Communications/publications Volunteer opportunities Events Awards PREAMBLE

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1 PREAMBLE Dean Kate VandenBosch charged our committee to offer recommendations related to alumni engagement over the next decade. She asked us to consider alumni interests and the needs of CALS students and programs in order to match opportunities for engagement with alumni activity. She also charged us to consider the overall university goals for alumni in our recommendations. CALS has more than 40,000 living alumni, who represent 10% of the overall alumni population of UW- Madison. Each of these graduates had an individual experience while a student here and each of them has their own interests and circumstances which inform their ongoing relationships with their alma mater. Whenever possible, we hope that relationships can be built directly between alumni and current students, faculty and staff. The recommendations that follow are not meant to replace those individual bonds, merely to help determine how to allocate resources to support alumni engagement efforts in a climate of declining budgets and increasing demands on faculty and staff. Advancement activities across the university are undergoing a time of transition. Chancellor Blank recently completed her first six months as our new chancellor, and has announced her intentions to launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign in The UW Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Association also recently announced their intention to merge from separate non- profit organizations into a single organization that will serve UW- Madison. Specific plans about how the merged organization will operate are still being discussed. These transitions have made it more difficult for our committee to compare CALS activities to those of the university, but we believe that it will be important for college efforts to enhance university efforts in the future. Dean VandenBosch s charge included articulating priority audiences within our alumni base, so we have provided some guidelines for college leaders to consider. We hope our suggestions will be discussed within departments, by the department chairs as a group and also reviewed by the college s Academic Planning Council. We also hope that groups who are currently active will continue their activities because we believe that more interactions with graduates will continue to improve alumni participation for everyone. INVENTORY OF CURRENT ALUMNI OFFERINGS We began our work by inventorying the services currently available to CALS alumni. A variety of university and university- affiliated groups engage our graduates, including the Office of University ; the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; academic departments, programs and centers within CALS; the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA); the University of Wisconsin Foundation (UWF) and the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA). We identified five major categories of alumni engagement: Communications/publications Volunteer opportunities Events Awards 1

2 Fundraising The communications/publications category requires the least initiative on the part of graduates, because college and department communications are generally sent to all alumni without them taking action to subscribe. CALS alumni living in the U.S. all receive On Wisconsin magazine four times per year and Grow magazine three times per year. A very active graduate of two CALS programs who gives through UWF and has joined both WAA and WALSAA could receive as many as 17 alumni magazines or newsletters per year. E- mail communications, which are less expensive to distribute, are becoming an increasingly common alumni communication tools as well. Alumni who have an active address on file receive regular e- mails from the college, WAA, UWF and some CALS departments and programs. Volunteer opportunities are most well defined and recorded by both WALSAA and WAA. The volunteer opportunities at the college and department levels vary greatly and are not generally recorded in a way that provides tracking of alumni volunteers. Events can also be difficult to completely inventory in our decentralized environment. There are literally thousands of colloquia and seminars open to the general public on campus each year. There are very few reunion activities hosted for alumni anywhere at the university. WAA and WALSAA each sponsor athletic- related events. CALS alumni have few formal opportunities to attend non- athletic events outside of the Madison area. Awards are a minor component of alumni engagement overall, but nearly every unit does offer some type of recognition of alumni. Fundraising that targets alumni donors originates at all levels of the university and by both alumni associations. It seems possible that the volume of gift appeals could be confusing to alumni considering donations. Additional information: See the Alumni Services Chart for details on alumni offerings by category and sponsored by different UW- Madison groups. Recommendation #1: The dean should appoint a group to track implementation of the recommendations that follow to ensure progress is being made. Recommendation#2: Ask departments and programs to inventory their alumni offerings by category (communications/volunteer opportunities/events/awards/fundraising) so they can be used to develop best practices in each category. Recommendation #3: Departments not currently communicating with their alumni in any way should be provided with the support necessary to foster those contacts. ALUMNI FORECAST 2

3 Today, our alumni are primarily white (94%), mostly male (66%) and mostly Wisconsin residents (54%). The largest segment of the population is in their 50s (24%), although 6% are in their 80s and 14% are in their 20s. More than 25% of them live within an hour of campus, but more of them live outside of the U.S. (5%) than in any state other than Wisconsin. CALS student demographics are changing. In 2013, 60% of CALS undergraduate students were women, 30% were from out of state and 19% were minorities. Our students have changed over time, as have their academic interests. The CALS strategic plan outlined significant changes in student enrollment patterns over the last several decades. Biology is now the largest major at UW- Madison, with more than half enrolled through CALS. Biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, nutritional sciences, biological systems engineering and food science have all seen significant enrollment growth in recent years. Based on recent enrollment changes, it seems likely that the following alumni populations will experience the largest percentage of growth in the next decade: Biochemistry Biological systems engineering Biology Community and environmental sociology Environmental science Food science Life sciences communication Nutritional sciences These student trends reflect larger societal changes that will shape our alumni population 30 years from now. UW- Madison overall undergraduate enrollment is not likely to significantly grow in the future, but it is reasonable to expect student demand for CALS majors will remain steady at current levels or increase slightly, as job opportunities grow in CALS- related fields. A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the fastest growing jobs referenced many biology- related fields, including biomedical engineering, medical scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, and network systems and data communications analysts. 1 UW bachelors degrees in life science majors are up about 30% over a decade ago. Enrollment in these majors continues to climb, predicting an even greater complement of life science bachelors degrees in coming years. As a state university with statutory requirements to maintain 70% in- state student enrollment, our future alumni population is closely tied to the characteristics of Wisconsin s future citizens. The U.S. Census Bureau has forecast that Wisconsin s population will change in line with other states. Wisconsin s overall population is forecast to grow, and to become older and more racially diverse. In all 1 Report to the President: Engage to Excel Producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics engage- to- excel- final_ pdf 3

4 categories of growth, Wisconsin is in the middle of the pack. 2 Of particular interest for Wisconsin higher educational institutions, Wisconsin has been behind the U.S. average in bachelor s degree attainment (24.4% U.S., 22.4% WI in 2000) since 1940, and it seems likely that trend will continue into the future. We can also expect our future alumni to follow trends within the overall population living longer, most frequently living in suburban areas and moving more frequently. As geographic mobility increases, it seems likely that a greater segment of CALS alumni will live outside of Wisconsin or the U.S. In light of these trends, there are plans the college can make to adjust for shifts in the alumni population. Recommendations related to the importance of communicating with students on campus about future alumni roles, as well as recommendations related to strong college- alumni communications, are informed by these trends. ASSESSMENT OF ALUMNI DESIRES To establish a sense of how alumni would like to engage with us, we reviewed a variety of existing research, and we supplemented that research with an online survey, e- mailed to CALS alumni in October Existing data contained several key points: The majority of CALS alumni live relatively close to campus. 25% of CALS alumni live in the Dane County area, and 51% of them live in Wisconsin. The recent trend of increasing undergraduate enrollments (40% in the last ten years), coupled with flat graduate student enrollments, means that among our recent graduates, a higher percentage are bachelors alumni than was previously the case. UW- Madison alumni have a strong affinity to the physical campus and its beauty. Publications are well received by alumni, but donors would like to have more information on the impact of their gifts. Our e- mail survey to alumni also provided useful information on the 1,099 respondents: Only 158 respondents (14%) said they would be interested in a stronger connection to CALS. 32% answered no and 53% responded maybe. 3 A majority, 41%, feel the strongest connection to UW- Madison as a whole. 31% feel most connected to their department/major/program, 17% feel most connected to the college, and 5% feel most connected to an alumni organization. Grow magazine was the most common connection between alumni and CALS (74% read it). 57% read our monthly e- newsletter, 50% read newsletters from their department or programs, 33% visit campus and 28% report making a gift to supports a CALS department, program or student. 2 State Population Rankings Summary 3 Yes respondents most frequently cited an interest in connecting with students. Maybe respondents gave diverse reasons, ranging from already being too busy, to not being able to imagine options that would be meaningful to them, to (on the positive side) having a desire to spread good news about the college. 4

5 A majority of alumni respondents use social media 77% use Facebook, 56% use LinkedIn and 20% use Twitter. See the appendix for the survey data we reviewed and collected. Recommendation #4: CALS should conduct additional research over time to identify changing alumni interests, alumni engagement effectiveness and implement modifications accordingly. GAP ANALYSIS OF OFFERINGS VS. DESIRES We were charged with assessing the gap between our current offerings and the interests of alumni in connecting with the college. We have provided a summary of current offerings and our findings about alumni interests in the previous two sections. This analysis provides the basis for several of our recommendations. Most people are satisfied with the current alumni offerings. In some cases, alumni are not aware of the programs that are currently offered, so additional and repeated communication will be necessary to build awareness. Alumni give high marks to both the CALS and the UW- Madison alumni magazines, while reviews of departmental newsletters are slightly more mixed. Among those who are interested in additional engagements, there were two areas identified by alumni: o Non- athletically themed events o Opportunities for more alumni mentoring of current students Recommendation #5: Continue to invest in high quality CALS alumni communications through appropriate channels and provide departments and programs with best practices and training on alumni communication strategy Recommendation #6: Provide access and training for departments to assemble lists of their alumni for distributing communications Recommendation #7: Increase promotion of alumni programs currently offered in order to raise overall awareness, especially for non- athletic programs Recommendation #8: Increase promotion of academic and professional alumni events hosted by departments, FISC and the college in the WALSAA Express and on social media so they are as visible as the Fire- Up, a signature CALS alumni event. Recommendation #9: Enable alumni and students to develop professional or informal mentoring relationships. CALS should explore using LinkedIn to foster these professional mentoring relationships. Recommendation #10: Increase the use of multimedia including video and audio in alumni communications. 5

6 ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT AND GIVING TARGETS While we understand how targets can help measure progress toward goals, as a committee we feel that we are not in a position to declare definitive targets for the college. We have considered these topics and have provided some areas where we feel targets could be established, either by college leadership or by another committee specifically charged to develop target metrics. Any type of goal must begin with the data we currently have available. At 90%, UW- Madison has highly accurate home mailing addresses for alumni. There are many areas aside from home mailing addresses where we can improve alumni contact information and participation in communications: Increase alumni e- mail addresses (currently 16,939, 47%) Increase job information for alumni (currently 10,755, 30%) Tracking membership in student organizations on alumni records (not currently tracked) Tracking alumni volunteerism through WALSAA, departments and the college (not systematically tracked) Increasing Facebook likes (currently 1,750) Increasing Twitter followers (currently 2,476) Increasing LinkedIn group members (currently 294) Increasing alumni giving (1,416 in 2012) Increasing alumni event attendance (479 in 2012) Recommendation #11: Increase alumni e- mail and business contact information by 10% in Recommendation #12: Develop and implement systems to track CALS student organization membership. Recommendation #13: Foster alumni connections with CALS by increasing social media use by our alumni especially Facebook and LinkedIn. Increase overall social media followers by 200%. Recommendation #14: Encourage UW- Madison to provide a permanent wisc.edu e- mail address that can transition from student to alumni to ensure we have e- mails for all graduates. 4 Recommendation #15: Establish systems to track alumni volunteerism and participation, at the college and department levels, and ensure that this information is shared. Recommendation #16: Develop a script that departments can include in their exit interviews to capture e- mail address and job information, while also providing departments with talking points about why alumni engagement and giving is important to future students and to their program. RANKED PRIORITY AUDIENCES 4 WAA currently makes available uwalumni.com accounts 6

7 Unlike other institutions we researched who define alumni as those who have completed a semester of study, UW- Madison has a long- standing practice of defining alumni as those who receive degrees. This UW definition reduces the size of the overall alumni audience in ways that may be too limiting. As a committee, we discussed the many different ways the alumni population can be segmented by major, by degree type (bachelor s versus graduate), by geographic location, by profession, by student organization affiliation, by life stage (recent graduate, retiree, etc.). Each of these approaches would provide value, and also require staff resources. We want to encourage the college to continue to research the most effective segmentation of alumni based on additional research, more peer comparisons and by our own pilot programs. However, we also understand that our charge was to consider a smaller number of priority audiences. Relative to that specific charge, we considered two of the many possible approaches to segmentation: by major department and by student organization affiliation. Responses to our alumni survey demonstrated that many alumni feel a strong connection to their department, so it follows that the college should ensure that departments especially those who have a large alumni population should be supported in their alumni engagement efforts. Data on graduates over time that was included in the initial strategic planning report demonstrates how departmental demographics have changed over time. Biology, which has only existed as a major since 1999, is now the single largest major at UW- Madison. Much of our recent growth in undergraduate enrollment is in our three basic science majors. The trends in future growth would predict similar enrollment patterns in the near term. Because of these increases in undergraduate enrollment, we feel that it is important that the college ensure students in biology, microbiology, genetics and biochemistry are being engaged as alumni upon graduation. We also recognized a number of departments with strong current alumni engagement. These include dairy science, food science, life sciences communication and landscape architecture. One common element in each of these departments is a history of a strong student organization with ties to the department. We see this pattern as something that can be shared as a best practice among other departments with student organizations. Finally, we believe that involved students are likely to be involved alumni. This means that the college must make more contact with students while they are on campus. Recommendation #17: Connect with students while they are on campus to deliver stronger messages about what it means to be a future graduate, and identify opportunities where current students can be exposed to the importance of alumni activities. Recommendation #18: Invite every student to at least one alumni- related event before they graduate. 7

8 Recommendation #19: Ensure that programs with large student enrollments, specifically biology, microbiology, genetics and biochemistry, are actively connecting with their students and alumni after graduation. Recommendation #20: We believe that student orgs should be tested as a venue for collecting post- graduation data on career plans and contact information, and we also think student orgs can provide a format to discuss the importance of future alumni engagement after members have graduated. As the only student organizations with a college- wide mission, we believe that the CALS Student Association and the CALS Ambassador groups should be used as pilot groups. Recommendation #21: Share Best Practice Guides and tips on strategy with all departments, encourage them to share best practices among themselves and offer templates for communications and events whenever possible. 8

9 OPERATION PLAN FOR ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT This chart is meant to encourage accountability. It summarizes recommendations and suggests a deadline along with a single primary responsible party. Others will be involved in implementation. Recommendation Strategy Responsible Party #1: The dean should appoint a group to track implementation of the recommendations that follow to ensure progress is being made. #2: Departments and programs should inventory their alumni offerings by category (communications/volunteer opportunities/events/awards/fundraising) so they can be used to develop best practices in each category. Deadline 6 CALS Dean December 6 CALS Dean December Results #3: Departments not currently communicating with their alumni in any way should be provided with the support necessary to foster those contacts with their alumni. 7 CALS External May 2015 #4 CALS should conduct additional research over time to identify changing alumni interests, alumni engagement effectiveness and implement modifications accordingly. #5: Continue to invest in high quality CALS alumni communications through appropriate channels and provide departments and programs with best practices and training on alumni communication strategy #6: Provide access and training for departments to assemble lists of their alumni to use for distributing communications 6 CALS Dean Ongoing, beginning in CALS Dean Ongoing 6 UW Foundation May 2015 #7: Increase promotion of alumni programs currently offered in order to raise overall awareness, especially for non- athletic programs 7 CALS External August

10 #8: Increase promotion of academic and professional alumni events hosted by departments, FISC and the college in the WALSAA Express and on social media so they are as visible as the Fire- Up, a signature CALS alumni event. 7 WALSAA December #9: Enable alumni and students to develop professional or informal mentoring relationships. CALS should explore using LinkedIn to foster these professional mentoring relationships. #10: Increase the use of multimedia including video and audio in alumni communications. #11: Increase alumni e- mail and business contact information by 10% in #12: Develop and implement systems to track CALS student organization membership. #13: Foster alumni connections with CALS by increasing social media use by our alumni especially Facebook and LinkedIn. Increase overall social media followers by 200%. 2 CALS Career Services 6 CALS External 7 CALS External 5 CALS Academic Affairs 7 CALS External December June December 2015 (pending ABE launch) May December 2015 #14: Encourage UW- Madison to provide a permanent wisc.edu e- mail address that can transition from student to alumni to ensure we have e- mails for all graduates. #15: Establish systems to track alumni volunteerism and participation at the college and department levels, and ensure that this information is shared. #16: Develop a script that departments can include in their exit interviews to capture e- mail address and job information, while also providing departments with talking points about why alumni engagement and giving is important to future students and to their 7 CALS Dean June 6 UW Foundation December 2015 (pending ABE launch) 7 CALS Dean December

11 program. #17: Connect with students while they are on campus to deliver stronger messages about what it means to be a future graduate, and identify opportunities where current students can be exposed to the importance of alumni activities. 7 CALS Dean December #18: Invite every student to at least one alumni- related event before they graduate. #19: Ensure that programs with large student enrollments, specifically biology, microbiology, genetics and biochemistry, are actively connecting with their students and alumni after graduation. #20: We believe that student orgs should be tested as a venue for collecting post- graduation data on career plans and contact information, and we also think student orgs can provide a format to discuss the importance of future alumni engagement after members have graduated. As the only student organizations with a college- wide mission, we believe that the CALS Student Association and the CALS Ambassador groups should be used as pilot groups. #21: Share Best Practice Guides and tips on strategy with all departments, encourage them to share best practices among themselves and offer templates for communications and events whenever possible. 2 CALS Academic Affairs 7 CALS External 6 CALS Academic Affairs 6 CALS External May 2015 Biology Fall Microbiology Fall Genetics Spring 2015 Biochemistry - - Spring 2015 May May 2015

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