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ALUMNI RELATIONS & CAREER SERVICES
American Public University System's Office of AlumnivRelations seeks to develop life-long partnerships with thevSystem's alumni by offering programs and services thatvendeavor to build community, enhance alumni professionalvand educational advancement, and promote collaborationvamong all APUS constituents.
This Office of Alumni Relations is housed within the Student Services Center and overseen byvthe Chief Administrative Officer. The Director of Graduation, Alumni Relations and CareervServices provides executive oversight for the Office of Alumni Relations. The Alumni Relationsvand Career Services Manager provides daily operational guidance and serves as a keyvliaison between APUS and the alumni.
� Until 2004, alumni were notified annually of University growth by Jeff McCafferty,vwith the Office of Institutional Advancement. During this time, no formal benefits orvservices were offered to alumni.
� In 2004, Dr. Fred Stielow was hired to establish an alumni relations operation andvalumni association framework.
� Marketing initially oversaw alumni operations. Responsibility transferred to InstitutionalvAdvancement in mid-2005.
� Alumni operations were transferred to the Student Services Center in June 2007.
� Alumni Relations and Career Services Manager, Grace Williamson, was hired invAugust 2007.
� Office of Alumni Relations began strategic planning for 2007 and beyond.
DEFINING OUR PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
In order to realize its mission and purpose, the Office of Alumni Relations used the followingvprinciples as guidelines:
1. The Office of Alumni Relations will strive to develop and implement programs thatvstrengthen community and affinity for the University.
2. The Office of Alumni Relations will establish relevant and meaningful services andvprograms for the APUS constituency.
3. The Office of Alumni Relations will maintain professional staff to support newvinitiatives and to serve as liaisons between the alumni community and the University.
4. The Office of Alumni Relations will be committed to providing lifelong opportunities forveducational and professional advancement.
In order to realize its mission, the Office of Alumni Relations, guided by the stated principles,vwill aspire to achieve the goals described below over the next three years (2007-2010):
1. The Office of Alumni Relations will be committed to communicating with the alumni, in avvariety of ways, to share information concerning the University and its alumni.
2. The Office of Alumni Relations will aim to increase the involvement of alumni in all ofvits programs and will recognize alumni for their service to the University.
3. The Office of Alumni Relations will encourage continued educational and professionalvdevelopment.
4. The Office of Alumni Relations will provide support services at no cost to alumni.
5. The Office of Alumni Relations will provide mentoring opportunities for alumni tovnurture the professional development of APUS undergraduate students and eachvother.
6. The Office of Alumni Relations will communicate with employers and work toward thevestablishment of mutually beneficial partnerships with the aim of increasingvemployment opportunities for students and alumni.
7. The Office of Alumni Relations will work to involve, engage and communicate withvalumni in order to maintain contact the University.
8. The Office of Alumni Relations will work to foster community building and networkingvamong alumni.
9. The Office of Alumni Relations will be structured to insure continuity of lifelong servicesvand support to APUS alumni.
10. The Office of Alumni Relations will expand its offering of affinity services for alumni.
The Strategic Plan and Initiatives for 2007 � 2008 identified the following prioritiesvnecessary to nurture, grow and establish Alumni Relations:
1. Increase the participation of alumni in:
� Career Services
� Alumni Relations
2. Enhance Our Communication
� Regular Frequency
� Relevant Content
� Release and Distribution of Important University Messages
� Convenient Delivery
3. Establish platforms for network
� Global Mentor Network
� Online Social Network, inCircle
COMMITTED TO PROMOTING THE WELFARE OF ALUMNIvAND AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
A YEAR IN REVIEW: HIGHLIGHTS 2007-2008
Alumni Relations program realigned, enhanced and expanded following Board approval invJune 2007. Alumni Relations Manager hired to develop program and focus on new initiatives.vOffice of Alumni Relations Accomplishments:
1. Increased communication with alumni through thevdevelopment and distribution of four e-vnewsletters:
� Compass�APUS news and events
� FOCUS� Industry information focusing onvyour future careers
� Four Points , APUS community membervprofiles
� Milestones� Share news and events in yourvlife with other alumni
2. Increased peer to peer communication byvestablishing a secure online social networkingvcommunity, APUS inCircle, exclusively for alumnivproviding access to a number of features such as job postings, blogs, networking forums, industry groups and regional clubs.
� Over 1300 alumni registered and completed community profiles
� 115 active groups
� 127 active regional clubs
3. Increased alumni engagement with the University through contact and relationships with students and alumni positioning the university as the center of ongoing self-directed learning opportunities.
The following results were a joint effort between Alumni Relations and Student Affairs.
� 55 alumni registered as Mentors
� 74 students registered as Mentees
� 14 pairs were working toward relationship completion as of June 2, 2008 completing relationships
This year, Alumni Relations was present at the Awards Reception and Commencement. Alumni Relations distributed informational brochures detailing benefits and services available through APUS following graduation (Appendix I). Alumni Relations also provided graduates with embossed APUS pad folios and distributed a complimentary book, Becton: An Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant, written by the Commencement Keynote Speaker, Lieutenant General Julius W. Becton, Jr. Other Alumni Relations involvement and support of the University included drafting the following proposals and citations:
� 2007 � 2008 Strategic Plan for Alumni Relations
� APUS Memorial Program Proposal
� Class of 2008 Brochure/Sponsorship Proposal
� Virtual Career Conference Concept, Brochures, Website
� Distinguished Graduate Award Citation
� Distinguished Faculty Award Citation
� DETC Award Recipient Citation
� Distinguished Alumni Award Citation
Alumni Relations also participated in the selection and review process for the DETC Outstanding Graduate of the Year Award 2007 Recipient Dr. Benjamin Davis Masters of Science in Space Studies DETC Outstanding Graduate of the Year
PLANNING OUR COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
Cited Opportunities for Improved Communication with APUS Alumni As the groundwork began for building the foundation of the Alumni Relations program, planning concentrated on increasing the opportunities for improving the University's relationship with alumni. Among them:
� Better alumni reach, better alumni engagement: APUS alumni already use technology in all aspects of their lives. Through the implementation of integrative social technology APUS is now able to build and nurture relationships with alumni allowing APUS to cultivate stronger alumni loyalty.
� Better knowledge of alumni: By introducing integrative technology, the University has gained the increased advantage of capturing alumni interests and the ability to tailor information and programming accordingly. The implementation of integrative technology also provided APUS with a tool for identifying alumni willing to help the University with their professional expertise and to help students and other alumni through career mentoring and other services.
� More effective communication: Advanced technology tools have also provided a cost-effective vehicle for coordinated, targeted, and high-impact communication with alumni. Due to APUS� growing alumni body it is essential to maintain the momentum in our communication with alumni. In order for communication to remain effective it will be necessary to focus on areas important to alumni. These areas include APUS
� Alumni inCircle Community, Employer Partnerships and Career Services. In order to support this initiative additional staff will be required (See Future Staffing Needs on page ___ for job descriptions)
� More programs and services valued by alumni: Via technology, the APUS has begun providing alumni with services they value greatly, such as news delivery, opportunities to maintain ties with old and new friends, and networking for career and business.
� Alumni want to hear from us: Over the past year, Alumni Relations has found that over thirty-five percent of our alumni read our newsletters. Consistently we have less than five alumni unsubscribe per distribution. Alumni are interested in the University and want to remain in contact.
� Greater awareness of the University's strengths: Programs delivered via technology provide an effective means to showcase the University's strengths.
� Better return on investment: Coordinated planning and implementation would maximize the University's investment in technology.
� Better donor identification and cultivation: While Development is not a consideration to APUS at this time, advanced technology solutions would enable the University to identify prospective donors more readily.
� Better brand management: Cohesive planning and implementation of technology would help the University project a coherent brand.
PROGRAM SELECTION AND CUSTOMIZATION
Although vendors were contracted to offer services such as social networking and mentoring, there was still an extensive amount of customization that Alumni Relations was responsible for in order to meet the needs of our constituency and to brand each application. Customization required beta test prior to release and included, but was not limited to the following: Competency and Business Unit Selection
Data Form Upload
Branding and Avatar
Style Sheet Layout
Verification Data Uploads
The customization process for inCircle took about six weeks and was released to alumni in January 2007. Global Mentor Network took almost five months to complete and was released to alumni in April 2008.
INCIRCLE SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR ALUMNI
The Office of Alumni Relations worked to meet these goals through the implementation and fostering of the following programs:
inCircle: Through alumni surveys, one of the prominent themes was the need for a social network. Alumni were interested in the implementation of an online forum or community that would allow them to where alumni could network, share career advice, discuss employment opportunities and socialize with one another in both a professionally and personal manner.
Following extensive research Alumni Relations contracted, Affinity Circles, developers of inCircle, a dynamic, trusted social online networking community. Their social networking community allows members to build and maintain personal and professional connections. This application allows alumni to complete an online profile and gain access to a number of features such as job postings, networking forums, photo albums, blog feeds and more.
Chris Caulkin, AMU �05
Chad Edwards AMU �06
Steven Coontz ; AMU �07
Associate Dean, Century College
Criminal Justice Instructor
at Remington College
Police Sergeant at BART
INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH INCIRCLE
The integration of APUS� Alumni inCircle Community has provided our Alumni with the ability to become informed of opportunities based on the preferences they set in person profile. Here�s how it works:
� inCircle Opportunities is a proprietary system that provides actionable announcements from the APUS, our alumni and affiliates keeping alumni engaged in the life of the University.
� Opportunities are targeted to alumni based on up-to-date profile data provided by the alumni themselves � including professions, locations, degrees, hobbies and interests, and other personal information.
� Alumni are rewarded by increasingly relevant opportunities when they update their profiles with current information. The more benefits members derive from exclusive opportunity exchange, the more engaged they become in the organization, and the more often they update their profiles.
� inCircle Opportunities are broken down for the user into separate opportunity categories such as: job opportunities, events, travel, groups, discounts/deals, donations, continuing education and volunteers; making it easy for alumni to browse and search their opportunities.
� inCircle Opportunities are channeled by and between three unique sources adding significant value to your members.
o Members (Member to Member)
o Our University (APUS to Member)
o Employers looking to hire (Employer to Member)
� Alumni can setup their accounts in order to access their exclusive inCircle opportunities on the websites they use most; making their member opportunities completely portable.
According to an Affinity Circles report in 2007, they found that on average, 28,000 messages are sent between members of an inCircle community each year.
KEY INCIRCLE FEATURES AND BENEFITS
� Photo Albums: Sharing photos from vacations and family events as well as professional functions makes interactions more personal.
1. My Profile: By deciding which personal information to include and determining who they will allow to access their information members can protect their privacy.
� My Contacts: By filtering and viewing their network based on region, profession, or industry, members can locate friends and colleagues and even plot the connections on a dynamic Yahoo!Map.
� Network: inCircle fosters professional growth by helping users locate professional contacts, find help with job searches, or make connections within specific industries.
� Events: Groups or individuals can publicize events on inCircle networks, giving event coordinators faster, easier access to members.
� Forums: Discussion groups ranging from jobs and sports to parenting, music, and fundraising give everyone a voice in their community.
� Groups: Creating customized groups within an organization's network to accommodate chapters, clubs, industry professionals, or fraternal organizations makes it easier to organize events and maintain momentum.
� Blog Feeds: Members can expand their reach by sharing their blogs in a personal profile via RSS feeds.
� Jobs: inCircle creates a new channel for job seekers, helping them find jobs through listings posted by employers as well as through peer-to-peer inCircle community job searches.
� inCircle provides the ability for alumni to connect with each other in a way that provides maximum brand value for APUS.
� Various recommendation engines highlight connection opportunities for a member based on personal data that they have entered into their profile.
� Search functionality allows members to find others based on all member profile data.
� Groups alumni to participate in niche discussions and activities within the inCircle application.
� Public discussion forums create a place for alumni to seek advice from and discuss various other topics with all community members Pictures of our alumni posted in public profiles
APUS� inCircle Members have the ability to leverage their network in multiple ways to assist in career growth and advancement. inCircle presents relevant member connection opportunities as well as provides the functionality for users to search based on specific criteria.
� Members can post job opportunities to each other targeting the most relevant members of the network.
� Members can view opportunities directly from top companies and have the ability to request additional information and/or network with other members that already work at the company.
� Members can explore career paths, viewing other members who work in specific fields and locations as well as companies hiring for specific fields in specific locations.
� Members have the ability to designate themselves as someone who would like to offer or receive career advice and search for others based on those criteria
INCIRCLE GROWTH TRACKING AND COMPARISON
According to Affinity Circles, an online social networking community is considered successful if it engages between five and six percent of its organizational membership. In our case, since the inception in December 2007, APUS� inCircle Alumni Community has engaged over 27 percent of its alumni and has overwhelmingly exceeded average growth expectations. APUS has outperformed Empire State University Alumni Community which was formed in September 2007. Despite a direct mail and online marketing program, Empire State has engaged less that two percent of their alumni population. Charting inCircleR2 = 0.910302004006008001000120014001/1/20081/28/20082/1/20082/7/20082/13/20082/20/20082/27/20083/4/20083/10/20083/14/20083/21/20083/27/20084/2/20084/8/20084/15/20084/21/20084/25/20085/1/20085/7/20085/19/2008
INCIRCLE FAST FACTS
Registration and Usage
1301 registered alumni have registered an email address on record with inCircle.
1301 alumni have registered for inCircle.
Profile Completeness - Define Profile Completeness
49.58% is the average level of profile completeness for all registered alumni.
17.09% is the average level of profile completeness for all alumni.
495 opportunities are currently available.
1300 registered alumni have viewed opportunities.
433 registered alumni have clicked on opportunities.
36 registered alumni have expressed interest in companies through inCircle.
201 registered alumni have applied or expressed interest in jobs
Popular inCircle Alumni Groups
National and Homeland Security
Alumni Relations will continue to focus on many of these initiatives, the foundation has been laid for future expansion of the programs and services that are currently being offered. We look forward to supporting our growing alumni body as these programs evolve and new initiatives are implemented in 2009.