How are Faculty and Staff learning about Programs and Services on Campus?

Last week we introduced the start of a 4 post series sharing findings from Phase 3 of the Supporting Student Success research project related to how more than 900 faculty and nearly 600 staff members at 11 different institutions learn about, become aware of, refer and partner with programs and services to support student success.

Our first post looks at the ways and frequency with which faculty and staff learned about programs and services on their campus that support student success. This comes first as we see learning about the programs and services as the foundation of the hopeful awareness, referring and partnering examined in the upcoming posts.

Faculty and staff were presented with 9 different ways or opportunities to learn. Four were from different campus stakeholders (faculty, student affairs staff, academic department staff and students); two were from campus events like meetings or PD events; and three were from more static sources including listservs, handbooks, and web searches. Faculty and staff indicated if they learned about programs and services in each way ‘never’, ‘annually’, ‘once a term’ or ‘more than once a term’. The tables are designed so that the source is written vertically and the horizontal bars present the faculty and staff response for that source Individual Sources

The table above shows from which sources and how frequently they learned about programs and services. Students affairs staff learned most frequently from other staff, while faculty learned fairly equally from other faculty and their own academic department staff. Of these four sources faculty learned from student affairs staff, and students the least often.

table with 2 items

The second table focuses on specific events. Faculty learned about programs that support students far less than staff from both Professional Development events and especially scheduled meetings. Regular team or departmental meetings are a consistent source of learning about programs and services for staff.

pict with three

The final table focuses on ‘static’ sources of learning. Both groups reported learning from listservs/emails they were members of, and neither utilized institution handbooks much at all. Staff relied heavily on their own web searches to learn more, while half of all faculty members reported never having searched the web to learn about programs and services.

Taken together we can see that staff are much more likely to learn about programs and services in regular meetings, from the student affairs colleagues and searching out information, on their own online.  Faculty learned from listservs, academic program staff and their own faculty colleagues. They learned much less often from student affairs staff.

What might we take away from these findings? If the goal is to better share the multitude of programs and services that support student success with faculty and staff alike, what opportunities might we seize?

We pose a couple ideas to get the conversation started.

  1. A fairly large number of faculty reported never learning about programs and services in meetings (42%) and an even larger percentage reported never learning from student affairs staff (52%). This suggests an opportunity for student affairs staff to develop targeted, short presentations that could be presented at a faculty meeting. Imagine what you would convey in 5 minutes with talk, video and a visually-appealing communication piece that directs faculty to learn more about your program, service or initiative from your website.
  1. A substantial percentage of faculty and staff reported they had never learned about student success programs and services from students. As educators, if we are to truly walk the talk of being student-centred, an opportunity exists to learn more by getting out of our offices, walking around campus, and chatting with students. Regardless of the size of our campuses and institutions there is always something to learn. You never know what you might find out in the Tim Horton’s queue.
  2. What is the process for introducing new faculty and staff to campus? And how much, if any of it, involves making them aware of the programs and services available to them to help students?

Now it’s your turn. Does anything surprise you about the data we have shared above? What do you, your department, your division do to help staff and faculty become aware of programs and services on campus? We invite you to “leave a comment” and share your ideas in the space below.

Coming next week. How aware are faculty and staff of the programs and services at their institutions?

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