Alumni Advisory Board Meeting - January 2013
Growth of the University is vital in an increasingly competitive international context but it must be purposeful growth.
Undergraduate numbers will not increase as we need to sustain the excellence of our collegiate education. Instead, research will drive the University and graduate student numbers will increase at 2% per year alongside growth in research.
This is one of the main messages of the Vice-Chancellor’s annual address to the University as summarised by Dr Jonathan Nicholls, the University Registrar, who represented him at the AAB Fifteen AAB members were joined by representatives from CARO, Cambridge in America, and the Cambridge University Students’ Union.
Dr Nicholls went on to describe the major North West Cambridge development which will provide the infrastructure for the new post grad and post doctorate researchers.
The nature of research and its funding are changing. In a world of government austerity programmes, we are more than ever reliant on philanthropy and are developing research partnerships with industrial companies. Our international involvement is becoming wider as exemplified by recent research collaboration with universities in Singapore and India.
These changes will help maintain Cambridge as one of the top universities in the world and take place in a framework of our unchanging values - our relationship with society, our commitment to academic freedom and to nurturing talent - which have stood the test of time.
The Registrar then outlined plans for restructuring Alumni Relations and the Development Office to consolidate the work of the 800th Anniversary Campaign and move into the future with increasing effectiveness. Recognising the growing importance of development and alumni relations, the University Council has agreed to increase funding for these offices by 60% from £5 million to £8 million per year. CARO and CUDO will be more closely integrated and staff numbers will rise. In addition to engaging alumni, the new team will also engage more with other supporters of the University including corporations, foundations and trusts.
The AAB discussed the proposed new structure and looks forward to working closely with the new Executive Director in taking alumni relations forward. The Board also welcomed the new Chief Operating Officer, Kate Wilson.
CARO reported on a recent visit to Canada to develop an alumni programme which is to take place there in December. The Canadian experience will be used to develop best practice for other international alumni relations events.
CARO is also reviewing the structure of the Alumni Weekend and, inter alia, will use technology to broaden alumni access to the event.
The Networks and Volunteers Working Group reported that it is researching how better to engage international alumni and to smooth the transition between student and alumna/us.
The Communications Working Group is working with the Colleges to share expertise on improving College based alumni communications. A CAM reader app is now available for use on iPhones and iPads and an Android version will be available shortly.
Nathalie Walker, the outgoing Head of Alumni Relations, was thanked for her hard work in transforming CARO into a world class alumni organisation.