Fellowship Program

The CAAE Fellowship Program is now open and accepting applications. The deadline to submit completed applications is Friday, September 16, 2022. We ask that you share this information with promising colleagues within your organization and encourage them to apply. The Awards Committee will select and notify Fellows by November 2022 to allow them to begin their fellowship as soon as possible. While not required, if you have an individual who would be interested in teaming up with an individual at another member institution, we would consider a joint fellowship application.

The CAAE Fellowship Program offers awards to recognize and train senior, mid-level and new alumni relations professionals at CAAE member institutions. CAAE provides funding, mentoring and general support to emerging leaders at a CAAE member institution to accelerate a big idea through this program. Fellows are expected to create a final work product that will be presented to the membership at the CAAE Winter Institute. Candidates may select from a list of suggested topics provided by CAAE members or submit a unique topic to the selection committee for consideration.

List of suggested topics:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

  • Diversifying volunteer programs and Boards
  • Diversifying the profession; recruiting and engaging  
  • Commitment to social responsibility and community outreach
  • Programs that address issues of systemic racism
  • Programs that create a sense of belonging

Hybrid Models

  • Staffing models that ensure optimal levels of productivity, motivation, and innovation
  • Evaluation of alumni engagement programs through hybrid efforts
  • Survey of technology as products evolved into the digital space
  • Are we staffed appropriately? What does staffing look like going forward? Required skillsets? 
  • What is the right blend of digital / in-person?

Value of Higher Education

  • Making the case for the value of higher education
  • As country-specific politics become more polarized, what impact does that have on alumni relations?
  • Impact of alumni debt on engagement with the institution
  • Measuring the value of our institution’s degrees. Focusing on the outcome of the activities.
  • What is our responsibility to ensure the employability of our graduates?

Business Operations

  • Budgets – rainy day fund strategies
  • Corporate involvement in alumni relations
  • Predictors to the long-term viability of affinity programs and campus corporate strategies that may affect them

Marketing & Communications/Virtual Programming

  • Modern day branding of your alumni association
  • Innovative ways to illustrate and tell our alumni relations story


  • The impact of integrated advancement on the alumni relations profession, its professionals and the alumni population
  • Campaign planning for alumni relations and its professionals
  • Alumni engagement campaigns in conjunction with a fundraising campaign
  • How to build an alumni engagement model coming out of a campaign (maintaining the moment)
  • Membership and annual giving: Do they cannibalize or amplify one another? 

Innovative Programs/Events

  • Leveraging crowdfunding and gaming approaches to alumni engagement
  • Cause-related/membership organizations and their ability to motivate their base to increase both loyalty and royalty
  • Alumni career services and its impact
  • Student mentor/networking programs
  • Alumni relations in the entrepreneurial space


  • Motivations and innovation for active volunteer participation
  • Engaging the next generation of volunteers and alumni leaders including succession planning
  • Quantifying the impact of alumni volunteer engagement
  • Volunteer code of conduct:  How do we support and train volunteers and hold them accountable?
  • Best practices of high functioning boards and committees


  • Build research and knowledge to inform the profession
  • Support CAAE's desire to further professionalize the field of alumni relations through benchmarking and further developing industry standards and theory
  • Pursue CAAE's commitment to further develop priority areas of research
  • Further support a CAAE member institution to grow a specific program in a particular area
  • Provide an opportunity for emerging leaders in the profession to build a professional network of alumni executives
  • Build a pipeline of aspiring executives poised for individual growth within the profession

Benefit to the Fellow

  • Enhance the work in their current position
  • Advance their career path
  • Expand professional network
  • Fund research
  • Grow professional knowledge

There are three fellowships awarded annually:     

Robert G. Forman Fellowship

Applicants must have five or more years of professional experience in alumni relations at a CAAE member institution or senior-level experience at another organization. Forman Fellows will receive up to $3,500 to cover research-related expenses as well as hotel and travel costs for participation in the CAAE Winter Institute.

Jerry F. Tardy Fellowship

Applicants must have two to five years of experience in alumni relations at a CAAE member institution. Tardy Fellows will receive up to $2,500 to cover research-related expenses as well as hotel and travel costs for participation in the CAAE Winter Institute.

Lawrence S. Preo Fellowship

Applicants must be entry-level professionals with up to five years of experience in alumni relations at a CAAE member institution. Preo Fellows will receive up to $2,500 to cover research-related expenses as well as hotel and travel costs for participation in the CAAE Winter Institute.

How to Apply

A complete application must include:

  • Application Form (download PDF version or download Word version)
  • Resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV) or professional history document of no more than three pages
  • Completed Essay Questions
  • Nomination Letter/Signed Endorsement


All materials must be submitted by Friday, September 16, 2022.


For questions or additional information regarding the CAAE Fellowship Program, please contact Lisa Lewis at lrlewis@umn.edu.

Past Fellowship Recipients and Presentations