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Report focuses on valuable role of international alumni

Posted on 5 March 2013

A new report by the University of York, commissioned by the Higher Education Academy, highlights the benefits of effective internationalisation and successful alumni engagement programmes.

Strategic affinity: engaging international alumni to support internationalisation - report cover

The report  ‘Strategic affinity: engaging international alumni to support internationalisation’, builds on existing work to examine the links between alumni relations and internationalisation (along with careers services and international recruitment), providing case studies of good practice and making recommendations for development activity.

Written by Nik Miller, York’s Alumni Engagement Manager, the report includes case studies from UK higher education institutions in three categories: supporting academic development; promoting global employability and promoting international recruitment. Other case studies relate to the broader issues of understanding and nurturing the international alumni community.

The cases studies include:

  • A community of alumni at the University of Birmingham supports academic development by translating materials, including adding significant value to a smartphone app project at the University’s Shakespeare Institute. Alumni in Japan, China, Germany and Spain translated text and recorded spoken introductions in their native languages for the app.
  • Queen’s University Belfast alumni promote global employability in the form of New York City Scholarships – following a City Leaders Group model set up in London. Based on Irish diaspora and the importance of New York as a global employment hub, the scheme aims to provide access to City professionals and placements, enhancing the quality of careers provision.
  • The University of York’s International Alumni Ambassadors engage prospective applicants in schools and universities, delivering presentations and workshops independently. They work in ‘outlying’ recruitment areas, supported by the University’s international recruitment and alumni relations teams.

Through careful strategic planning, smart institutions are unlocking valuable contributions from international alumni

Nik Miller

Nik Miller, from York’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, said: “The report highlights examples of the wide range of activity that is being undertaken in this area. Through careful strategic planning, smart institutions are unlocking valuable contributions from international alumni - but there are still many unexplored opportunities and underdeveloped collaborations."

Dr Filippo Nereo, Discipline Lead for Languages at the HEA, added: "As universities respond to increased competitiveness in the higher education sector, today’s report seeks to generate a discussion about the unique contribution that international alumni can make to supporting academic development and enhancing recruitment.

“Taking a case study approach, it further demonstrates novel ways in which international alumni can help current students develop intercultural skills and other vital employability competencies they will require to succeed in an increasingly competitive and global jobs market."

Each case study is followed by a set of recommendations, pointing to the diversity of the international alumni community, and the need to understand more about different attitudes to volunteering and staying connected with Higher Education Institutions.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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