Understanding Alumni Relations Programs in Community Colleges

Everrett A. Smith, G. David Gearhart, Michael T. Miller


The purpose for conducting the study was to explore and describe the use of alumni societies and associations in community colleges, particularly focusing on the intended outcome of their implementation. To collect data for the study, a research-team developed survey instrument was distributed electronically to 250 community college advancement senior leaders. A total of 106 (42%) usable surveys were returned for use in the study. The results of the data collection and analysis described community college expectations for alumni societies, and that this expectation was primarily focused on fundraising. The societies were also critical, however, in career placement for students, developing career-oriented programs, and reviewing curricula. Survey results also indicated that many community college leaders use alumni societies in creative ways, including assisting in faculty searches, hosting recruitment events, and teaching community education (lifelong learning) courses. Study findings are critical for college leaders who are often faced with difficulties in funding existing or new programing. The respondents to the study illustrated how alumni societies can serve as critical catalysts for improving existing programs and expanding the reach and value of the institution. Findings also suggest that alumni societies are perceived to be strong gateways to developing philanthropic support for institutions.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v8n5p176


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