As I reflect on my first year in this post, one of the most rewarding parts of an amazing year has been getting to know you.
It has happened on multiple levels. I’ve enjoyed meeting you during your visits to Grounds and in my travels around the country. Over coffee, lunch, cocktails and dinners, you’ve shared your thoughts and ideas with me. And I’ve appreciated learning more about you in another way—from the alumni survey so many of you completed this spring. I promised I’d share the results with you, and I’m excited to do that here in highlighted form as well as in greater detail here (11MB PDF).
Why did we feel the need to conduct a comprehensive survey? Quite simply, we want to make sure that we’re meeting your needs. To get at that, the survey asked two questions across a wide swath of topics: What’s important to you and how are we doing in delivering on those priorities? The results have been not only insightful but also actionable.
We had statistically high participation with strong representation across the graduation eras, from pre-Vietnam to the post-Great Recession of recent years, offering a window into the UVA alumni base—230,000-plus strong and projected to approach 300,000 by 2038. As you might guess, alumni responses can be as diverse as our alumni themselves, but common and cross-generational themes emerge as well. Below are just a few of them, along with some of our takeaways and action items.
You’ll see that, in addition to being a wonderful first year at the Alumni Association, it has been a productive one. On both scores, I have you to thank—for your support and for your engagement, including taking the time to complete our survey. With so much activity underway, look for regular updates from me here in the magazine and on our website. Until then, continuing thanks and Wahoowa.
Jenifer G. Andrasko (Darden ’10)
President & CEO, University of Virginia Alumni Association
More from the All-Alumni Survey
» Download the full analysis as a PDF (11MB)
When we asked alumni to rank their priorities and score our performance in those areas, two strong themes emerged. The first relates to our communications mission, reaffirming our mandate to provide you with trusted information from Grounds and news about alumni and also to represent your independent voice to the University. The second speaks to our role in connecting alumni to the University and to each other. Here are your top priorities for us, and how we’re doing:
- You’ve validated two core tenets of our mission: our role as your communication channel and your UVA connection.
- We need to invest in providing you with optimal channels to share news from Grounds and have your voices heard by the administration, including expanded use of social media.
- We continue to expand coverage of alumni, as you’ll discover inside the magazine and across all our media platforms.
Our alumni see the Alumni Association as a vehicle for advancing educational excellence at the University. Out of 12 choices, four of the top five reasons for giving to the Alumni Association relate to that priority. Another must-have is transparency in how we put your gifts to work.
- We want to build on our current academic excellence initiatives, including our array of academic scholarships, the Jefferson Trust grants we award to support educational enrichment, the Mead Endowment we manage to foster professor-student mentorship and more.
- One innovation includes helping alumni create experiential learning opportunities for students, the subject of my letter in Virginia Magazine’s Summer 2018 issue.
- To aid transparency, we’re developing an annual report that will show exactly how we deploy your philanthropy.
Focusing Our Efforts
When we asked alumni to choose two initiatives for us to focus on in the next five years, the top vote-getters were expanding our alumni careers services and creating a digital hub to serve as your central connection point to UVA.
40% prioritized broadening career services and networking opportunities for and among alumni
34% prioritized creating an inspiring and welcoming digital hub for alumni to connect and engage with each other and the University digitally
- We’re expanding career services, including adding staff to build out professional and workplace networks and partnering with schools and units to offer career-based regional programming.
- We’re investing in our digital infrastructure, including developing a new online portal to serve as a digital hub for alumni.
- We’re exploring ways to make Alumni Hall a more inviting and inspiring connection point for alumni, a physical hub to complement our digital one.
UVA outshines other schools when alumni rate their student and alumni experiences, but that doesn’t carry over to a sense of connectedness to the institution.
73% rate their student experience as Excellent, while 57% of surveyed alumni of comparable schools said the same
97% rate their student experience as Good or Excellent
34% rate their alumni experience as Excellent, while 25% of surveyed alumni of comparable schools said the same
85% rate their alumni experience as Good or Excellent
However, only 39 percent of UVA alumni reported feeling very connected to UVA, while 53 percent of alumni from comparable schools reported the same.
- We need to know what helps you feel connected so we can do more of it. In fact, tell us how you connect with UVA, with your letters to the editor or online using the hashtag #UVAAlumni.
- We are looking for ways to develop and promote more opportunities for alumni to get involved across Grounds, including mentoring students, guest lecturing and providing career support.
- We are investing in regional programming and events that connect you to the academic and student experience.
Questions or comments?
If you’d like to share your feedback about the Alumni Survey, please email us at email@example.com.