2.2.4 limits of university educatio n. Although2.2.4 limits of university educatio n. Although

2.2.4 Why the need for Alumni System? Determinants of Alumni
System

The need for maintaining alumni systems has been highlighted
by Arceo in his study on the role of student and alumni. According to Arceo,
student and alumni associations serve as a bridge or boundary spanners between
the educational institutions, their people (students, alumni, professors and
political sector) and the job market. Eventually, these associations grew in
their presence to decision – making bodies which helped retraining of the
unemployed youth and thereby contributed towards development of people’s lives
through decreased unemployment.

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One of the early efforts to establish an interactive alumni
association is due to Spasi? and Pejak 26 at Faculty of Mechanical
Engineering, University of Belgrade. Based on experience with previous alumni
association Spasi? and Pejak established an interactive alumni system called
ALFaMEB or ?ME?, which would cater to quality assurance in higher education.
Feedback information was collected through various activities as well as
questionnaires about industrial expectations; knowle dge obtained at university,
and need for improvement in teaching and research activities. The alumni
ALFaMEB activities helped continuously improve the teaching and research
undertaken at the university and thereby broaden the limits of university
educatio n.

Although the work discussed above makes novel a ttempts to
improve alumni based networks systems, they are severely limited in their
communication capabilities and fall short of harnessing the full potential of
extensive interactions between alumni themselves and the university.

The two factors — relationships with alumni and marketing —
can be seen as some of the many reasons to initiate alumni systems. With
changing times , the perception of universities with regards to the use and
scope of alumni systems has also evolv ed . It is envisioned that such alumni systems
are beneficial not only to the universities but also to alumni. It could serve
as a platform for current students to interact with their senior alumni and
receive mentoring from them with regards to career paths, real world
expectations and so on. A noteworthy work in the present context is by Barnard
who proposed an online community portal which is beneficial to both alumni and
higher education institutions in South Africa. The portal was a web – based
secured database which allows f ree sharing of information between alumni management
teams and its members. From the alumni point of view, benefits of participating
in alumni groups allow them to stay in con t act and meet their fellow class
mates, professors and university personnel , even after several years beyond
graduation. It also allows alumni to shar e professional or personal advice,
explor e mutual interests and exciting new opportunities in a collaborati ve
way.

 

Anothe r important factor which necessitates alumni systems
is the university’s need to market itself as a leading place for education and
to attract new students. Given the tre mendous amount of competition in
attracting good caliber students from around the worl d , universities are
competing to stand out as leading educational institutions that produce quality
professional s and successful pioneers. Prospec tive students , on the other
hand , could use it to learn more about courses, college routi ne from current
students.Most universities tend to boast about their alumni ‘s research works
or achievements as one of their own. It is not surprising that some of the high
profiled universities have most structured graduate follow – up programs, where
employment of their alumni and their achievements are tracked continuously.

 

 

Many factors necessitate the alumni systems. In view of many
potential benefits, some universities initially set up alumni systems as a
means to collect funds from the alumni. Looking at the educational system in
Ghana, has led to severe cuts in government support for development and
educational activities at most universities. Educational institutions need to
secure alternative sources of cash inflow to avoid being victims. It is
beneficial to the university to maintain healthy relations hips with the alumni
who have the financial solvency to donate to their home university. Hence, there
is the need for a system in place to support and manage these finances.

The foundation of any successful
alumni relations program is an accurate alumni record database. Gaskins explores
an alumni network formation for a university’s recreational sports department
and emphasizes the constant attention alumni record-keeping requires and the
steps to expanding it through existing alumni connections acting as ambassadors
to their classmates (2006). Along with current contact information and job
title, alumni records should include student affairs data such as affinity
group affiliation to better provide specialized messaging and programming based
on identified interests (Rissmeyer, 2010).

Determining the factors that
lead to high post-graduation engagement is the first step in successful alumni
programming. Across the reviewed literature, authors overwhelmingly agreed that
a major factor in alumni generosity is a positive and successful undergraduate
experience (See e.g. Monks, Rissmeyer). Conley states that alumni who continue
to have a strong connection to the institution may be more likely remain the
most engaged (1999)

 

 

2.5.1 Social Networking Feature

The main advantage of the SAS over traditional syst ems is
the empowerment of its users to accomplish ?networking tasks ‘. Each full
member can enter into the system through an exclusive log in a nd virtually
meet other members in the system. The users will be ab le to have profiles set
up in the system and can share information about themselves, their education,
career, interests and everything they want to share in with the other users in
the system in an exclusive network.