During any campus crisis, families want timely, accurate, credible, consistent information. Communicating with families about COVID-19 is particularly important. Many students are moving into the family home to study remotely. How can parent and family professionals help? Don’t go it alone. Tools for directly communicating with parents and families can work for routine announcements and reminders. But in a crisis, you need help from the communication professionals on your ca
Many universities recently sent messages to students, faculty, and staff explaining that students would stay at their permanent address and learn online after spring break. But how did parents and families get that message? Many learned from social media, mainstream media, and their students. But as in the game of “telephone,” in which messages are whispered from ear-to-ear, what parents heard may have been very different from what the university intended. Students probably c
Faculty members are quickly moving classes online. But are administrators prepared to manage mission-critical meetings while practicing social distancing? Two years ago, we launched TorchStar, a higher-education consulting firm committed to “smart frugality.” We conduct 90% of our meetings online. Here are our tips for no-drama meetings in the COVID-19 era. Set the stage.
Rehearse video conferencing tools with primary players. Establish ground rules (e.g., tell participants
When I went to college, my Dad drove me eight hours to the college of my choice and dropped me at the curb with one big suitcase. I moved in with a roommate I didn’t know and started classes. About once a month, I used the one pay phone on the floor to place a collect call to home. At Thanksgiving, I went to see my grandmother because it was easier to find a carpool going her way. I didn’t have a car of my own until I had a job of my own after graduation. My parents were nei
Student voices. They sometimes speak up in some classrooms, speak out about certain incidents, and shout loudly at most athletic events. But do they influence university decision making? Administrators usually hear the voices of two types of students: leaders and strugglers. Administrators need to listen to both of these groups. But a broader set of voices need to guide decision making. Institutional data provide a mechanism for student voices to be heard. For example, data c
Universities generate data. Some of it is created for clearly defined uses in the same way that chefs pick specific ingredients to make a fine meal. But some is more like leftovers that end up in the dumpster unless they can be repurposed. Every university collects and charts census numbers every year. Those overall enrollment graphs are a tasty main course for administrators and trustees – particularly if they are showing movement in an intended direction. But lots of “lefto
Meetings are the administrative equivalent of grading. Meetings can fill an administrator’s calendar in much the same way that grading fills a faculty member’s inbox. Both are tedious. Both are mission critical. Grading individual work remains one of the best ways to assess students’ work, provide feedback, and encourage improvement – it is at the heart of learning. Meetings can be an efficient way to bring together the “right” people, brainstorm ideas, and solve problems – t