Engaging Alumni: AstonConnect+ at Aston University

Photo of graduates wearing mortar boards and gownsThe JISC funded Relationship Management Programme is coming to an end and so I thought that I’d try and do a quick summary of each of the project Case Studies as they come in. I hope that this will provide you with a taster of the work that’s been done by the projects, which we’ll then summarise into a Compendium of Good Practice.

The first Case Study to land on my desk is Aston’s University’s “AstonConnect+ Supporting Mutually Beneficial Alumni Engagement“.

Project Outcomes

The project transformed the current engagement process between students and alumni by:

  • Enhancing the University’s Alumni Community website
  • Developing an international knowledge exchange hub by facilitating three special interest groups in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership using LinkedIn
  • Engaging a new group of stakeholders (certificate and diploma students are now included on the Rasier’s Edge database)
  • Establishing an alumni:final year mentoring programme
  • Creating an online searchable archive of the University’s public lectures
  • Creating a showcase of alumni talking about their chosen career with top tips to help final year students transition into work
  • Creating a showcase of successful and up-and-coming alumni
  • Integrating existing systems.

Challenges

There were some unexpected issues (almost all of which were resolved), such as:

  • Maintaining password protection of some content, because of licensing agreements
  • More mentors than mentees for the alumni:final year student programme
  • Low take-up rates for the alumni:alumni programme (so it won’t be pursued at this time)
  • Public lectures had to be edited or reformatted to make them suitable for YouTube
  • Not all alumni who were interested in talking about their career were able to get to campus for filming or were reticent about being filmed
  • Lack of in-house resource for the website redevelopment.

Benefits

Although it is perhaps too soon to record any metrics, the following benefits have been identified:

  • More efficient processes as a result of integrating existing systems
  • Improved ease of use when adding content to the website leading tosavings in time and resources
  • Alumni:final year student mentoring programme now embedded as part of the University’s mainstream activity
  • Creation of a bank of knowledge (alumni talking about their chosen career) to support the student transition into work
  • Bringing together staff from across the University
  • Improving business and community engagement
  • Improving student skills and employability.

Further Information

If you would like to find out more about this project, the following resources may help:

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