Alumni in Institutional Advancement at essay

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..stand out in the material consulted regarding the critical closing years of the twentieth century. First, the external audiences of African universities, including UNESCO, had a sympathetic understanding of the problems that assailed them, a number of which could be said to be world-wide. One could look forward to a future that produced concrete propositions for recovering from the crisis that was being experienced. Secondly, a pattern of three generations of scholars was emerging. It comprised:

1) postgraduate students of outstanding caliber and suitable for training as future university teachers;

2) their incumbent professors, and 3) an older generation of alumni and scholars - emeritus professors and seasoned retired university teachers and writers like JF Ade Ajayi, Lamech KH Goma and G. Ampah Johnson, whose wealth of experience gave us, three years after Alexandria 1993, an unrivalled summary of the fortunes of the African University in their book, the African Experience with Higher Education. (Bartels, 2004)

Bartels states that this "...remained for the three generations of scholars to exploit their separate potentials and to turn them into mutually reinforcing capabilities for promoting a creative engagement between the life of learning and the life of humans - within and outside the African University." (Bartels, 2003)

The work of Daweti (2006) entitled: "Society and the Multiple Communities of Higher Education" relates that long established within the traditions of universities are "...professional interests, affiliations, roles, and conditions of service that identify and separate groups have long been established within university traditions. As new social and institutional imperatives emerge, however, professional comfort zones are disturbed. Traditional communities of practice are gradually becoming more open and more participatory." According to Daweti (2006) the university is presently under an obligation to "...reposition itself to support efforts to meet essential human needs, build a post-colonial and post-apartheid society, and engender a vibrant intellectual culture is, nevertheless, critical of the transformation discourses that define the social role of a university primarily in terms of national needs: These calls for the transformation of higher education in the name of national development, however, also represent statements of political intent whose utilitarian notions of a university's function have given rise to the movement away from elitist to mass and universal higher education. Such utilitarian perceptions of a university's role in society need, however, to be treated with some reservation because there is an explicit narrowness in these goals which ignores the inherent value of democracy in education." (Daweti, 2006)

Daweti (2006) additionally relates that there has long been established "within the university tradition...the identities, affiliations, roles and conditions of service of separate groups." The Vygotskian perspective, according to Daweti (2006) is one in which "learning is a social process in which people learn from one another through participation in the construction of knowledge."

Daweti defines a community of practice as one consisting of "...a set of interactions and specialized activities performed by a group of people who share a common sense of identity, purpose and roles. Individuals belong to more than one community of practice, and perform multiple roles that are guided by the norms and discourse of each community. The community-maintaining function of discourse is intertwined with meaning-making, identity, and control over ways of interacting with people and objects. Discourse signifies the social practices that members of a community account meaningful, worthy and acceptable. Therefore, acquiring a discourse means developing the ability to represent knowledge appropriately in a specific domain and at a particular historical moment." (Daweti, 2006)

Daweti notes that there are various other "cliques, specialization areas, points of convergence and tensions...within and across such communities of practice." (2006) the work of Daweti speaks of "Academic Tribes" and states specifically that this is defined as the "institutions, disciplines, and the people who make them" and their eagerness to "preserve their distinct cultures and identities." (2006) Daweti (2006) states that institutions and organizations "...are more than just the sum of the people in them. There are social elements that shape individuals' interactions at work and their perceptions of self in relation to the job and the organization. Since many people spend most of their lifetime in the workplace, it is clear that they need to participate in the creation of the discourses which regulate and represent their selfhood." Daweti relates that engagement of alumni includes promotion of the diversification of staffing of universities which is viewed as the "response to the social, political, economic and cultural needs and demographics of our country." (2006)

Daweti states that for the largest part "...black, female and disabled persons continue to be the targets of employment equity policies. However, once appointed, the recruits are expected to adapt automatically to existing cultures and structures. Once-off orientation sessions and cultural awareness courses are expected to produce cohesion and collegiality. Creating the circumstances for broader cultural awareness and greater professional satisfaction is important, but more is needed. Rather than seek to empower people by "giving" them power or "allowing" them the freedom to act within clearly defined parameters, those parameters or traditions must be opened up and shaped anew. The challenge is to transform educational institutions from monolithic centers of power to democratic constellations in which organizational structures reflect diverse cultures and perspectives." (2006)

The work of Catherine Burnheim (2007) entitled: "External Engagement and Institutional Autonomy in Higher Education" states: "Universities have become more interested in their alumni over the past five years. This interest has been primarily driven by the rising potential for repeat business in the form of postgraduate enrolments and donations or sponsorship. International alumni relationships are particularly important to student recruitment. Alumni relationships strengthen the 'brand' of the university, as individuals associate themselves with the cultural capital of their institution, and the social capital of their peer group. Universities hope that in turn they can draw on the social and economic capital of their alumni. Each case study university had or was in the process of establishing, a substantial alumni office as well as faculty based and offshore alumni groups. In several cases, staff or consultants from North America were used to try to replicate the success of U.S. And Canadian universities in 'leveraging' their alumni relationships." (Burnheim, 2007)

The work entitled: "Report by the Committee on Service Learning and Engaged Scholarship" published by Rutgers University (2007) states in relation to service learning at universities that service learning can be reinforced "in specific disciplines...if former students (alumni of the program) return to provide insights and personal reflections to help the current students. This provides supplemental learning from former students with first hand experience. The former students can also relate how the program helped them advance their own careers. It will be important to maintain relationship with such alumni to help grow the program and keep it viable."

The work of Jonathan Marks (2004) entitled: "Expatriate Professionals as an Entry Point Into Global Knowledge-Intensive Value Chains: South Africa" notes the importance of university alumni and reports a study in which "...surveys were mailed to U.S.-based expatriate alumni of the University of Natal." Marks reports that the goal of SANSA is connecting "highly skilled expatriates in the field of science and technology with their counterparts in South Africa to create an environment for collaboration and skills transfer. This provides the means for expatriates to play a role in the development of South Africa without having to uproot and return home. The network was formed through accessing the alumni networks of all major South African universities and Technikons. The aim of SANSA was to provide the opportunity for local academics, researchers and scientists to form connections with their counterparts in the Diaspora. No charge was levied for listing on and/or accessing the SANSA database." (2006)

Marks reports that a "...second Diaspora initiative in South Africa began in 2001 through funding from the World Bank Development Marketplace. This project is housed at the University of Cape Town's Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and was initiated to develop a Diaspora network of South African expatriates and those interested in South Africa's growth and development, particularly with regard to growing entrepreneurial ventures, links and relationships. This network utilized existing expatriate organizations such at University alumni associations and the South African Business Club, an organization with members in the United Kingdom and United States of America." (2006)

The key objectives stated to be identified in this project are the following:

1) Facilitation of networking between respected and influential ex-South African business people in key overseas markets and young, high potential South African-based startup ventures;

2) Increase of the quality of international market and competitor information available to high potential South African-based start-up ventures;

3) Reduction of the cost, time and risk of obtaining reliable information from overseas markets by high potential South African-based start-up ventures; and 4) minimization of the risk of the process compromising sensitive competitive information. (Marks, 2006)

According to Marks members located overseas are "...represented by well placed and highly connected ex-South Africans living in the greater London area. These members expressed…[continue]

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