Trustee Task Forces Lead to Enhancements in Alumnae/i Engagement, New Conversations on Planning

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 2:32 pm.

The Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association is undergoing changes aimed at improving how the college engages with and serves its alumnae/i based on recommendations by a Board of Trustees task force.

The task force also called for even greater collaboration among the Alumnae Association and other College offices and departments including the Communications Office, Resources, Conferences and Events, the Career Development Office and others.

The changes, which will take place over the course of the academic year, are the result of recommendations made by the Task Force on Alumnae/i Engagement in a report to the Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees this April. The recommendations of the task force have been endorsed by both the College’s board of trustees and the Alumnae Association Executive Board. Made up of alumnae/i and administrators, the task force met from fall 2009 to spring 2011.

“Bryn Mawr is defined by its alumnae/i. We owe it to them to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support them in every way possible,” says Alumnae Association Executive Director Wendy Greenfield, who served on the task force.

Among the task force’s overarching recommendations is a strategy to better tailor alumnae support based in part on generational and interest groups. The recommendation is a response to alumnae/i requests for programs and events that overlap with where they are in their lives and careers, providing content and engagement opportunities around topics and life issues relevant to particular groups among the seven decades of living Bryn Mawr alumnae/i.

“Part of the core mission of the Alumnae Association is to enrich the personal, professional and cultural lives of our alumnae/i,” says Greenfield. “For our youngest alumnae/i, professional-development support is probably a much greater need than it is for our alumnae/i who have already established themselves. Our new structure allows us to be more responsive to those differences.”

Under the new structure Alumnae Association staff will be responsible not only for individual events such as reunion but will also be “primary cohort managers” for alumna/ie at specific stages in their lives. For example, there will be a cohort manager for the most recent alumnae/i and current students, another for alumnae/i ages 30-45, etc.

“While each of our alumnae/i is unique, it is often the case that people in the same age group are experiencing many of the same things in life. By orienting ourselves in this new way, we hope to provide an even greater support network for a wider range of alumnae/i than we ever have before,” says Greenfield.

Another key recommendation of the task force is improved collaboration between the Alumnae Association and other College offices including Communications, Career Development, Events Management, Resources, and others.

“By making better use of the resources that already exist on campus, we can spend less time figuring out how to engage alumnae/i and more time actually engaging with them,” says Greenfield.

“This is an exciting time for the Alumnae Association,” adds Greenfield. “It’s a time of change. However, one thing that won’t be changing is the independent spirit and passionate support of its members that have been the hallmarks of the Alumnae Association since its first meeting in 1890.”

The other task force to wrap up its work late this spring was the college’s second Task Force on the Competitive Position of the College. This task force was charged with understanding Bryn Mawr’s position in the overall landscape for higher education.

In carrying out its charge, the task force reviewed a variety of survey data from admitted students, enrolled students, and alumnae/i and took stock of the latest existing reports and research related to higher-education enrollment. To get the perspective of current high-school students and their parents, the task force conducted some of its own qualitative and quantitative research with the assistance of market research firm LipmanHearne. The research firm the Zandl Group was also brought on board to look at larger societal trends and their implications for Bryn Mawr’s future.

The task forces’ work will inform a series of community-wide conversations scheduled for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.

“The College’s cabinet and Thinking Forward Group spent the summer studying the work done by both of these task forces, as well as the recent work of the Committee on Academic Priorities,” says Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer Jenny Rickard. “Now we’re going to enlist the entire Bryn Mawr community to help identify potential themes and objectives for the future direction of the College and our forthcoming campaign.”

Filed under: Trustees Tags: , by mgray

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