Alumni Board Meeting Minutes

Friday 4 November 2016


Richard Mayson, in the Chair and Alison Hope as Deputy Chair

Trevor Richards, Susanna Chiu, Mina Kasherova, Keith Layden, Claire Kilner, Chris Furness, Alison Gardner, Abdi Suleiman, Sally Jones, Susan Belcher, Guilherme Guimaraes, Tom Slatter, Dominic Trendall


Ms Heather Bellamy

In attendance

Paul Wood, Dorothea Wood, Julie Tereschuk (USA Board of Directors and guests)

Robert Dufton, Miles Stevenson, Emma Packham, Claire Rundström, Helen Rey, Michelle Moore, Sara Qutub, Jo Purves, Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, Hayley Chalmers, Nick Kennard


Claire McGourlay, Mark Ansell, Elizabeth Gillott, Kathryn Riddle, Sir Peter Middleton, Martin McKervey, Emily Knights

1. Introduction

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting, including a new cohort of Alumni Board members, including the President of the Students’ Union, as well as members and guests of the University of Sheffield in America Board of Directors that would be observing the meeting.

After each member introduced themselves, Paul Wood from the USA Board gave a brief update on their activities and their aims as a charitable organisation that raises funds for scholarships and other projects related to the University.

2. Minutes and matters arising

The minutes were approved as a correct record of the last meeting.

The Chair gave an overview of his idea for the Convocation Lecture, which was agreed would be subsidised by the Convocation Fund. The lecture would be held in Sheffield in 2018 and the Vice-Chancellor would be sending out an invitation to an alumni guest speaker.

It was agreed: that the Chair would report back on progress in securing a guest speaker at a future meeting.

The Chair also mentioned that the Board would need to discuss the allocation of the Convocation Fund money that will be going towards Charter Day activities at a future meeting.

The Board received a written report from the Vice-Chancellor who was unable to attend the meeting due to an overseas trip to India.

The Chair noted that board members will have received a copy of a nomination for the Distinguished Alumni Award nomination and gave further background information about the nominee.

It was agreed: that the nominee would receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, with the aim of making the oration during a graduation ceremony in January 2017.

3. Overview of Alumni Relations activities and challenges for the upcoming year

The Board heard updates from the Alumni Relations team on various areas of their work (communications, events and volunteering), including an overview of activities and their key challenges for the upcoming year.

Board members split into three groups to discuss ideas on how to overcome these challenges and offered advice to the alumni relations team.

The Board was encouraged to self-nominate members that could form sub-groups of 2-3 members to advise on each of these areas by acting as a sounding board for the Alumni Relations team.

It was agreed: that Susan Belcher and Tom Slatter would form the Events sub-group.

It was agreed: that Trevor Richards and Chris Furness would form the Volunteering sub-group.

It was agreed: following the meeting, that Guilherme Guimaraes and Mark Ansell would from the Communications sub-group.

4. Alumni events past and future

The Board received a paper detailing alumni and University events that had taken place over the last year and also events that were planned for the upcoming year.

The Chair asked for feedback from members that had attended alumni events in the past, including the recent Alumni Volunteers Conference and Thank You Event. It was reported that these events had been both useful and enjoyable.

5. Embedding alumni relations into the University, case study from the Faculty of Engineering

The Board heard a presentation from Elena Rodriguez-Falcón, on the Faculty of Engineering’s alumni relations strategy and the progress they had made in embedding this into the Faculty. Elena advised other faculties thinking of improving their alumni relations:

  • to carry out an exercise whereby key faculty staff complete the sentence ‘to achieve our visions and objectives, I would like DARE to support us with…’
  • to include alumni engagement as a priority in the yearly planning round
  • to meet with all Heads of Department to ask for their priorities on engaging alumni
  • to ensure that there is a structure in place within departments to manage alumni engagement work.

6. PET-MRI Campaign

Michelle Moore, Head of Major Gifts and Deputy Director of Development, Alumni Relations and Events gave a presentation on the upcoming fundraising campaign for the PET-MRI facility.

In the presentation, Michelle gave a campaign case study and spoke about the impact the equipment would have, as well as outlining plans on how DARE would raise the £2 million needed. This was followed by group discussions including how the Alumni Board can help the office to achieve their fundraising goal for the campaign.

7a. The University’s Strategic Plan: Our Place Globally

Jo Purves, Director of Global Engagement, gave a brief presentation about the University’s new internationalisation strategy including key aims and objectives. The Board then discussed ideas as to how alumni can support this strategy, including promoting the #WeAreInternationalCampaign, encouraging alumni volunteer support of student recruitment and providing international opportunities for students.

It was agreed: that Jo Purves would distribute student recruitment toolkits to be circulated among alumni to encourage support in this area.

7b. The University’s Strategic Plan: Our Public Responsibility

It was agreed: that this item would be deferred to a future meeting.

8. AOB

Miles Stevenson raised that there will be a change to the scholarship allocation process so that A-Level students will now be offered scholarships as an incentive to choose the University.

The Chair said that some alumni had been in contact with him about the issue of closed departments and what this means for those alumni.

It was agreed: that this would be raised as an item on a future agenda.

Claire Rundström updated the Board about the alumni portal and membership cards, saying that the office was waiting for an update to database software before continuing the development process.

Miles Stevenson made a special presentation of a certificate to Richard Mayson, to recognise his entry onto the Vice-Chancellor’s list.

9. Future agenda items

  • Allocation of Convocation Fund money for Charter Day 2017
  • Closed departments
  • Alumni ambassadors
  • University strategy: Our Public Responsibility
  • Alumni events

10. Date of next meetings

  • 30 March 2017, Goodenough College, London - 4-6pm followed by an evening reception and workshop with current donors.
  • June 2017, University of Sheffield, venue TBD