Association Chair’s Message – A Fresh Vision

Universities are busy and complex places that operate in a continually changing context. Technological advances, differing societal and economic climates, new fields of exploration, and demographic shifts are just a few of the variables affecting its work. In order to serve the university and its grads effectively, the Alumni Association board must be nimble, skilled and effective with a robust set of principles in place to guide its work.

With this in mind, board members have been busy conducting preliminary work on a new multi-year strategic plan for Alumni Affairs. This plan will include the development of a fresh and energizing formulation of the vision that drives our work to ensure it reflects our current aspirations and is harmonious with those of the university. Our goal in revising the vision is to further deepen the culture of alumni engagement at UBC, as well as the partnership between UBC and the Association. This work will also allow us to judge the relevance and strength of our programming and communications with greater clarity.  The board will have a multi-day meeting in June to review our progress, examine feedback from various stakeholders, and establish next steps. I’m pleased to report that our efforts have so far been well received, eliciting thoughtful and constructive feedback. But more work and consultation remain ahead.

In addition to launching this strategic planning process, the board has completed a governance review. It has affirmed its commitment to the principle of self governance and to developing a distinct and influential voice among alumni and across the broader university community. The emerging recommendations from the review are for a smaller board focused on strategic direction, development of appropriate policies, and ensuring the Alumni Association has the resources necessary to effectively fulfill its vision and serve UBC and the alumni community. There are also plans for a broader advisory council to engage more alumni in the work of the Association and the life of UBC.

To ensure we have the resources necessary to support and extend our engagement efforts, a board work team has recently completed a careful review of our revenue-generating activities.  We are also strengthening our communications and marketing programs to more effectively engage alumni and build awareness of our activities.

The board is committed to growing and deepening alumni engagement while aspiring to be a stronger connection point and forum for alumni volunteers across the university. There is much work still to be done, but I am confident that we have a very solid base on which to build.

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