Spring 2008: from the EAA

By Allison Dykes

Allison Dykes, Vice-President for Alumni Relations

Bryan Meltz

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Dear Friends,

Springtime at Emory is all about renewal. It’s also about pollen, but I prefer to look on the bright side of things.

Every spring, our campus returns to life after a long winter, trees and flowers bloom, the warm weather arrives, and the good feelings pervade campus until reaching their pinnacle with our annual Emory Commencement Weekend.

Last year, Emory surveyed hundreds of alumni—every school was represented—to determine their level of satisfaction not just with the University but also with the Emory Alumni Association. We learned a great deal.

Nearly 90 percent of alumni surveyed said their feelings about Emory were “very positive” or “positive”—the two highest rankings. Other questions included whether alumni would recommend Emory to prospective students (more than 85 percent would), whether alumni should donate money when they can (some 75 percent answered affirmatively), what aspect of Emory was most satisfying (academics ranked at the top), and much more.

Alumni also were asked where they get most of their news about Emory (hint: you are holding it in your hand). Emory Magazine is your most important information tool. Electronically we are doing well, too. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed answered “just right” when asked about the level of communication alumni received from the EAA. Since we do almost all of our messaging over email, it’s satisfying to learn we don’t send out too much. All those new-mail dings can be oppressive, I know. But it’s nice to know we are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Communication was just one aspect of alumni relations that the survey explored. And while we at the EAA are encouraged by the findings, we always want to continue improving.

More than two-thirds of the alumni surveyed were at least “somewhat familiar” with the activities of the EAA. Obviously, we would love for that number to be 100 percent, but we are not discouraged; two-thirds of anything is a solid majority. Alumni engagement with Emory has been rising steadily for years, and for that we are very glad.

Other aspects of the EAA’s work were surveyed as well, such as what alumni feel are the most important services we provide. For undergraduates, those were career services, connection with other alumni, and events, in that order. For graduate alumni, the results were slightly different: career services, educational opportunities, and connection with alumni.

Career services are one of the EAA’s core programs, and I’m proud to say they are strong, with something to offer all alumni, whether you are five or forty-five years removed from campus. Through the EAA you can access the Emory Career Network (ECN), which includes, among other features, our ECN database, where you can connect to thousands of fellow career-oriented alumni. The EAA also offers career counseling with executive career coach Jodie Charlop 82Ox 85C. If you are in Atlanta, you can meet with her face-to-face here at the Miller-Ward Alumni House; Jodie also offers coaching by phone and on occasion travels to cities to meet alumni in their own hometowns. To learn more about the EAA’s career services, please visit our home page (www.alumni.emory.edu) and click on “Career Services and Alumni Benefits.”

Our career services program is just one way the EAA fosters alumni leadership. This summer, we are planning another, comprehensive alumni leadership opportunity. In June, the EAA will host Emory Alumni Leadership Weekend: Building the Network. This special event will bring together the Emory Alumni Board (EAB), members of our school alumni boards, and leaders of our regional chapters for three days of camaraderie, connection, and a crash course in how to engage Emory’s alumni in the work of their alma mater. We expect around 175 guests for the weekend, and those leaders will be among our most important ambassadors to not only alumni like you, but the community beyond Emory’s gates.

As I mentioned earlier, the EAA’s primary communications vehicle is email. If we don’t already have you on file, or if you have moved recently, I encourage you to update your information. Simply visit the EAA website at www.alumni.emory.edu and click on “Update Your Info” at the top of the page.

Enjoy your summer and, as always, I enjoy hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments about Emory or the EAA, my emailbox is always open. Just drop me a line at adykes@emory.edu.

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