Office of Advancement
Office of Advancement

ALTogether Now

Vol. 11 - August 12, 2019

Advancement Leadership Team
Advancement Leadership Team: Steve Hornsby, Leigh Kalin, Scott Anderson, Tom Hewitt, Karen Bertrand and Deanna Bennett.

Designing a Better Alumni Experience

Leigh Kalin

Everyone asks me if the pace of work in Advancement slows in the summer. It doesn’t – there is still much to be done. But there is a different feel in Alumni Relations and Annual Giving during the summer. There are fewer meetings, and planning kicks into high gear. We have an opportunity to reflect and learn.

This past month, many of your colleagues took part in some professional development. Team members from Alumni Relations & Annual Giving and Donor Relations, Events, and Marketing and Communications participated in a special “Design Thinking” workshop offered by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

We plan to offer these workshops to alumni this fall, and the workshop provided an excellent opportunity for staff to experience it first-hand and gain knowledge to speak to our grads and encourage alumni participation. We also anticipate building a similar session into our 2020 Alumni Volunteer Summit.

I encourage you to think about how this workshop might benefit you and your teams. Read on to learn more about Design Thinking.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is one of the main methods of innovation taught at the Dunin‐Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC).

Design Thinking is a human-centred and collaborative approach to problem-solving that offers creative, iterative, and practical solutions. Design Thinking is a tool that helps us focus on what our user says, thinks, feels, and does by focusing on the person or user for whom we are solving the problem. We gain a deeper understanding of the problem through practicing empathy and observing the user, then defining the problem further, brainstorming ideas, and finally prototyping and testing to validate our assumptions and answer outstanding questions. This is an iterative approach that embeds the process of seeking feedback from our user, ensuring we are focusing on the right problem, which allows us to co-create solutions that are more meaningful.

About the Workshop

Lead by the DDQIC, this workshop is an interactive experience where participants apply the design thinking methodology to the problem of reducing personal utilities consumption. By the end of the workshop, participants have applied design thinking to develop a solution to this challenge. 

An Update from the QSAA

President Becca Dan has been busy planning the Queen’s Student Alumni Association (QSAA) activities for the year.

The QSAA has set most of the programming details and dates for 2019–20, as well as solidified a partnership with the AMS. Here are a few more highlights:

  • The QSAA has written their own personalized land acknowledgment as well as established an Equity, Inclusion, and Wellness certificate program for the ambassador volunteers.
  • Through this year’s Tricolour Giving Initiative, the QSAA will focus on the cost of education, by supporting the Promise Campaign, as well as the Students for Students initiative
  • The QSAA created a First-Year Support Letter program, which will see encouraging letters from alumni delivered to students in residence before fall term exams.

For more information, please connect with Becca or Ben.

Fun at the Castle

Over Canada Day weekend, approximately 180 Bader International Study Centre (BISC) alumni, students, family, and friends (some travelling from as far away as Singapore and Hong Kong) gathered at Herstmonceux Castle for a grand reunion celebration.

Highlights included mini-lectures from BISC professors, "Queen's Tea" in the Elizabethan Gardens, a keynote address from NASA Astronaut Dr. Andrew Feustel, PhD'95, DSc'16, the grand opening of the BISC’s new Science and Innovation Labs, guided tours of the Castle and Bader Hall, and dinner in the Castle courtyard with live music followed by dancing under the stars.

Festivities continued with a special Canada Day celebration that included local community members and Canadians living in the U.K. Over the course of the day, 650 attendees enjoyed a blend of uniquely Canadian activities and treats as well as the chance to meet a NASA astronaut, visit the Observatory Science Centre, and attend a Symphonova concert led by the BISC’s Musicians in Residence.

This event was a huge team effort! Congratulations to all involved. For a quick snapshot of the activities, see the Flickr album