University of Melbourne Magazine

Time to have your say

  • The Alumni Council plays an important role in shaping the University, ensuring the connection with students past and present is strong. To create a Council to reflect and represent your views, we need your vote.

    Alumni Council member Associate Professor Sarah Ellis

    A passion for mentoring: Alumni Council member Associate Professor Sarah Ellis.

    By Chris Weaver (BA, LLB 2006)

    No matter where in the world you are, as a Melbourne alumnus you are forever part of a unique community. Strengthening this bond through meaningful networking, mentoring and career development opportunities is a key focus area for the Alumni Council as it approaches its sixth year.

    The Alumni Council’s goal is to engage alumni and current students, helping them understand how a continuing relationship with the University can be beneficial long after completing your studies. The Alumni Council also supports initiatives to expand mentoring and peer-to-peer professional networks for alumni.

    Such is the background to the 2016 Alumni Council Elections, running throughout October, which will see six members elected from across the University’s 10 academic divisions for a two-year term.

    David Laidlaw (LLB 1975) is the President of the Alumni Council and has been a member since its inception. The Melbourne lawyer says that in establishing the Council in 2011, the University prioritised a need to provide social and professional value for alumni, encouraging a lifelong relationship.

    “Being a member of the University of Melbourne alumni community means being part of one of Australia’s best-connected professional networks,” he says.

    “But it’s often hard for alumni to know where they should turn for support on matters such as job advice and career planning, or simply on how to continue the lifelong learning and connection that is so important to our alumni.

    “The Alumni Council’s job is to advocate for alumni, providing direction on the issues that will most affect our community’s relationship with the University.”

    One of the key areas of focus has been a networking program. The next two years are particularly crucial for the Alumni Council, as it looks to expand this program.

    Associate Professor Sarah Ellis (BSc(Hons) 1982, MSc 1987, PhD 2011) is a current Alumni Council member with a passion for mentoring. She leads the Careers and Mentoring working group, which helps the University to identify opportunities for alumni and student engagement in mentoring and career-related activities.

    “The Alumni Council constantly revises its working groups, ensuring they are relevant and responsive to the needs of the University, its alumni and students,” she says.

    “We work to ensure the University understands and acts on the professional and social aims of our alumni.”

    It has never been more important to expand on that commitment, as the University announced earlier this year that Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne is extending its target to include engaging 100,000 alumni in the life of its community.

    “Exciting times lie ahead for Melbourne alumni and students,” says Professor Ellis. “But the Alumni Council needs your support to make major programs happen, so have your say and vote now.”

    Voting has now closed.

    Meet the alumni council.