It’s a new day for the UTAA, with the passage by the Board of Governors of the association’s first-ever strategic plan. The plan is the outcome of a yearlong process involving UTAA and university staff members, volunteer leaders, and alumni from all campuses.
“It’s been a big job, but our commitment to the project has resulted in a document that, for the next five years, will guide our decisions about programming priorities and resource allocation,” says Lofton Stuart, UTAA executive director.
Stuart said the UT alumni body grew by one-third in the past 15 years.
“This influx of young alumni, combined with significant changes in public funding, technology, and alumni interests, motivated the UTAA to undertake a strategic planning process for the first time in its hundred-and-sixty-five-year history.”
Some of the plan’s key points:
1. UT alumni are a diverse population with diverse needs.
The UTAA and the campus alumni affairs offices will take a lifecycle approach to alumni engagement and offer activities to each age group according to its needs. This will include renewed efforts in providing career services and networking opportunities.
2. Good data is critical.
With an alumni population approaching 350,000 (and growing by the semester), 20th-century modes of communication are no longer adequate. Improving information systems and the data in them will remain an essential function of the system-level alumni office.
3. Communication is critical, as well.
The UTAA will better align alumni communications around central themes, institutional priorities, and areas of interest to alumni.
4. Legislative relations will be fine-tuned.
The UTAA’s Alumni Legislative Council has long advocated on the university’s behalf, but the strategic plan recommends refocusing those efforts in coordination with the University’s Office of Government Relations and Public Affairs. This will involve formalizing grass-roots efforts, better defining roles and responsibilities, and improving targeted alumni communications.
5. Paying for it all.
The UTAA will continue to make a compelling case for continued financial support to the Board of Trustees, the university president, and the chancellors. The strategic plan further recommends expanding affinity partnerships, evaluating a tiered alumni giving program, and engaging volunteers in highly valued meaningful activities.
Specifics of the new plan’s implementation will be discussed at the fall meeting of the UTAA Board of Governors in Knoxville.