Gretchen Dobson Joins Academic Assembly

With over 23 years of experience in higher education, Gretchen Dobson has joined Academic Assembly, Inc. as Vice Academic AssemblyPresident, International Alumni & Graduate Services and Managing Director, Australia. Her division leads institutions, governments and member-based organizations towards sustainable international alumni engagement strategies and solutions. Academic Assembly produces professional development resources, provides planning strategy and support, coaching and where needed, contracted services. The end goal is to build institution’s alumni into a successful platform to extend their global success.

Visit Academic Assembly for more information.

Introducing the Global Alumni Relations Course

Newly released is Academic Assembly’s Global Alumni Relations Course. Created by renowned international alumni development expert Dr. Gretchen Dobson, the Global Alumni Relations eCourse offers insight to establishing Academic Assemblyeffective and productive lifelong relationships between your institution and your international alumni family.  The 12-module online professional development seminar in a self-paced manner that marks sections completed and allows users to go back and review material.  Academic Assembly eCourses give users a full year to access the course and to participate with other users in a community of like-minded professionals moderated by the course authors and their peers.  Learn more about the Global Alumni Relations Course

Making the Case for International Alumni Relations

You’ve heard it many times: We’re in the relationship business. But how do you build and maintain relationships with your alumni when they’re scattered across the globe? Should you even try?

For educational institutions pondering whether to implement an international alumni program, or for those wishing to improve their existing programs, Being Global: Making the Case for International Alumni Relations can offer guidance and insight.

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Outside-the-Classroom Learning: Alumni to Student; Student to Alumni 

PrintAlumni Homestay Network responds to an immediate need today to help universities in America and Australia become more intentional in supporting their global strategy by creating more cross-culturally literate and inclusive campuses that welcome international students to their communities and their countries. The next generation of international students and scholars will remember that alumni made the difference. To learn more about the program visit

What Our Clients Say

In 2015 Gretchen Dobson was engaged by the International Education Unit to consult on a project to assess our approach to global alumni engagement, This 6 month project involved a series of internal and external consultations, all geared towards creating a unique approach to global alumni engagement for a state government. Gretchen’s collaborative and communicative approach enabled us to engage with more than 40 stakeholders over the period and to synthesis the views of many disparate stakeholders.  Her extensive knowledge of the alumni community, sustainable alumni engagement approaches and global best practice in program management and volunteer development helped us to think about alumni engagement in a new light.” – Rebecca Hall, former Executive Director Trade, Economic Development, Employment and Innovation, State of Victoria (AUS)

– Rebecca Hall, former Executive Director Trade, Economic Development, Employment and Innovation, State of Victoria (AUS)

When the UW Alumni Association began developing our six-year business plan for future engagement with alumni we knew we wanted to get it right the first time. That is when we decided to partner with Lee and his team of consultants at Patouillet Consulting. They took time to listen and understand the unique aspects of our culture. Gretchen Dobson served as the firm’s lead consultant onsite and did a masterful job working with our Alumni Board and Strategic Planning committee. With their personalized and customized approach for the University of Wyoming, we completed, and have begun implementing, a comprehensive strategic plan that ensures we provide critical and relevant support and services to alumni, students and the University of Wyoming for the future.

– Keener Fry, Executive Director, University of Wyoming Alumni Association

I worked closely with Gretchen on our inaugural international alumni relations program this past spring and summer. She did a remarkable job of engaging our faculty as well as our administrative leadership, including the vice chancellor for student affairs and a variety of development directors. The support Gretchen provided was top-notch and really demonstrated for my shareholders how she was able to leverage a modest budget to achieve a remarkable outcome, while building a strong foundation for our future efforts.

– Dr. JC Schnabl, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations & Executive Director, UMass Amherst Alumni Association, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Gretchen Dobson has a unique sense of global engagement, visible at every detailed level of her work.  Her vision and tactical approach make her a joy to work with and her execution and timeliness go a long way towards a successful end result.  We first worked with her as we strategized a method to engage our alumni in China.  She was key in orchestrating individual and group meetings, both leading to worthwhile outcomes.  Her personal touch is evident and her energy is contagious…I have strong confidence in Gretchen and her ability to help unite our alumni across the world.

– Derek Engelbart, Senior Director Alumni Relations, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Although private education and training providers don’t typically establish strategic global alumni networks, Gretchen applied her extensive knowledge and experience in this realm to our particular context and customised her coaching sessions to suit our needs.

– Ingeborg Loon, Assistant General Manager - Partnerships, Academies Australasia Group

I always came away from our session with lots of practical, cost-effective, ideas that would greatly enhance our programs. Simply put, Gretchen is amazing and I look forward to more sessions with her in the future!

– Austin Tomlinson, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, Franklin College Switzerland

Our rapidly growing LL.M. program requires more alumni services in more places than ever before. Gretchen has helped us start to develop our global network; provided suggestions and expertise on event and activity programming, budgeting, travel planning and relationship-building; and served as a resource for information on how institutions of all kinds are developing international alumni clubs and chapters.

– Ms. Chaney Kourouniotis Communications & Alumni Relations, LLM Program University of California, Berkeley

The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading new universities, with a strong international focus: of 23,000 current students, over 8,000 come from outside the UK from over 120 countries.  We asked Gretchen to help us to engage more fully with our international alumni during the Fall of 2012.  Gretchen undertook an extensive round of interviews and focus groups with existing students, alumni, academic and administrative staff, and presented us with a comprehensive set of recommendations, many of which we expect to adopt. People responded well to her approach, which enhanced the quality of the report, and gave us a flying start to begin implementation.

– James Kennedy, Director International Office, University of Warwick

After engaging Gretchen, within a matter of 4 months we had an alumni association. She was persuasive, she was clear, she was direct, she could use case studies, and deal with very tiny institution.

– Professor Michael Earley, Principal & Chief Executive, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance

Gretchen’s workshop excelled in its capacity to tailor for the needs of teams with different portfolios, to render in-depth analysis to specific case studies, and to provide useful pointers that help us to land on possible solutions.

– Ada Leung, Associate Vice-President (Development), City University of Hong Kong

I think Gretchen, in her book Being Global, makes quite good points all the way through. She really makes the point about the lifecyle of alumi: from a student, into an alum, into a donor, into a major shaper of policy within an institution.

– Professor Michael Earley, Principal & Chief Executive, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance

With her years of experience, Gretchen was able to look at our programme and quickly assess its strengths and weaknesses. Her input was invaluable.

– Holly Peterson, Deputy Director of Development and Alumni Relations, University of Exeter

Ultimately, Bruford Connects is looking for opportunities for the institution. This new network of alumni engagement raises the flag for us. It’s really helped now because when I go around the world people know who we are and they didn’t know that three years ago.

– Professor Michael Earley, Principal & Chief Executive, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance