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Examining the Impact of

Student Engagement on
Alumni Relations
Group 3:
Holli Lashinsky
Nathan Mack
Kris Meyer
Jennie Pond
Kate Woodman

Student Engagement versus Alumni

Student Engagement - Time and effort students devote to activities
(Kuh, 2009).

Alumni Engagement - Convincing graduates to give back to college

(Catherwood, R. 2015)

Alumni giving rate has dropped 50% over the last 20 years.
(Allenby, 2014)

What is the importance of student

On-Campus Influencers:
Admissions - Positive admissions experience means students and alumni may assist in
student recruitment and retention
Academic Affairs - Guidance and advising is critical in empowering students and directing
them toward success.
Student Affairs - Multiple options for clubs, community outreach, or philanthropy
opportunities help students develop skills and communities beyond the classroom.
Alumni Relations Benefits:
Connection to campus from positive experiences
Developing a sense of loyalty and responsibility to give back
Maintaining a strong relationship with the college
after graduation

What unique opportunities and challenges

does the millennial generation pose?
A creative, entrepreneurial, passionate, and flexible generation
Acceptance of change, new ideas, non-traditional students
Embracing new technology

Alumni debt
Alumni philanthropy
Utilizing social media to maintain contact
Meeting students where they are
Capturing student engagement data while on campus
Sense of urgency, impatience, entitlement

How can you maintain positive

engagement beyond graduation?
Maximize technology and social media vehicles
Update with examples of activities, social media

Outreach and Engagement:

Networking (in person and virtual)
Meaningful Events (local and on campus)
Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities (local and campus)

Database Management:
Collect and store student data
Customized messaging accordingly

Alumni Relations - Staffing

Increases seen at
community colleges
Status quo at 4-year
Volatility seen at
Research Institutions
Decreases seen at PhD
granting institutions

Source: Alumni Relations Benchmarks, 2013 Edition, Primary Research Group, January 2013

Alumni Relations - Invested Resources

Alumni Relations
receives second lowest
percentage of operating
budget (12/1%)
Start-up institutions
lowest (11.4%)
BA institutions highest

Source: Benchmarking Investments in Advancement Results of the Inaugural CASE Advancement

Investment Metrics Study (AIMS), Knolls, 2015

Alumni Relations - Credentials and


Bachelors Degree
Masters Degree (AVP and above)

Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE)
Certified Financial Planners
Law Degree
Estate Planning certification
Meeting Planner certification
Special Event Planner certification


Strategic leader and manager

Creative, innovative, entrepreneurial
Organized project manager
Collaborative, team-oriented
Technology and data expert
Strong communicator
Social media and marketing skills
Public Relations
Knowledge of tax law and fundraising

Alumni Relations professionals are significantly impacted by the student experience.
It is critically important that the student experience be positive if Alumni Relations is to be
successful in alumni engagement.
Millennials are challenging to understand, please, and engage, yet there are opportunities
to exploit.
Alumni engagement trends are down
Investment in Alumni Relations has not changed and the results are concerning.
The job market for development offers considerable opportunity.

Allenby, D. (2014). Alumni participation: Class exodus. Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
Catherwood, R. (2015). Three paradigms for successful alumni engagement. Higher Ed Live.
Field, K. M. (2011). As cited in Hylton Truitt, J. (2013). The Relationship between Student Engagement and Recent
Alumni Donors at
Carnegie Baccalaureate Colleges Located in the Southeastern United States. A Doctoral Dissertation.
Kuh, G.D. (2009). What student affairs professionals need to know about student engagement. Journal of College
Development, 50(6), 683-706. doi:10.1353/csd.0.0099.
Mortenson, T. G. (2012). State funding: A race to the bottom. American Council on Education.
National Center for Education and Statistics

We would like to thank the following interviewees:

Dr. Catherine Augustine, Academic Adviser and Affiliate Assistant Professor of Education, Penn State University
Melissa Duttry, Director of Enrollment Services, Penn State University, DuBois Campus
Laura Peterson, Director of Alumni & Parent Relations, Franklin University Switzerland
Dr. Nona A. Prestine, Professor of Education, Penn State University
Darcy Rameker, Interim Director Student Activities, Penn State University
Dr. Angela Taylor, Dean of Academic Affairs, Sentara College of Health Sciences
Erin Thomas-Lewis, Associate Vice President Donor Relations, University of Iowa Foundation