Organizational Overview

 

 


top

Background, Mission and Structure of the Alumni Council

In February of 2006, the University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees endorsed and adopted Defining Moments: The Strategic Plan for the University of Puget Sound.  The plan contains four major objectives:

  • Innovate - Enhance and distinguish the Puget Sound experience;
  • Inspire - Build an inspiring physical environment for learning;
  • Engage - Forge lifelong relationships; and
  • Invest - Strengthen the university’s financial position.

The third objective, in particular, relates directly to the work of the Puget Sound Alumni Council.  With regard to this third objective, the strategic plan states:

We will become a first-choice college that instills intense pride and fosters membership in the Puget Sound family as an enriching, lifelong investment.  We will:

  • Re-orient the alumni office from a program-based operation to a strategic center for cultivating mutually beneficial relationships
  • Develop and manage a network of volunteer opportunities to generate an array of connections and services for alumni, parents, and friends
  • Enhance external and internal campus programs and communications to reflect and promote our mission, vision, values, and strategic goals

In order to address the third goal of the strategic plan and to create a relationship- and volunteer-driven alumni relations operation, the university,  in consultation with alumni leaders and the board of trustees, transitioned the existing 24-member National Alumni Board into the broader Alumni Council, with 11 working committees and a volunteer network now totaling over 400 alumni volunteers. 

Commissioned by the Puget Sound Board of Trustees in October 2006, the growing Alumni Council is:

  • Providing a variety of ways for alumni to engage with the university through volunteer-based activity;
  • Providing leadership development opportunities for volunteers who are engaged in the council;
  • Providing connections among once unconnected alumni groups and activities;
  • Providing greater continuity within the alumni volunteer network;
  • Broadening the Puget Sound alumni volunteer base, giving stronger voice to the 35,000-member alumni body; and
  • Inspiring increased investment in the university by its alumni.

Mission

The mission of the University of Puget Sound Alumni Council is to engage alumni and students in life-long relationships with the university.  As Puget Sound volunteer leaders, council members, by power of their example, encourage Puget Sound alumni and students to support the university through investments of time, talent, and financial resources.  Through its various working committees, the Alumni Council engages volunteers in meaningful work that addresses issues of key importance to members of the Puget Sound family.  The Alumni Council is committed to providing volunteers with needed tools and support as they work on behalf of their alma mater and the alumni body.

 

Structure

 The University of Puget Sound Alumni Council draws its membership from the broader Puget Sound Alumni Association – the 35,000 members of the Puget Sound alumni body.  The council is governed by an executive committee, which encompasses council officers – the president, vice president, secretary, and immediate past president – and the chairs of each of the council’s working committees.  These working committees include:

  • Admission Committee
  • Affinity Group Committee
  • Alumni Fund Committee
  • Athletics Committee (The Logger Board)
  • Career and Employment Services Committee
  • Class Programs Committee
  • Regional Clubs Committee
  • Student Alumni Association

 

top

 

Membership

Through its working committees, the Alumni Council provides a variety of engagement opportunities for alumni living close to campus and for those in far-flung places.  In order to ensure equal representation among the various alumni constituent groups, the Alumni Council is comprised of voting and non-voting members. The voting membership includes council officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Immediate- Past Chair), committee chairs, and all members of the 11 standing committees.  These volunteers are elected to the Council and represent a wide array of constituents. 

In addition to the standing committees, there also are larger subcommittees of the Council that support the work of the standing committees.  These subcommittees include but are not limited to individual Affinity Groups, Admission Volunteers, Class Agents, Class Officers, Class Reunion Planning Committee Members, Class Reunion Gift Committee Members, and Regional Club Volunteers.  The interest of these non-voting  Alumni Council members are represented by the members of the standing committees that the subcommittees support. 

The voting and non-voting membership distinction allows all volunteer groups, regardless of size, to have equal voice in council matters.

There are varying degrees of involvement on the council, allowing volunteers to choose the roles that best fit their lives.  These levels include:

  • Executive Committee – These officers and committee chairs govern and set the strategic direction for the council;
  • Committee members – These volunteers serve in formal committee roles, and have voting privileges and input into current and future council matters;
  • Sub-committee members – These volunteers have distinct volunteer roles in various other volunteer entities and subcommittees related to the work of the 11 working committees (e.g. class agents, reunion volunteers, individual affinity groups); and
  • On-call volunteers – These volunteers have agreed to perform discreet tasks on behalf of specific committees as needed (i.e. serving as admission volunteers at college fairs, helping to plan and staff regional events).

The following chart provides a summary of non-voting Alumni Council volunteer roles and how these groups are represented on the council:

*There are a number of alumni affinity groups.  These three were selected to demonstrate how affinity groups relate to the council.

Committee

Relationship

Committee Representative

Subcommittee role

Alumni Fund Committee

Alumni Fund Committee Member

(Represents a range of classes)

Class Agent

Class Programs Committee

Class Programs Committee Member

(Represents a range of classes)

Class Reunion Volunteer

Regional Clubs Committee

Regional Club Chair for the region

Regional Volunteer

Admission Committee

Admission Captain for the region

Admission Volunteer

Affinity Groups Committee

Greek Chair

Greek Volunteer*

Affinity Groups Committee

Performing Arts Chair

Adelphian Volunteer *

Affinity Groups Committee

Academic Programs Chair

German Club Volunteer *

 

top

 

Volunteer Identification

New council members are identified in a variety of ways, including:

  • List review of current volunteers actively serving in non-voting roles
  • Self-nomination
  • Nomination by a fellow alumnus/na
  • Nomination by a faculty or staff member
  • Special appointment by the executive committee and/or alumni relations staff to fill a particular void on the council

Potential nominees are brought to the attention of the chair of the committee of interest.

 

Volunteer Recruitment

All nominations to a particular committee are reviewed by the committee chair in consultation with the staff liaison.  Those interested in joining the council or in recommending someone else to the council are encouraged to contact the committee chair directly to discuss expectations of service.  Viable candidates are contacted by the chair and then recommended to the Nominating Committee for ratification at the next Alumni Council Executive Committee meeting.

Nominations for officer and committee chair positions are vetted by the Alumni Council Nominating Committee chair and the Alumni Council president.   Candidates are then presented to the executive committee for approval. 

 

top

 

Volunteer Orientation and Training

Upon election to the Alumni Council, members begin a formal orientation and training process which includes:

  • A letter of welcome from the Alumni Council president with the date of the next new member orientation session
  • A letter of welcome from the relevant Alumni Council committee chair with the latest job description
  • An Alumni Council handbook with information about the council and the relevant committee (mailed or hand-delivered by a volunteer or staff member)
  • An on-campus orientation session or individual orientation by alumni relations or other staff liaison
  • Individual meetings (in person or via teleconference) with the committee chair and staff liaison to discuss the details of the committee’s work
  • For chairs:   Individual meeting with the Alumni Council president to discuss membership on the Alumni Council Executive Committee

Alumni Council orientation sessions are held in conjunction with each meeting of the Alumni Council.  These sessions provide an overview of the council and its work with the university.  In addition, each staff liaison is charged with providing more detailed training for the specific work of the committee.  Volunteers who have questions about training timelines or who need to schedule a training session should contact their staff liaison.

 

top

 

Volunteer Evaluation

Each year, the Alumni Council will undergo an evaluation exercise to help inform future planning.  Volunteers will be asked to evaluate their own contributions to the council and to provide feedback on all aspects of their work with the council including:

  • Council communications
  • Meeting quality and usefulness
  • Volunteer training
  • Committee function and effectiveness
  • Staff support

This evaluation process will take place in June of each year and will be initiated by the Alumni Council president.  However, council members do not have to wait until this formal process begins to provide feedback.  Members are expected to contact their committee chairs, the council president, their staff liaisons, or any member of the alumni office with questions or concerns.

 

top

 

Terms of Service

Alumni Council officers, committee chairs, and standing committee members serve for a term of three years.   In rare instances, committee members may be asked to serve an additional three-year term.   All nominations for additional terms must be approved by the Alumni Council Executive Committee.  In any case, voting members of the Alumni Council may not serve more than two consecutive terms, or six consecutive years, in any one position.  (See Appendix X: Alumni Council By-Laws for full policy on term limits.)  

Completion of Service Term

During the final year of a member’s three-year term, the committee chair (or the Alumni Council president if the volunteer is a member of the executive committee) will initiate a conversation with the volunteer about his or her service.   The purpose of this conversation is to determine how best to involve the volunteer in the work of the council going forward.  

Although members are expected to complete the three-year term, it is recognized that circumstances may require volunteers to step down before the term ends.  In such cases, volunteers are asked to give the committee chair (or the Alumni Council president if the volunteer is a member of the executive committee) as much advance notice as possible so that the vacancy can be filled in a timely manner. 

Each council member is asked to assist in the identification of his or her successor.  This is particularly important if the volunteer is stepping down prior to the end of his or her term.

 

top 

 

Council Meetings

Meetings of the Alumni Council are occasions for volunteers to network with one another and share best practices, to create and to measure progress towards strategic objectives, to learn about the latest university happenings and how they relate to the work of the council, and to provide feedback to university leadership about issues facing the university community.  The Alumni Council president presides over each Alumni Council meeting. The university president, vice president of university relations, and other senior administrators, frequently participate in Alumni Council meetings.

All voting and non-voting members of the Alumni Council volunteer network are invited to attend the council’s semi-annual, on-campus meetings.  Voting members are encouraged to participate in these meetings in person.  Anyone unable to travel to campus may participate in select meeting sessions via teleconference.  

The fall Alumni Council meeting is held in conjunction with Homecoming Family Weekend (September/October).  The spring meeting is held in conjunction with Reunion Weekend (June).   Members of the Alumni Council Executive Committee are expected to attend an additional meeting of the executive committee held concurrently with the February meeting of the Puget Sound Board of Trustees.  Alumni Council meetings most often begin on a Thursday afternoon and continue through Friday (and sometimes through Saturday morning).  

The agenda for the Alumni Council meetings is set by the Alumni Council president in consultation with the council officers and the director of alumni and parent relations.  The agenda and supporting materials are circulated in advance of the meeting and meeting minutes are sent to attendees and non-attendees following the meeting.  Any member of the Alumni Council may suggest agenda items by forwarding such requests to the Alumni Council president and the director of alumni and parent relations in advance of the meeting.  (See Alumni Council By-Laws for timing and other guidelines.)

 

top

 

Committee Meetings

 

Each committee chair convenes his or her committee during both the fall and the spring on-campus meetings.  In addition, committee chairs may hold committee meetings in between council meetings.  These additional meetings are most often conducted via conference call.  Meeting agendas are developed by the committee chair in consultation with the staff liaison and meeting minutes are circulated to attendees and non-attendees.  Any committee member may suggest agenda items to the committee chair by forwarding such requests to the committee chair and staff liaison in advance of the meeting.

 

top

 

Communication

Personal Outreach

Alumni Council members are encouraged to be in regular contact with fellow volunteers and with their staff liaisons.  (See Appendix X: Contact Lists.)   Committee chairs also are expected to send regular updates to committee members to keep them apprised of committee work and to share relevant university and council news.  The Alumni Council president also will send periodic updates to committee chairs and to the broader Alumni Council.  Similarly, staff liaisons will keep council members apprised of news and updates from relevant program areas. 

Most council communications are conducted via e-mail.  Council members should make sure that the university has their preferred e-mail address on file.  Many members find it convenient to sign up for a LOGGER[net] e-mail forwarding address (yourname@alum.ups.edu) to facilitate council communication.

At anytime, volunteers should feel free to contact the president, any member of the executive committee, the staff liaison, or any member of the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations with questions, concerns, or feedback.

LOGGER[net]

Puget Sound’s alumni online community, LOGGER[net], is the primary information resource for the Alumni Council.   Alumni Council members are encouraged to visit the site frequently for updates. 

Typical information posted includes:

  • Volunteer materials, including the most recent version of the volunteer manual
  • Current by-laws
  • Council rosters, including those for individual committees
  • Committee updates and event information
  • Other activities or news relevant to the work of the council

Web Site

Alumni Council members are also encouraged to visit the university website frequently for recent university news and information.  Important Web links include:

Puget Sound Alumni Website

Engage and Invest in Puget Sound

Puget Sound Office of Admission

Puget Sound Atheltics: Go Loggers!

Puget Sound Career and Employment Services Office

 


top

 

Planning and Assessment

As the Alumni Council continues to evolve, adding structure and measurement to its work becomes increasingly critical to ensuring a rewarding experience for volunteers.  Each spring, the Alumni Council president will initiate a goal setting process for the council.  The president will request that each committee chair, in consultation with their committee membership and staff liaison, develop a set of objectives and a work plan for the coming year.  This plan will guide the committee’s work for the fiscal year (July-June) and provide a framework for the committee to assess its progress.  At the end of each fiscal year, the president and committee chair will meet to assess the work of the committee.  As mentioned, each committee member also will be asked to provide feedback on the committee’s work and on the support the committee received from the university over the course of the year.  The results of these year-end assessments will be used to inform the committee’s plans for the upcoming year.

 


top