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.


Dec 20, 2021 – Jan 12, 2022


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 a synchronous, interactive 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 Specialist with over 27 years of progressive experience in global constituent relations. Following the successful completion of a $1.2 billion campaign at Tufts University in 2012, she founded the first international alumni relations consulting firm which, today, has served a diversity of clients and partners across five continents. Alongside her consulting practice, Dobson is a co-founder of Academic Assembly, a technologically enabled comprehensive international education sales consultancy headquartered in New York City and Australia.

Dobson embraces innovative EdTech strategies and solutions that enable institutions, organizations and governments to identify, track and manage relationships with their global stakeholders. Dobson is active in industry professional associations includes leadership, training and coaching roles.

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 developed the first online course in Global Alumni Relations Management. She is currently writing NAFSA’s first book on global alumni relations (expected publication in 2021). Read more…

  • 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 synchronous sessions will include four meetings of 2 hours each via Zoom (UAlbany).

Synchronous Sessions:

  • Monday, Dec 20 – 4-6pm EST (GMT-5)
  • Wednesday, Jan 5 – 4-6pm EST (GMT-5)
  • Monday, Jan 10 – 4-6pm EST (GMT-5)
  • Wednesday, Jan 12 – 4-6pm EST (GMT-5)

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

Registration Fee: $399

15% Discount on registration for SUNY employees.

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