Making connections: An evaluative study of the role of social media in alumni engagement
Using Linkedin as a tool to foster alumni engagement, affinity and participation within a higher educational institution
The School of Public Health (SPH) at the University of Alberta was formed in 2006 bringing together the Alberta Centre for Injury Control Research (ACICR), the Centre for Health Promotion Studies (CHPS) and the Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) under the umbrella of one faculty. Alumni from the centres and department have expressed feelings of disconnection from SPH. As such, in the past two years SPH has dedicated resources to help build affinity, strengthen relationships and foster engagement, communicating that all alumni are part of the SPH family.
Literature indicates that certain social media platforms can help facilitate communications and engagement with those tied to higher education institutions. The purpose of this evaluation study is to examine alumni engagement through social media, focusing on the professional platform Linkedin. Applying Rogers theory of diffusion of innovation, this study will incorporate a census survey sample and semi-structured interviews to evaluate if the social media that SPH is using is engaging alumni in a satisfactory way.
Findings from this study will provide insight into the views of alumni and create the basis for further research in how they engage and communicate with their alma mater using today’s technology.