Career Services

Ask Switchboard: How Can We Engage Alumni With Podcasts, Book Clubs, and Continuing Education?

Ask Switchboard: How Can We Engage Alumni With Podcasts, Book Clubs, and Continuing Education?

Today, the first installment in our Ask Switchboard column, where we or friends of Switchboard answer anonymous questions from readers.

Our first reader question is about using continuing education to engage alumni. Kathy Edersheim, formerly of Yale and now president of Impactrics, has written eloquently on the subject, so we hand it off to her.

A Lack of Professional Development Resources is Killing Constituent-Facing Offices in Higher Ed

A Lack of Professional Development Resources is Killing Constituent-Facing Offices in Higher Ed

Every month, we hear from folks in higher ed who are interested in Switchboard not because of what our company does, but because of what we have done—move from higher education to the private sector. Professionals in constituent-facing offices like career services, student affairs, alumni relations, and advancement want to know how they can transition from higher education, too.

This quiet, looming exodus is as frightening to watch as it is frustrating. It's frightening because institutions are losing the talent they need to succeed and survive in the changing higher ed landscape. It's frustrating because we know it is preventable.

When people leave their jobs, they each have their own reasons for moving on. But everyone we've spoken to shares one reason in common: a lack of professional development resources at their institution.

It's a huge problem, but we'll try to keep it brief. Here are four reasons why a dearth of professional development funding and opportunities is hollowing out constituent-facing offices.

Be Your Own Unicorn: Building a Strong Personal Brand

Be Your Own Unicorn: Building a Strong Personal Brand

There is so much buzz (read: extremely annoying buzz words) around building a strong personal brand. How can you own the internet? How can you make sure you are the go-to person for your area of expertise? The jargon and the tools suffocate, and at times, chokes your very essence to death . As a recovering higher ed professional myself, I’ll offer some straightforward ways to unlock your inner unicorn and make the biggest impact on your campus.

Hello, We're People: The Tao of Engagement

Hello, We're People: The Tao of Engagement

There is no word I use so often and dislike so much as I do the word “engagement.” It is overused, it sounds like it was lifted from an 80s business seminar, and—its worst crime of all—it is vague.

Because the word is already ubiquitous, we can’t get away from using it. So we try and try again to redefine it instead.

At Switchboard, we begin our weekly team meetings with a segment called “Hello, we’re people.” It’s a chance for us to be light-hearted and share something about ourselves. For example, what our favorite kind of pie is, or what sort of crime we’d most like to adjudicate as jurors (high-level white collar crime, across the board).

In that spirit, today I’m writing about how my understanding of Daoist philosophy informs my relationship with that terrible word—engagement.

Scaling Networks to Empower Our Students, Alumni, and Institutions

Pick a career services professional at any school, and you’ll find that they’re busy.  Too many students to help, too little time.

Not to mention alumni. Many career services offices don’t have time to serve alumni, and even those that do often only have one or two people serving a population of thousands—or tens of thousands.

No matter how many one-on-one meetings you have or events you throw, when you’re operating on that kind of scale, there’s no way that traditional methods can help all the students and alumni who need it.

In 2018, Patch Your Leaks Before Building New Programs

In 2018, Patch Your Leaks Before Building New Programs

When your ship is sinking, is it better to try to patch the leaks, or to build another boat?

In higher ed, whether we realize it or not, our first instinct is often to build another boat. When our existing programming stops drawing crowds, we look for new programming to bring them back. What we should do instead is ask ourselves, "Why did this stop working?" and then try to fix it.