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Campus Communication

For years, Butte College in California put up with an internal IT system that left huge gaps in the ability of administrators, faculty, staff, and students to electronically communicate with each other. Administrators were unable to send memos targeted to, say, faculty members or the public works staff. Professors were unable to communicate with specific classes. And students had to go through separate log-in procedures to access the system's Web Advisor - and Blackboard - functions, as well as their e-mail accounts.

Clemson University, located in the Upstate of South Carolina, has always been quick to use technology tools to advance the accessibility of higher education.

With 55 sites around the world, 17,000 students and 5,000 faculty and staff, distance learning, training, support and the accessibility to other suites of e-education tools is critical.

Adobe Connect is a key tool in that effort, said Deb Charles, manager of instructional services for the university's computing and information technology department.

It is easy to communicate with constituents when you are talking about enrollment growth, a large financial gift, faculty accomplishments and new building projects. But what about when the going gets rough? What then? How do you share bad news with individuals, both internal and external, who are vested in your institution?

College students are big users of social media and use sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to post opinions - good and bad - about their schools. Our Web seminar panelists, Karli Grant, of Campus Management, and Fritz McDonald, of Stamats Communications, provide insights into what is happening online and how you can monitor and influence your cyberspace reputation.

Karli Grant
Senior Market Strategy Manager, Campus Management

It's 2010. Do you know where your mobile web visitors are? If your college or university hasn't managed yet to provide an online presence for this growing section of its target audience, it should probably have been named a New Year's resolution. The days where desktop computers—or even their little brothers the laptops and netbooks—were the only important devices in web town are over. The year of the mobile web has finally dawned upon us, and there is no turning back.

IN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, most of us have read any number of time management articles that focus on how easy it is to become a slave to e-mail. Most of these discuss the discipline required by executives, including university administrators, to keep the handling of e-mail from distracting us from our primary function--that of providing leadership. It is my contention that time management issues are but the tip of the iceberg.

At Abilene Christian University in West Texas, technology managers were struggling with an outdated email system. While providing basic service, it lacked advanced functionality and was time-consuming and expensive to maintain. in addition, the full-time email administrator’s position had recently become vacant.

Kevin Roberts, chief information officer at ACU, knew it was time for a change. “We were disenchanted with our current email system,” he says, adding that the system servers were outdated, expensive to maintain, and were running out of space.

The 53-campus system includes seven state universities and 25 community and technical colleges offering more than 3,500 programs to 374,000 students and 140,000 continuing career education enrollees. With campuses five to six hours apart, Karen Bergmeier, ITS project lead- er and Cisco WebExTM solution liaison, found herself traveling four to five hours two to three times each week to conduct training on the system’s proprietary software.

The College of Western Idaho was still more than a year away from holding its first class. A thousand details needed to be resolved. Not least among them was the installation of a computer network that would serve the fledgling college’s seven campuses.