Sessions & Presenters


Measuring Engagement – the Secret Recipe

Jason Coolman - Associate-Vice President, Development & Alumni Relations, University of Waterloo.

Like a good recipe, engagement relies on a few key ingredients to be successful. This session explores key global trends related to the measurement of alumni engagement and will provide you with a path forward on this complex topic. As a member of the CASE Alumni Engagement Metrics Task Force, Jason will give you an up-to-date look at the Alumni Engagement Reporting Framework being created by CASE. Come ready to discuss the future of alumni engagement, how to track it and why it matters to all advancement units.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Current & Future states of Alumni Engagement Metrics
  2. Linkages between Alumni Relations and Development
  3. The importance of being strategic

Alumni Engagement as a form of Public Engagement at Memorial University

Lynn (Cadigan) Squires - Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs, Memorial University.

In 2016, a review of Memorial University’s external relations units revealed a number of new opportunities for efficiencies and collaboration. Key outcomes were the recommendations to align Alumni Affairs with Public Engagement and create a singular focus on fundraising in the Development unit.

What is now known as Alumni Engagement at Memorial began a comprehensive planning process. Advisory group and open consultation sessions in key Canadian cities and across Memorial’s campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador were complemented by significant research and survey work.

In 2018, Memorial published a pan-university Alumni Engagement Strategic plan that reflects the contributions of over 4000 individuals. The pages of that plan reflect a new way to approach relationships with alumni – exploring innovative ways that alumni and Memorial can achieve a relationship of mutual contribution and benefit that ultimately supports the academic mission of the university.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn why Memorial University has developed a new strategy for alumni engagement that leverages the unique opportunities provided by public engagement, itself a planning framework that sits alongside research and teaching and learning as instrumental to the university’s mission.
  2. Understand the new approach to alumni engagement at Memorial, including what was learned during the extensive consultations and research that informed a new pan-university strategic plan to guide how Memorial develops and maintains relationships with alumni.
  3. Recognize how this approach differs from the traditional alumni-development model, while still supporting fundraising goals at Memorial.


Jason Coolman. Associate-Vice President, Development & Alumni Relations, University of Waterloo.

Jason joined the University of Waterloo as residence life coordinator in 1999. Since then, he has served as a development officer for the annual fund, as a development officer for major gifts and corporate campaigns, as the director of alumni affairs, as associate vice-president of alumni relations and as the associate vice-president of development and alumni relations. Before arriving at Waterloo, Coolman worked as a residence manager at the University of Guelph, and as MPP liaison for the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation.

He is active member of CASE, serving as treasurer for the D2 Board of Directors, as a member of the Alumni Metrics Task Force, and as a member of the Currents Magazine Editorial Advisory Panel. In 2011, his professional accomplishments earned him CASE's District II's Rising Star Award. He regularly presents his research and other advancement-related topics at conferences in Canada, the United States, and Europe and has served three years as a faculty member for the CASE Europe Alumni Relations Institute. He is the author of several feature articles on the topic of alumni engagement, and in 2016, he received a CASE Crystal Apple award for excellence in teaching. Coolman completed his master's degree in leadership studies within the College of Management and Economics at the University of Guelph.

Lynn (Cadigan) Squires, Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs, Memorial University

Lynn Squires graduated with a BA (Sociology) and B.Comm (Marketing) from Memorial University in 1996. Her career began in marketing and advertising, working for 12 years with large agencies in St. John’s, NL, Calgary, AB and Ottawa, ON.

While living in Ottawa, Lynn was instrumental as a volunteer organizer for Memorial’s first ever Affinity Dinner in 2001. In 2005, she moved back to Newfoundland and Labrador to be close to her family. In 2008, she turned her passion into a career and was hired as the Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs. Memorial’s alumni affairs unit has flourished under her leadership, notably with the growth of the Affinity program across North America and establishing a highly successful pan-university Reunions program.

Her latest challenge has been to work on the evolution of alumni affairs at Memorial, creating a new vision in 2017 for an Alumni Engagement unit to operate within the scope of Memorial’s Office of Public Engagement.

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