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UTAA Partnership Committee

THE UTAA PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE

UTAA’s Partnership Initiative is tasked with building partnerships between UTAA and other stakeholders and constituents, especially (but not exclusively) the University’s constituent alumni associations and alumni relations teams in order to further UTAA’s mission with stakeholders who have common goals and objectives. The Partnership Initiative seeks to build more cohesion and coordination between UTAA and university-level activities and the activities of other groups who are engaged in alumni relations and building a stronger community of engaged alumni with meaningful connections to each other and to the university.

This is a long-term initiative which will encompass a number of specific projects over time. We have chosen to focus currently on a single project – the Alumni Mentorship project, which is described below – and we will look to broaden the scope of our activities over time. Further projects will be developed through dialogue with partners both inside and outside the University.

For info, email utaa.secretariat@utoronto.ca

THE PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE’S STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT

The Partnership Initiative supports the UTAA’s mission of strengthening the community of alumni and its bonds with the University and our three goals: 

  • Creating strong connections within the alumni community and with the University,
  • Providing meaningful experiences for the alumni community
  • Enabling alumni to support the University and its objectives

    
The Partnership Initiative will focus on promoting and supporting programs that give alumni meaningful ways to engage with faculty, staff, students and the broader community.

THE UTAA ALUMNI MENTORSHIP PROJECT

In the near term we will focus on alumni mentorship programs at U of T. This includes programs at all campuses, and across all faculties and departments. There are many such programs, some small, some larger, with varying scale, models and effectiveness. Some divisions that do not currently have a mentor programs are interested in starting one up and are looking for support and advice. Our goal is for the UTAA to add value by promoting mentorship at the university-wide level and by cross-populating good ideas and connections among existing alumni mentorship programs.

We have worked to determine scope and define opportunities for improvement. Our activities fall into six categories:

1. WORKSHOPS WITH ALUMNI MENTORSHIP PROGRAM ORGANIZERS

We have held workshops for over 30 alumni mentorship program managers across the university. Internal and external experts led discussions on a number of topics including:

  • Attracting and retaining mentors
  • Training and developing mentors
  • Preparing and training students
  • The matching process
  • Tracking and evaluating program success
  • Benchmarking to best practices

2. SOLICITING IMPROVEMENT IDEAS

We held series of meetings with university staff and volunteers to ensure alignment and engagement and to solicit feedback on mentorship pillar initiatives. These included the kick-off for faculty and volunteers across the University, and meetings with University staff in several different units to explore partnership possibilities.
 

3. CREATING WORKSTREAMS

We conducted a workshop with over 30 participants (staff and volunteers) to brainstorm and define scope/needs; followed up with various university divisions to ensure alignment and designate owners for each workstream.
 

4. U OF T ALUMNI MENTORSHIP RECOGNITION EVENT

  • First held in October 2012 and now an annual event
  • To develop a global picture of mentorship at the university through a university-wide event for alumni mentors, mentees, staff, faculty
  • Raise profile of alumni mentorship initiatives
  • Awards of appreciation

5. EDUCATION INITIATIVE FOR ALUMNI MENTORS ACROSS THE UNIVERSITY

  • Develop educational training and support materials for mentorship program participants
  • Benchmark other mentor programs and look for opportunities (in conjunction with student life)

6. FORMING AN OUTREACH STRATEGY TO ALUMNI

  • For New Mentors: Segment alumni and develop outreach plan for each target group (e.g. create industry specific outreach teams to contact alumni in select industries); enrich LinkedIn portal
  • For Current Mentors: Notify members of mentorship events and opportunities; complement current UofT faculty communication efforts

MENTORSHIP COMMITTEE MEMBERS

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