The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of MichiganThe Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan

Ford School Alumni Board

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Founded in 1990, the Ford School Alumni Board offers peer-elected alumni a first-hand understanding of the school's goals, programs, and key issues--and enables members to share their wisdom and experiences in an advisory capacity.

The Alumni Board is a representative group of alumni of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy that provides volunteer leadership to help support the programs and activities of the school. The mission: to promote the Ford School and to increase its visibility.

To see pictures of Alumni Board members at work, visit the Ford School's Alumni Board Flickr album.

Primary responsibilities

  • Act as a resource and sounding board for the departments handling graduate career services, alumni relations, development, outreach and communications, and student and academic services
  • Serve as key volunteers and goodwill ambassadors of the school with alumni, current and prospective students, current and potential employers, and other constituents of the school by making phone calls to admitted students, attending student recruitment fairs, organizing events, and more
  • Attend board meetings twice a year in Ann Arbor, in the spring and fall (travel expenses are the responsibility of board members) and serve on board subcommittees throughout the year

Primary activities

Student recruitment: Alumni Board members identify and assist in the implementation of strategies designed to help the Ford School a) increase the quantity and diversity of the student applicant pool and b) increase the number of accepted students who enroll at the Ford School. Board members are accessible to current and prospective students seeking informational interviews and job/career advice. They participate in the Ford School's annual Spring Preview activities, which give all admitted students a chance to visit the Ford School and engage with alumni, students, faculty, and staff. And they reach out to some of the school's top admitted students to answer questions and provide information.

Student career services: Alumni Board members Identify opportunities for alumni involvement in career development programming at the Ford School and help staff increase the number and variety of employment and internship opportunities available to students and graduates. Board members are accessible to current students seeking informational interviews and job/career advice, and provide leads on jobs and summer internships by creating or identifying opportunities and forwarding relevant job and internship postings. 

Alumni engagement: Alumni Board members work to increase the level of alumni involvement with the Ford School by attending and promoting Ford School events and functions (regional alumni receptions, student career exploration trips, alumni reunion activities, Worldwide Ford School Spirit Day events, and more). Board members promote the Ford School's online community through LinkedIn and other social networking sites, serve on a subcommittee to review nominations and select the winner of the Neil Staebler Alumni Service Award, and make themselves accessible to fellow alumni with job, networking, and relocation questions.

Development: Alumni Board members assist with the Ford School's efforts to attract philanthropic investments for student support and other school initiatives. Board members contribute to the annual board fundraising goal (traditionally to support student internships) and share their perspectives on the value of philanthropic giving to the Ford School.  

Other projects arise from year-to-year. In the past, board members have attended graduate school fairs on behalf of the Ford School, conducted mock job interviews with current students, participated in career panels, and participated in the alumni fundraising campaign for Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, the school's home on central campus. 

The Alumni Board bylaws outline the board's structure and responsibilities. At minimum, board members are asked to attend two meetings per year at the Ford School, to provide financial support for students, and to serve on at least one committee. 

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