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Active university, interactive alumni : examining institutional advancement and building alumni relationships in an Irish university.

Gallo, Maria Luciana (2010) Active university, interactive alumni : examining institutional advancement and building alumni relationships in an Irish university. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis presents an Irish university case study-Oils coil-which examines alumni relationships and Institutional Advancement (IA). The research question is: How has IA emerged in an Irish university setting to build relationships with alumni? IA is defined as a strategic approach to building relationships with key university players-including alumni- to increase support for the institution (Jacobson 1986). Communications, development (fundraising) and alumni relations are the three main IA components. IA at Ollscoil is adapted from international IA practice. The Ollscoil IA offices are new and mirror the three IA components. Initially separate from other University functions, IA practice is becoming more integrated within the institution, responding to the higher education climate. The findings suggest that IA plays an increasingly significant role in steering the Ollscoil strategy. I contend that IA is also a catalyst in addressing the priorities ofthe University, such as increasing student enrolment, building the University's profile and elevating its position in international university rankings. Through IA practice, these priorities are fostered by alumni relationships. An alumni relationship building cycle, developed by consulting IA literature, provides the framework for analysing the case study. The role of the offices in charge of IA is to educate the University community on the new IA practice and to highlight the merits of alumni relationships for the individual as well as for the institution. IA systems, such as the alumni database, set a foundation for organising the alumni connections. The positive student experience, reported at Ollscoil, anchors alumni affinity to the institution. Social events entice alumni to re-engage with Ollscoil. Volunteering and philanthropy are also ways for alumni to "give back" to their alma mater. The findings show that individual alumni are at different stages of the relationship cycle and progress through this cycle by interacting with the University and with each other. IA at Ollscoil steers alumni interaction from a closed selfcentred focus to an open altruistic one. Building alumni relationships is the output of successful IA practice. The outcome is the benefit of these interactions for Ollscoil: from creating strong advocates to the ultimate advancement of the University. The title, 'Active University, Interactive Alumni' suggests that as IA takes root at Ollscoil, it creates ideal conditions for dynamic lifelong relationships between the institution and the alumni.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.522430
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 11:46
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2016 11:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14970

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