This article will be discussing the relationship between Alumni Relations and Careers Services and how their relationship can accelerate or decelerate a mentoring program.
The success of a mentoring program relies largely on the state of the relationship between the Career Services and the Alumni Relations departments and whether they choose to coordinate and collaborate.
Once they have chosen to collaborate, the question is who should take the lead? Should Career Services lead because the goal is to progress the students career? Or, should Alumni Relations take things forward because their role is to engage alumni?
Historically, there are Career Service offices that have existed on college campuses and then there are Alumni Offices in separate buildings, each with separate budgets and different staff. For years, these two offices have been different entities and have often struggled to fully align their priorities.
In the last two decades, members of staff from either Alumni Relations or Careers have effectively said “let’s involve alumni more strategically by making them mentors to boost our students’ career options.” Unlocking this potential hinged largely on the collaboration between the Alumni and Career offices.
As a whole, this strategy has been beneficial for both mentoring programs and reducing tension between Alumni and Career offices. However, effective collaboration has not happened across the board.
Today, there are still plenty of Alumni Office teams – especially at large, public, highly decentralized universities in the United States – who sit miles away from their colleagues in the Careers Offices and have practically no relationship with them. Some even have an adversarial relationship with their central Career Services office.
There remains huge potential for these two critical offices to work much closer together. The future of successful mentoring programs require collaboration to be the norm and not the exception. Change is happening.