Engaging alumni in private higher education to develop alumni relations
Wallace, Wesley Wayne
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This study explores the possibilities of establishing alumni relations in a private higher education institution. Therefore, the Primary objective of the study is to identify if there is a need from the alumni that have successfully completed their studies and students who have not completed their studies to remain in contact with the private higher education institution. The need for alumni relations may benefit the alumni and the private higher education institution. The secondary objectives further enhanced the research of the primary objective by exploring alumni relation avenues for relations and communication. Analysing the reasons for relations with the private higher education institution may improve student enrolments and success rates in occupational based qualifications currently being offered at the private higher education institution. The private higher education institution was examined to identify if the current qualifications offered, provide an effective platform for alumni to start entrepreneurial careers. The barriers alumni face in starting their own business and the perceptions of characteristics of successful entrepreneurs were measured against the graduate’s experiences in the work environment. The engagement of alumni and the information provided throughout the survey could lead to identifying new academic market demands and higher education industry trends in the different modes of delivery to educate students. This may lead to new enrolment plans with short and long term diversification possibilities based on results of the survey. The literature review defines alumni, entrepreneurship in alumni, higher education descriptions and trends, smartphones as a survey tool, communication methods and an overview of the private higher education institution. These areas formed the basis of the survey in combination with the primary and secondary objectives. The study was conducted on the alumni of the private higher education institution used for this study. The survey was sent out to the available contacts on the current data base and 141 respondents replied. This sample formed the basis of the empirical investigation in chapter three. The demographics, alumni relations and the private higher education institution’s location, qualification offerings and effectiveness used descriptive statistics that included mean values and standard deviations. In the survey section three and five analyses were conducted using Chronbach’s alpha coefficients to identify the reliability, validity and internal consistency of the different variables. Kaiser’s measure of sample adequacy (MSA) was then used to give a better indication of the inter correlations among variables and to determine whether the factor analysis done on section three and five were applicable to the study. Descriptive statistics and effect sizes were then calculated on the constructs for differences between main courses and demographics. Based on results from the empirical investigation and the factors explored throughout the study, the results were concluded with recommendations, the achievement of the objectives and suggestions for future research.