Reaching Beyond Campus: Engage alumni, community, institutional and international partners

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"...We ask that alumni be viewed as a key stakeholder group alongside faculty, staff and students; that the alumni voice be celebrated; that we be engaged at meaningful points in time; and that Western reaches out to us on matters of institutional priority.

Leadership in Learning:
Western Alumni Association, February 2013

"…Western plays on a global stage but its local role is also more important than ever before as an essential part of the City of London that makes significant contributions to our economy and community. Western is one of London’s most prominent institutions, largest employers and a primary magnet of talent into our community."

City of London, April 2013

Western cherishes its longstanding ties to its home in London, and we are highly cognizant of the importance of relationships with key local stakeholders and institutional partners. These groups include: some 277,000 alumni who live around the world and are represented by the Alumni Association; current students represented by the University Students' Council and the Society of Graduate Students; Western's 8,200 faculty and staff members represented by various unions and employee associations; the City of London; our three Affiliated University Colleges; Fanshawe College; affiliated teaching hospitals and health research institutes; local First Nations communities; community organizations and social service agencies. This list is far from exhaustive. We also take enormous pride in our physical setting in London, which plays a significant role in recruiting and retaining students, faculty and staff from across Canada and abroad who share our appreciation for the beauty, safety and friendliness of our campus and surrounding community.

Beyond our local community, Western is also indebted to the mutually beneficial relationships we actively sustain with a growing list of regional, provincial, national and international organizations. These relationships contribute importantly to our rising profile as a global university. Recognizing that Western's continued success is increasingly dependent upon our institution's ability to interact in meaningful ways with a large and complex global network of stakeholder groups, we will strengthen our public engagement and outreach by:  

  1. Engaging our global alumni community as active ambassadors for higher education: As graduates, no group is more knowledgeable of and influenced by Western's student learning experience than our alumni. Western's ability to excel in the global environment increasingly depends on how well we are able to engage the active support of our alumni community locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Beyond their proven and generous capacity for providing philanthropic support (including that received during the current “Be Extraordinary” Campaign for Western, which aims to raise $750-million by 2018), we intend to engage alumni more creatively and effectively as advocates for their Alma Mater and for the cause of postsecondary education more broadly. These efforts will include:
    • supporting alumni in forming global links and virtual networks that will mutually benefit individual graduates and their Alma Mater;
    • celebrating graduates' success stories in traditional and social media;
    • seeking alumni help to advocate for greater public support of Western and higher education;
    • exploring opportunities to provide alumni with enhanced access to online library resources, services and life-long learning opportunities;
    • tapping graduates' personal networks as a means to identify exceptional students, faculty and staff in our recruitment efforts;
    • leveraging alumni knowledge to assist with the development of innovative curriculum and research initiatives that will better prepare our students to become global citizens;
    • cultivating ongoing alumni interest in Western's activities and linking alumni to participation opportunities;
    • accessing graduates' expertise on revenue diversification strategies that will help minimize the University's reliance on governmental and tuition sources;
    • maximizing the ability of professional school graduates to link to their professional communities.

  2. Seeking mutual points of advocacy with our unions, employee and student groups: We commit to working with the various constituency groups on campus to find mutual points of advocacy that will strengthen the high quality of Western's teaching and research and increase Western's profile on the global stage. 

  3. Contributing to London's social, cultural and economic development: Western reaffirms its strong and ongoing commitment to playing a leadership role in contributing to the high quality of life enjoyed by citizens of London and the regional community. The University's direct points of interaction with the City and community are both countless and varied. As one of London's largest employers, Western generates—conservatively reckoned—an estimated $2-billion in economic activity annually. Along with the 8,200 faculty and staff employed on campus, Western and its Affiliated University Colleges attract 6,400 first-year undergraduates each year, in addition to more than 31,000 upper-year, graduate and postdoctoral scholars who count among the brightest young minds in the country. Western will continue to explore with the City of London and other community organizations mutually beneficial initiatives that contribute to the city's quality of life and advance the teaching and research mission of the University.

  4. Partnering with educational and research institutions at home and abroad: To advance our goals, Western believes that it can achieve more by partnering with other educational and research institutions than what it can achieve by going it alone. In advancing Western's teaching and research priorities, we will pursue select opportunities to partner with institutions through which mutual benefit can be achieved.

  5. Improving accessibility and success in higher education for Indigenous peoples: Western has undertaken many activities to strengthen its relationship with regional Aboriginal communities. This began with the establishment of the Aboriginal Education and Employment Council (AEEC) in 1991 (renamed in March 2014 to the Indigenous Postsecondary Education Council - IPEC), which highlighted a commitment, articulated again in Engaging the Future in 2006, to developing distinct initiatives for recruiting and supporting Aboriginal students. Today, Western is home to approximately 450 students who identify themselves as being of Aboriginal ancestry and whose presence and activities contribute significantly to the cultural diversity of our campus community. Looking ahead, Western reaffirms its commitments to making higher education more accessible to Indigenous peoples, to improving the learning experiences and success of Indigenous students, to hiring and supporting the success of Indigenous scholars and staff, and to improving the well-being of Indigenous peoples through ethical research and social involvement. To accomplish these important goals, Western looks to partner with the IPEC to develop an inclusive multi-year Indigenous Strategic Plan that will encompass key priorities over the next five years.