Browse by Professional Interest

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Do Traditions Matter?
CURRENTS Article Illinois State University's traditions website features 15 traditions that combine the best of the 159-year-old university's history, student life, academics, and athletics. The goal is to improve alumni engagement, encourage philanthropy, and "reflect what ISU strives to be" by identifying the university's traditions, which include places, activities, and historical events, and making them a core part of ISU's culture.

Please Feed the Website
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the Harvard University Alumni Association's effort to both connect with public-service-minded alumni, as well as other like-minded members of the Harvard community and help them connect with one another through its Public Service on the Map website. Though the website wasn't intended to stay around longer than a year, the HAA has learned important strategic lessons from the site's successes and failings and is looking at ways to breathe new life into it.

Advance Work: Elective Exams
CURRENTS Article Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration started a weekly online quiz as a way to drive more people to the Web site and engage alumni and prospective students.

Reunion Is in Hand
CURRENTS Article For its 150th anniversary of class-based reunions, Princeton University created Reunions Mobile, a mobile Web site that provides a portable way to communicate maps, schedules, and important messages to thousands of returning alumni.

Advance Work: Standing Out in a Crowd
CURRENTS Article Taking a page from the corporate world, the University of California, San Diego Alumni Association has created a crowdsourcing site to enter into a new dialogue with alumni.

Advance Work: Risky Behavior
CURRENTS Article GoCrossCampus, an online game created by five former and current Ivy Leaguers, is scoring big points for alumni relations.

Advance Work: Map Attack
CURRENTS Article Dickinson College is using Google Maps to put a new spin on the alumni directory.

Advance Work: Conformity at Its Best
CURRENTS Article Massachusetts Institute of Technology programmers and project managers develop a way for alumni volunteers to easily create Web pages for their chapters or affinity groups.

AdvanceWork: In Memoriam
CURRENTS Article Corning-Painted Post High School’s alumni association pays special attention to the passing of alumni and friends. Since 1997, president Dave Conlin has maintained pages on the association’s Web site that memorialize deceased alumni, as well as deceased parents and children of alumni. “They’re always very appreciative,” Conlin says of former students’ reactions to his efforts.

Winners at Heart
CURRENTS Article Profiles of 12 winners of CASE’s 2004 Circle of Excellence awards. The winning alumni relations programs offered creative ways to generate revenue, use technology, or support a campus cause. In the development categories, campuses showed how to use flash e-mail annual giving solicitations and speech-writing students to attract donors. Communications winners relied on humor, creativity, and unconventional publications. And top advancement services shops highlighted the importance of identifying top campus prospects, working as a team, and maintaining accurate data.

AdvanceWork: Where Have All the Portals Gone?
CURRENTS Article Internet services companies have found that offering free alumni portals--a model that relied on the expectation of income from marketing to alumni--is unprofitable in today’s Internet environment. Rather than pay companies to maintain their portals, many institutions have given up offering portals and chosen to refocus on their campus alumni Web sites.

The MIT Way
CURRENTS Article The secretary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni association discusses the operation of MIT's Alumni Network Services program. About a third of all MIT alumni have registered for the Internet-based program, which provides such services as lifetime e-mail forwarding and an online alumni directory. The author emphasizes the importance of making Internet-based services consistent with the association's mission, priorities, and desired outcomes, and lists nine operating principles that have guided the MIT project since its inception.

Entering A New Domain
CURRENTS Article Some alumni associations and campuses are partnering with commercial companies to create Web portals -- commercial gateways tailored for alumni that offer one-stop access to Web features. Such portals can: 1) generate significant revenue through advertising and e-commerce connections; 2) capture daily traffic from alumni and student users; 3) serve as a means to coordinate campus Web content; 4) keep official campus and alumni Web sites advertising-free. To be successful, a portal must have high usability, technical quality, helpful support, and good awareness. A resource list names of some commercial portal developers, and a sidebar presents negative opinions on institutional use of portals.

Click Here for Career Support
CURRENTS Article Many alumni associations are offering their members online career services that include access to job listings, opportunities to post resumes, and links to career resources. These offerings greatly enhance an association's career services programs and may even produce income. Most associations partner with commercial career-service vendors, which requires little investment and may generate revenue; the article lists four such vendors and provides tips for assessing vendors. Some associations operate their own services; two examples are Augusta State University and UCLA. In either case, it's important to consider online career services just one part of a larger career assistance package.

In Advance: What Works on the Web?
CURRENTS Article The article looks into three benefits alumni association Web sites should offer alumni. First, alumni want to feel connected with other alumni; they want to be aware of events happening on campus; they want access to university resources; they seek job and career networking possibilities; and they desire opportunities for continuing education. Second, alumni feel the need to receive online benefits of their alumni association directly. Third, alumni demonstrate interest in receiving added-value content about their alumni association online.

Showcase of Sites
CURRENTS Article Presents four higher education institutions and the unique features of their alumni Web pages. Dickinson College offers an online reunion. The University of Michigan gives sophisticated online career services. Colorado College presents an economics course, “The Deficit, Debt, and Generation X as part of its continuing education courses. And the University of Texas provides a chance to go cyber shopping for memberships and merchandise. For each of the institutions profiles, details are provided about how the idea developed, the number of visits the site received, the number of staff involved, costs, and results. A sidebar article briefly describes what's happening on a dozen other alumni web pages.

Coming Up Next
CURRENTS Article Examines three trends in the management of alumni office Web site. First, alumni Web sites are featuring more valuable offerings. Examples include directories of alumni e-mail addresses and alumni career networking areas. More campuses are now using professional Web site designers, rather than relying totally on staff and students. Finally, campuses are starting to market and evaluate their Web sites. Alumni magazines, mailings, and e-mail newsletters are valuable sources for marketing a Web site.

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