Global alumni relations

The University at Albany’s International Education Leadership Expert Series presents a module with Dr. Gretchen Dobson, Ed.D. to create, expand and deepen your global network of active and engaged alumni worldwide.


Offered Periodically


Registration Fee: $399

About the module

An institution exists because of its students, and its graduates. Increasingly, graduates of educational students are located abroad. Some are international students who came and then returned home upon graduation. Others are domestic graduates who choose to live abroad as transnational, or expatriate alumni. In the case of some institutions, global alumni numbers in the thousands or tens of thousands. In a great many institutions, there are hundreds. In the case of most institutions, there has been little sustained effort to cultivate and engage this hidden global asset. This course focuses on explicit strategies and techniques that can be used to improve global alumni relations.

Global Alumni Relations is an asynchronous, professional development module designed to provide leaders with the skills and competencies needed to assess institutional readiness to invest in a global alumni relations strategy, and methods for communicating the value proposition to an internal institutional audience. Special emphasis is placed on virtual alumni and stakeholder engagement – particularly relevant during the COVID era – and how to build sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships. Each student will incorporate key course learnings to create a Global Alumni Relations 12-Month Project Plan.

Successful completion of this course will result in a digital micro-credential acknowledging completion of this professional development expert module from the International Education Management & Leadership Program at the University at Albany (SUNY).

Who Should Attend?

• Deans and Directors of International Programs interested in developing an institution-wide approach to global alumni and constituent relations
• Directors of Alumni Relations Programs interested in starting a global alumni department

Who Should Attend?

• Existing global alumni relations officers seeking additional knowledge and capacity
• International Education Officers interested in understanding the value proposition of global alumni relations.

Who Should Attend?

• New global alumni relations officers (central, faculty/school-based)
• Associations, consortia, government and other organizations with strong beneficiary and supporter networks, e.g., Rotary International, Fulbright Commission, Children’s hospital, religious seminaries, etc.

Expert Series Presenter

Dr. Gretchen Dobson, Ed.D.

For additional resources and commentary, see

Gretchen Dobson is a global engagement strategist, author and academic with 28 years’ experience working across six continents. Dobson advises CEOs, governing boards, embassies and policymakers on best practices in digital and other creative strategies and solutions that enable institutions, companies, organizations and governments to identify, track, engage, and manage relationships with their global stakeholders and brand ambassadors.

Dobson is the author of Being Global: Making the Case for International Alumni Relations (CASE Books, 2011), the International Travel Handbook (Academic Impressions, 2014), has edited Staying Global: how international alumni relations advances the agenda (EAIE, 2015), and co-authored Engaging International Alumni as Strategic Partners (NAFSA, 2021).

Dobson received her BA and MA from Boston College, and her EdD from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds adjunct faculty appointments with the University at Albany and Endicott College’s Graduate Schools of Education, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College.

She is based in New South Wales, Australia.

  • Students will receive a set of resources tailored to the course, both readings, case studies, articles and workbook materials (e.g., Global Alumni Relations 12-month Project Plan Template).
  • Required readings:
    • Dobson, Gretchen. Being Global: Making the Case for International Alumni Relations (CASE Books, 2011) & International Travel Handbook: Engaging Constituents Abroad (Academic Impressions, 2014). Provided by instructor.
  • Additional readings to be determined.
  1. Readiness Assessment Techniques: how to assess readiness to invest in global alumni relations and how to communicate the value proposition for global alumni relations and program.
    1. 4 Pillars of Engagement.
    2. 6 main reasons why we engage global alumni (including families and other institutional stakeholders).
    3. Requisite resources for sustainable programs.
  2. Planning Across the Organization: what you need to know if alumni relations is not your primary focus and how to refresh your approach and update your toolkit if your portfolio centers on global alumni engagement.
    1. International database management (including transnational alumni).
    2. International volunteer management.
    3. Staffing (Cross-Training) and Partnerships (Consortia).
    4. How to develop internal alignment and support for investing in global alumni relations.
  3. Virtual Community Engagement: techniques to engage global alumni communities.
    1. Reinventing annual or signature in-person events to engage broader alumni community.
    2. Using virtual means to upskill and train global alumni volunteers to become brand ambassadors.
    3. International marketing and recruitment: successful partnerships with global alumni.
  4. Writing a Global Alumni Relations 12-month Project Plan.
    1. Prioritizing next steps with clear objectives every three months.
    2. Identifying metrics to assess progress and success at each stage of the Plan.
    3. Flexible planning models for creating new or updating existing strategies.
    4. How to involve international alumni and key stakeholders in the Plan.
Participants will each develop a 12-month Project Plan for Global Alumni Relations which will serve as evidence competency for the micro-credential.

Expert Series Design Structure

The instructor-led asynchronous sessions will be offered periodically.

Instructions for connecting to asynchronous sessions and accessing the online material will be provided after registration.

Registration Fee: $399

15% Discount on registration for SUNY employees and 3 or more registrations from the same institution.

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