropy: Recognising the Value of Alumni to Benefit Higher Education Institutions’ here (and hit reply if you need a reprint) and the follow-up article (the tipping point as I understand for my Scottish colleague!) was this article ‘Higher Education over a Lifespan: A Gown to Grave assessment of a lifelong relationship between Universities and their graduates’
I’m not sure I can say there is limited alumni research anymore. From all different academic disciplines, from organizational behaviour to education to science, alumni has made a cameo appearance. Recently I read UBC’s Rebecca Paluch and her colleagues’ article on alumni-organization relationships and over the holidays I read Lund University’s article on entrepreneurship and alumni (open access). What is missing is a repository and a dedicated home for alumni studies and alumni research enthusiasts (thanks Becky Paluch for the latter phrase!).
This is why events like ICARe (International Conference on Alumni Relations) are so important – sharing good alumni practice and insightful alumni research. Submit your abstract here by the end of January!
Your challenge this week:
For alumni-facing professionals: Research also allows us to pause and reflect. Choose an academic alumni article you’ve been meaning to read and grab your favourite warm beverage and read for an hour! Watch the ideas fly!
For alumni and students: I’ll go off piste here. Consider your own research to explore career or opportunities that interest with alumni. Check out my University Affairs – Graduate Matters article here.
I had a brilliant Discovery Call with one of the Alumni Friday community this week (merci!) and I am game for more. If you are curious to hear about my speaking engagement at a university in Spain or my hosting of a Lebanese delegation at Trinity to discuss alumni capital or just discussing your own needs to inject alumni energy get in touch here.
Hope to see you at ICARe in Prague!
With alumni inspiration,