Fellowship Program

CAAE offers fellowships for senior, mid-level and new alumni relations professionals at CAAE member institutions. CAAE provides funding, mentoring and general support to emerging leaders to accelerate a big idea through this program. Fellows research an alumni relations topic or emerging trend and 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 (below) or develop a unique proposal.

The 2023-2024 CAAE Fellowship applications are now available. The deadline to submit completed applications is Saturday, September 30, 2023. 

There are three fellowships awarded annually (two below plus the Lawrence S. Preo Fellow already selected for this term):   

Robert G. Forman Fellowship

For professionals with 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:

  • Individual stipend of $1,000
  • Up to $2,500 to cover research-related expenses
  • Two nights of hotel expenses and complimentary registration for the CAAE Winter Institute.

Jerry F. Tardy Fellowship

For professionals with two to five years of experience in alumni relations at a CAAE member institution. Tardy Fellows will receive up to $2,500:

  • Individual stipend of $1,000
  • Up to $1,500 to cover research-related expenses
  • Two nights of hotel expenses and complimentary registration for the CAAE Winter Institute.

Note: Sponsoring institutions agree to fund the travel expenses (airfare, transportation, etc.) for their fellows. 


The purpose of the CAAE Fellowships is to :

  • 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

List of potential 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

How to Apply

Send completed application and all materials to Dene Sheheane (sheheane@gatech.edu) by Saturday, September 30, 2023.

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 Saturday, September 30, 2023.


For questions or additional information regarding the CAAE Fellowship Program, please contact Dene Sheheane, President, Georgia Tech Alumni Association at sheheane@gatech.edu.

Past Fellowship Recipients and Presentations

CAAE Innovation Fund


The CAAE Innovation Fund was created to provide support to CAAE member institutions to take on a pioneering project or initiative that pushes the boundaries of existing alumni engagement practice, and to assist our institutions in being innovative in our community-building efforts. The fund may be used to support a new program or technology, a research project, or a communications approach, as some examples.

The project is intended to be a collaboration between CAAE, the sponsoring alumni organization, and the individual. As such, costs associated with conducting and presenting the research are expected to be shared.

Funded by CAAE:

  • $5,000 to the recipient, part of which could be used to cover expenses and travel to the CAAE Summer Institute
  • Registration fees for the CAAE Summer Institute/CASE Summit

Funded by the sponsoring alumni organization and/or recipient:

  • Direct expenses related to the research project
  • Travel expenses (airfare, hotel, etc.) to the CAAE Summer Institute/CASE Summit

The 2023 Innovation Fund award has already been distributed. Please check back soon for application and submission deadline for next year's award. 

2023 CAAE Innovation Fund Award Recipient