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The year that was: alumni engagement in 2018

In 2018 the Alumni Office hosted events across the globe to engage and connect with the University of Tasmania’s 117,000 alumni spread across 115 countries.

Engaging with our alumni has been the focus of a busy 2018 at the University of Tasmania’s Advancement Office.

We pay tribute to our Alumni Advisory Committee which helps guide the direction of alumni activities and boasts members that truly go ‘above and beyond’ in their roles.

Our committee consists of: Professor Nathan Bindoff – Head of Oceans and Cryosphere Program for the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies; Lee-Anne Britcliffe Student Experience Liaison Officer for the Australian Maritime College; Professor Andrew Chan – Head of School, College of Science and Engineering; Sara Franz, Director Global Partnerships and Engagement; Professor Martin Grimmer, Executive Dean for the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics; Danielle Kidd, General Manager of Cradle Coast Campus; Matt Stevenson, Executive Officer of the College of Health and Medicine; Scott Sullivan College Manager for the College of Arts, Law and Education; Jess Robinson, President of the Tasmanian University Union as well as elected members Robyn Phillips (Tasmania); Catherine Williamson (Victoria) and Lisa Morisset (ACT).

Our program of activities aims to help alumni connect with the University and each other. To offer career networking and lifelong learning opportunities and the possibility for alumni to volunteer to the University in ways such as career mentoring or hosting students.

This year our team hosted alumni receptions and gatherings in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Singapore, Malaysia; Hong Kong; Jakarta; New York, San Francisco and San Diego.

Our global alumni chapters were supported this year again, and the model is being assessed for next year to encourage more Alumni Network Groups to activate in regions and communities within and external to Tasmania.

We announced the recipients of two prestigious alumni awards – the Foundation Graduate Award, which recognises the achievements of alumni in their early to mid career to Dr Emma Lee. And the Distinguished Alumni Award to Nicholas Heyward, who recently stepped down from his role as CEO of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra after 17 years of service.

The Lifelong Learning Program has enabled our alumni across the globe to connect through the online livestreaming service and delivery of interactive webinars. This program aims to provide a platform for sharing of ideas, research debate and discussion. It is wide and extensive –the University will have delivered more than 300 lifelong learning activities by the end of the year.

It’s been an exciting year of change and transformation for the University with the arrival of our new Vice Chancellor Professor Rufus Black in March and Provost Professor Jane Long in June.

The University of Tasmania is lucky to have two leaders who have been clear in their intentions of ensuring this is a university that has Tasmania, and Tasmanians, at the centre of their decision making.

The University has a strong place-based commitment to contribute to and improve the state of Tasmania, and from Tasmania contribute to the world.

Campus developments help connect academics and students with the community; to be a vibrant, contemporary and innovative; to be visible and to broaden access for students of all backgrounds.

To enable this vision, the University with Commonwealth, State and Local government support, is investing in the $300 million Northern Transformations project, which includes new state-of-the-art campuses at Inveresk in Launceston and West Park in Burnie.

As part of our vision to engage and listen to our alumni, we sent out a survey earlier this year. Thanks to everyone who took the time to take part. Our key purpose was to find out what it is that alumni are currently engaging with at the University and what they are most interested in.

The key findings revealed amongst social engagement opportunities, face-to-face gatherings have the most appeal.

Business opportunities of high interest include exhibitions and different networking events. And for lifelong learning, remote learning opportunities through online channels or recordings are the most preferred with pod-casts receiving significant interest.

The survey reinforced the fact that preference of communications methods varied by age.

Older Alumni (40+) tend to be more interested in information regarding achievements of other Alumni or current students and the strategic direction of the University.

On the other hand, Alumni aged 60+ are less interested in current activities and services (e.g. further study, volunteering).

A large challenge for an alumni cohort with such a broad age range and number of alumni, is a suite of services that is aligned to everyone’s needs.

With the new year fast approaching, the Advancement team already has 57 events confirmed for the new year, which is in addition to activities driven through the colleges and schools.

Other initiatives for 2019/ 2020 where work has already begun will be the online influencers, establishing alumni network groups, including on the West Coast, a podcast program and enhancing the mentor program.

In closing, I’d like to wish our alumni and their families and safe and happy Christmas and new year.

From the team here at the University’s Advancement Office we look forward to your continued interest in and support of the alumni relations program in 2019.

Thank you.

Janine Arnold
Associate Director Alumni and Events
Advancement Office
University of Tasmania

Published on: 19 Dec 2018 12:12pm