As Student Affairs (or in my case Student Life) professionals, one of the key metrics by which we measure ourselves is the level of “engagement” with our students – how they engage with our programs, services and campus in general. We’re constantly trying to find ways to involve our students and encourage them to use our services and come to our events – to share knowledge and build community and, well, engage.
We’re constantly asking how we can engage with our students more. In fact, we ask it so routinely that when I hear it, part of me shudders a little.
As I look across the landscape of channels in which we
push out to communicate and engage with our students (walk-in appointments, events, individual counseling sessions, workshops, infosessions, posters, TV screens, flyers, postcards, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, Foursquare check-ins, blogs, vlogs, text messages, websites and email – lots and lots of email) I’m often left wondering: in what way are we not engaging with them?
We communicate and engage with them through pretty much every imaginable pathway, yet we still believe we’re not engaging with students and they’re not engaging with us as they should.
This brings up the next question: in what way are we expecting engagement? At what point will we believe students have engaged? Is this possible?
What do you think?
Are we over communicating with our students? Are we asking them to be too engaged? At what point will we feel we have successfully met that engagement threshold or are we truly asking the wrong question?
Nick Simonton manages the marketing and communications for Student Life and the Career Center at the University of Washington.