As UArctic grows, it becomes even more important to have strong processes and supporting information systems to keep our members engaged and informed. As part of our overall communications strategy, UArctic has been looking into solutions such as customer relations management (CRM) or association/membership management systems. As part of this evaluation, it made sense to talk to other associations to learn from their approaches, and discuss how we can cooperate both strategically as well as on such practical issues.
Scott met first with Hilligje van't Land (Secretary General) and Juliette Becker (Programme & Membership Development Officer) of the International Association of Universities (IAU) in Paris. Founded in 1950, under the auspices of UNESCO, the IAU is the leading global association of higher education institutions and organisations from around the world, with over 650 members. IAU is also undertaking similar steps towards contact and member management solutions, and the discussions produced a valuable insights and practical steps for cooperation, especially concerning IAU's World Higher Education Database (WHED).
In Brussels, a full day of meetings took place with the European University Association, including with Christel Vacelet (Director of Communications, Public affairs and Membership) and Katerina Topalidou (Social Media and Community Officer). EUA represents more than 800 universities and national rectors’ conferences in 48 European countries. Again, there was a great deal of common ground, and it was especially interesting to learn about the EUA's approach to member communications and engagement. The EUA Secretariat likewise was eager to learn about how we manage to operate across such a large and diverse region as the Circumpolar North.
The final visit was to UNICA, the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe. Founded in 1990, and its membership includes 51 universities from 37 capital cities of Europe. As part of the follow-up cooperation, UArctic Vice-President Outi Snellman with meet with the Secretaries General of UNICA (Kris DeJonckheere) and the IAU at a joint master class on Internationalization in Higher Education in Dubrovnik this spring.