In the assessment community, we continuously hear about efforts being made to reach an alumni base that is increasingly more available online, but for some reason, harder to track down. We use several techniques to build our Pharmacy alumni database. As we’ve blogged about before, the Office of Assessment currently manages the College’s Facebook and Twitter pages (as well as this blog). These social media sites function as an excellent modes of communication between the college and all stakeholders (current students, alumni and faculty). We currently use both Facebook and Twitter (Twitter, Facebook) in several important ways:
-Board exam review question contests
-Student event announcements
-Important registration announcements
-Requests for feedback
-Important University re-posts/re-tweets
-Multimedia posts (pictures from student events, ceremonies etc.)
One of the more functional aspects of these sites, is the interconnectivity between them. For example, once this blog entry gets posted, it is also automatically cross-posted to Twitter and Facebook. This connection is important in maintaining a cohesive mode of communication that can be accessed through whichever channel is most convenient for our users. Correspondingly, the users help maintain their connection to us. If we need to ask our alumni for help, surveys or general questions, we know where to go to ask.
The Office of Assessment also continuously updates alumni contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers in order to notify alumni regarding important events or college news. This is done by requesting personal e-mail addresses from graduating pharmacy students, every April, before graduation. This year, we will be expanding this process to include all graduating students from other programs. It is essential to obtain alumni contact information before our students walk out the door at graduation. By engaging our future alumni now, we won’t have to bother them later. We are able to keep them engaged, share useful information, and not overwhelm them with repetitive emails. They choose to engage with us through whatever social media platform they prefer, we just need to make sure that we are available there for them.