Alumni Board Meeting Minutes

25 November 2015


Mr Richard Mayson, in the Chair and Mr John Kelly as Deputy Chair

Ms Susanna Chiu, Professor Elizabeth Gillott, Mr Chris Furness, Mr Ciaran Jones, Ms Mina Kasherova, Mrs Claire Kilner, Dr Keith Layden, Professor Claire McGourlay, Dr Trevor Richards, Professor Tilli Tansey, Mr Brian Wrigley, Sir Peter Middleton, Dr Tom Slatter


Miss Heather Bellamy

In attendance

Mrs Ruth Arnold, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Mr Robert Dufton, Miss Emma Packham, Mrs Claire Rundström, Mr Christy McMorrow, Mr Miles Stevenson, Professor Shearer West, Mr Andy Cooper, Mr Paul Fennell, Ms Lizzie Ruse, Mr David Meadows, Ms Catherine Porter


Miss Emily Knights, Miss Sikose Mjali, Mr Mark Ansell, Dr Kathryn Riddle

1. Introduction

The Chair welcomed members to meeting, including Honorary President Sir Peter Middleton, the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett and President of the Students’ Union Mr Christy McMorrow.

2. Minutes and matters arising

The minutes were approved as a correct record of the last meeting. No matters arising.

3. Report of the Vice Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, gave a presentation on the University’s links with China. The Vice-Chancellor highlighted the importance of the University’s Chinese student and alumni community and spoke about the positive impact of the relationship.

4. Alumni Volunteering Report

Emma Packham, Alumni Volunteering Manager, presented the 2014/15 Alumni Volunteering Report that reviewed key successes since the programme’s launch, challenges and plans for the future.

Several members of the Alumni Board praised the programme for the high quality experience it offers both student beneficiaries and alumni volunteers but were concerned that the programme would not be able to grow and maintain high standards without more staff resource invested into it.

5. Careers Service and eMentoring Programme

Paul Fennell, Head of the Careers Service gave a presentation outlining the key areas of work for the department including key initiatives to aid student employability. Lizzie Ruse followed with an overview of the eMentoring programme which matches alumni volunteers with current students for online mentoring. Lizzie highlighted the impressive growth of the programme and emphasised that a key priority in the future would be to expand the programme at a rate that would allow high match rates and quality to be maintained.

6. Alumni Survey Results

Claire Rundström and Andy Cooper presented the headline figures from the recent Alumni survey, including areas of improvement from the last engagement survey in 2008.

The results of the survey showed that engagement was above average compared to other benchmarked Universities, in particular for volunteer opportunities. It was raised that the engagement score outside of the Sheffield region was slightly lower, so potential regional engagement activities would be reviewed.

7. Alumni Portal

It was agreed: Information relating to the portal would be circulated outside of the meeting, Claire Rundström also requested a couple of members of the Board to input their ideas at a meeting on 11 January 2016.

8. Charter Day and Action from Court Task and Finish Group

It was agreed: That this item would be deferred to the next meeting where the Board would work in groups to discuss the possibility of an annual Charter Day, or other form of activity for the alumni body to receive presentations from the University and Students’ Union on their work over the year, as a replacement to the University Court.

Christy McMorrow discussed the importance of links between the Students’ Union and alumni as some student issues are deferred until after graduation (e.g. student debt). The Students’ Union is also investigating the possibility of getting testimonials from alumni.

9. Alumni Events Past and Future

The Board received a paper detailing past and future events.

10. The Big Walk

David Meadows gave a presentation on the recent ‘Big Walk’ community fundraising campaign.

11. Date of next meetings

4 February 2016, Institute of Mechanical Engineering, London

27 June 2016, AMRC, Sheffield

12. AOB / Future Agenda Items

Richard Mayson raised the following items for future meetings:

  • A review of the purpose of the Board, after its first year in existence.
  • The creation of Board working groups.
  • The Convocation Fund.

Richard Mayson thanked Brian Wrigley for all of his work for the University’s Convocation over the years.