International Alumni & Friends
What is International Advancement?
The term "international advancement" related to support for higher education first appeared in print in the June/July 1995 issue of the NAFSA Newsletter. Defined as an initiative that   "furthers an institution's goals by broadening the horizons to achieve them", the term was coined to draw attention to often overlooked higher education constituencies such as alumni living abroad, foreign-born US resident alumni and graduates who had studied abroad.

A full-time professional position to direct international advancement was created as of March, 1995 at Ball State University. Reporting to the Vice President for University Advancement, the director was asked to identify members of the overlooked constituencies, develop relationships with individuals and groups and to involve them as financial donors, recruiters of prospective students and ambassadors of the university. These tasks required building strong working relationships with colleagues directing alumni affairs, development, university relations, data management (advancement services).

Rather than establish alumni clubs abroad, the decision was made to work with key contacts in countries where there were a significant number of alumni. Recognition of overseas alumni achievements, a novelty at Ball State prior to 1995, was a feature of an annual newsletter, the INTERNATIONALE, now sent to 3,500 readers world-wide.  Today, web-based reporting through www.bsu.edu/internationaladvancement  is emerging as the preferred communications medium, leading soon to a "push e-mail" approach. Interactive net-based meetings with alumni abroad hold great promise.

Giving to Ball State by international advancement constituencies has varied as the world economy fluctuates.Inital success was achieved inviting nationality groups abroad to support construction of a new alumni center. During the year ending September 15, 2003, nearly five hundred readers of the INTERNATIONALE contributed over $250,000 to the BSU Foundation, and new pledges received reached the $1 million level.

Assisting the director is a shared secretary and student assistants updating the website. Annually, up to four overseas trips averaging 10 days each are made to meet with key alumni. Top university leadership often participates in these visits. E-mail and telephone contact with alumni around the world occurs on a daily basis. Valuable networking and professional insights come from district and international meetings of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) .

New directions in international advancement in 2004 include actively involving alumni of study abroad programs and involving faculty as resources for overseas events.