By the Numbers: Strategic Plan Aim 8: Create a robust alumni, donor and community engagement program

Friday, August 5, 2022 - 7:15am

Our success is not built by just faculty, staff and students, it takes a village of parents, alumni, industry partners and donors for CoJMC to thrive. In 2021-2022, the college focused and making sure that all stakeholders had an opportunity to engage.

To help advocate for their students, the college worked to help parents better understand what is happening at CoJMC and UNL. In January 2022, the college increased the frequency of publication of The Adviser, a newsletter designed specifically for CoJMC parents. In the summer of 2022, the college launched a postcard campaign to ensure all parents are aware of this resource and can subscribe.

The college engaged industry partners through Experience Lab sponsorships, professional-in-residence opportunities and events. Sixteen local media outlets and agencies contributed sponsorships of experience lab spaces in 2021-2022. Sponsors provide financial support for the program, in addition to designing and decorating their space to match the look and feel of their agency. The Experience Lab Sponsors are:

The college also engaged employers in volunteering their employees paid working time to work with students enrolled in Experience Lab Programs. Organizations that volunteered professionals-in-residence include:

To celebrate our industry partners, the college hosted an Experience Lab Ribbon Cutting in October of 2021 and a KRNU 50th Anniversary Celebration in June 2022 to engage alumni and industry partners in celebrating experiential learning in CoJMC.

The college continued to publish a monthly alumni newsletter and annual report to keep alumni in the know about CoJMC. To engage our alumni and donors, the college hosted and expanded in-person and virtual events throughout the year. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the college relaunched the all-alumni Homecoming Celebration. Homecoming is an opportunity for all alumni to return to Andersen Hall and engage with fellow alumni, faculty and staff. 

The college continued to host Drinks with the Dean receptions in cities throughout the United States. Drinks with the Dean are an opportunity for local alumni to engage with each other and learn about what is happening CoJMC. In 2021-2022, the college hosted DwD receptions in Lincoln, Omaha, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Atlanta, New York City and Nashville.

The college added CoJMC Reunions for alumni to gather on Zoom. CoJMC Reunions were organized by decades to allow alumni to connect with former students who graduated in the same decade they did. The college hosted receptions for alums from 2010-present, 2000-2009, 1990-1999, 1980-1989, 1970-1970, 1960-1969 and 1959 and before.

The college expanded its Knowledge on Tap series, which provides an opportunity for faculty to present and engage alumni and campus partners in their research and creative activity. In 2021-2022, seven faculty presented at monthly Knowledge on Tap virtual receptions, including Brian Petrotta, Kelli Britten, Valerie Jones, Rick Alloway, Jason Stamm, Kelli Boling and Chris Graves.

The college also held a CoJMC Connections event in April 2020, to connect alumni from throughout the United States to students who are interested in moving out of Lincoln following graduation. The college joined Husker Connect, an online platform that connects students to Husker Alumni for digital mentoring. In 2021, 75 CoJMC alumni joined as potential student mentors.

The College hosted a Nebraska Reception during the IRE conference in Denver in June 2022. Nebraska Receptions are an opportunity for the college to engage with other members of the academy and profession to promote faculty positions and engage in professional projects, research and creative activity.

The college hosted several guest speakers throughout the year, to expose students to industry thought leaders on important topics facing our disciplines. Guest Speakers during 2021-2022, included:

Target Start (20-21) 21-22 Goal (25-26)
Increase year-over-year attendance growth at alumni events by 10%[1] 254 304 280
Establish baselines and increase year-over-year alumni utilization of career development services by 10% each year - - -
30% of undergraduate majors will be engaged in a mentor relationship - - -
Increase the number of new donors and repeat annual donors by 15%[2] 522 732 600
[1] Data came from event attendance records in Ali, the NU Foundation’s constituent database.
[2] Data provided by the college’s development officer with the NU Foundation.
Review of the targets
The college saw great growth in alumni event attendance and donors.

The college has not yet launched a career development program for alumni, however, anecdotal reports suggest alumni are engaging with our career development specialist.

The college engaged with Husker Connect this year. Husker Connect is a digital platform connecting students with alumni for mentoring. Participation rates by alumni and students will be available in future years.