Alumni Board Meeting Minutes

Thursday 29 June 2017


Richard Mayson, in the Chair

Susan Belcher, Susanna Chiu, Chris Furness, Elizabeth Gillott, Guilherme Guimaraes, Alison Hope, Keith Layden, Claire McGourlay, Martin McKervey, Trevor Richards, Tom Slatter


Kirsty Woodhead

In attendance

Michelle Moore, Claire Rundstrom, Miles Stevenson

Wyn Morgan, Kieran Maxwell, Emily Roche Una Moran, Jody Dalton


Mark Ansell, Alison Gardner, Sally Jones, Mina Kasherova, Claire Kilner, Kathryn Riddle

1. Introduction

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting, including the Vice-President for Education, Professor Wyn Morgan, the newly appointed Students’ Union President, Kieran Maxwell, current Sports Officer, Emily Roche, and Una Moran and Jody Dalton from the University of Sheffield’s Management School.

The board heard that Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, would be leaving the University in October 2017 to join the University of Nottingham as its Vice-Chancellor. Professor Gill Valentine had been appointed as the interim Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

It was reported that Andy Dodman, Chief Operating Officer, would be taking responsibility for Alumni Relations following Shearer West’s departure and that he would be invited to attend future meetings.

2. Minutes and matters arising

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

It was agreed: that Helen Sharman would be invited to deliver the first Convocation Lecture when she visited on 20th July 2017 to formally open the Diamond building and receive her Honorary Degree.

Both David Fyfe and Sarah Evans had accepted their distinguished alumni awards and would receive them during the July 2017 ceremonies.

The Board received a written report from the Vice-Chancellor who was unable to attend the meeting.

3. Current issues for UEB

The Board heard from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, about some of the current key issues within the University.

During the discussion, the Board heard about the recent Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) process and outcome, in which the University of Sheffield had been ranked at silver level. Sir Michael Barber had been appointed as the new Chair of The Office for Students, and the opening of this office would result in the disappearance of HEFCE.

The University had recently been nominated for three Times Higher awards, and had won the award for Estates Strategy.

Clearly Brexit and the recruitment of international students was a big concern. Professor Morgan reported that home applications were currently on par with last year and that international applications were slightly higher, especially amongst EU students.

4. Alumni engagement and support for the Students’ Union

The Board were joined by Kieran Maxwell, newly appointed President of the Students’ Union, and Emily Roche, current Sports Officer.

The current main issues raised by the Students’ Union were:
• Mental Health
• My Academic Life
• Safety, Travel, and Housing

It was proven that participating in sports and physical activity could improve mental health. However, with limited budgets and a freeze on accepting new clubs, this was becoming harder to provide.

It was agreed: that Guilherme Guimaraes would help the officers to make a commercial plan and reach out to the private sector for sponsorships for sports and physical activity.

It was agreed: that Kirsty Woodhead would obtain the results from the mental health survey and circulate them to the Board.

It was agreed: that Kieran Maxwell would look into producing an annual report from the Students’ Union.

5. “We Are International” Campaign

The Board heard a presentation from Ian Gardiner, Marketing Manager, and Annie Goss, Head of Media & PR.

The Board heard about the “International Alumni Memories” campaign which had been developed to show that the University always had been and always would be an international university. The campaign was first launched in January 2017 and would now remain an ongoing campaign aligned with the wider “We Are International” campaign.

An event would be held at the House of Commons on 4th July 2017 to promote the “We are International” campaign.

6. Alumni Portal Update

The portal would provide bespoke information and services, and allow alumni to make better use of alumni peer networks.

Claire Rundstrom reported that after being on hold until the alumni database was upgraded, the project was now moving forward again.

It was agreed: that Claire would provide some form of timescale for the project to the Chair of the Board.

7. Alumni Engagement in the Management School

The Board heard a presentation from Una Moran, Business Development Manager, and Jody Dalton, External Relations Officer.

During the presentation, the Board heard about how the Management School engaged with their alumni. Jody Dalton reported that the school had over 10,000 alumni on their database, and that around 4,000 of those were engaged.

It was agreed: that Susanna Chui would attempt to work more closely with Sara Qutub and Jody Dalton to create better channels for alumni in Hong Kong and China.

8. Fundraising Update

The Big Walk would take place on Friday 30th June 2017. David Meadows, Development Officer for Legacies and Individual Giving, reported that £78k had already been raised through community fundraising, of which £55k was from the Big Walk alone.

Michelle Moore reported that in the four months since the MRI-PET Sheffield Scanner campaign was launched, over 450 donations, totalling £630k, had been received.

9. Events

The Board received a full list of upcoming events for 2017 and 2018.

It was agreed: that the Development, Alumni Relations, and Events office would liaise with the audio visual team about the quality of any lectures that were livestreamed or uploaded to the website.

10. A.O.B

The Board congratulated Susanna Chui on her recent Justice of the Peace award from the Hong Kong SAR Government.

11. Date of next meeting

15th November 2017, University of Sheffield