The starting point for this research project, carried out by Ursula Rimbotti, a former Research Consultant with AEA Consulting, on a full-time six-month basis, was the awareness that information available on former students was scattered around the Courtauld and London University. This is the first step in promoting more pro-active alumni relations. The ultimate aim was to promote the Courtauld’s sphere of influence in order to strengthen its fundraising potential.

These are worthy objectives, especially in the context of the Courtauld’s change in constitutional status and recent changes in the higher education sector. Higher education is experiencing the impact of increased competition and fighting off the effects of declining core public funding.

The project’s areas of interest have been the identification of the degree, graduation year and course (for MA, Mphil and PhD alumni, with dissertation title and course tutor), and identification of career and current contact details.

The achievements of the project are the following: the database in the Development Office can now retrieve alumni lists by course type and graduation year for all former students from 1933 to the present. This information is valuable in planning events and fundraising campaigns focusing on particular year groups. As of Monday 14th June, 2004, we have a total of 5,363 individuals registered as Courtauld alumni. We have detailed educational records for 4,113 (77%) of them, and 3,641 (88%) educational records entered and amended on the database. 3,097 alumni have valid current addresses, 2,266 do not.

Where available, MA dissertation and Mphil and PhD thesis titles and tutor names have been identified through the Book Library database catalogue and the newsletter 'Alumnotes’. We can identify tutor names for 1,785 alumni. 67% of alumni do not have tutor names identified. This reflects the high proportion of undergraduates, occasional and research students.

The careers of the top UK alumni have been tracked, along with their relationships with arts organizations. As senior employees or board committee members, Courtauld alumni have a total of 570 relationships with other arts organisations — we have souced 485 such relations. 9% of Courtauld alumni are now in high executive and non-executive positions.

The aim is now to conclude the programme. In order to do this, it will be vital to maintain regular communication between the Development Office and the Academic Registry, source the remaining missing contact details, and research the career details of those alumni for whom we have insufficient data.


Ursula Rimbotti