Office of Academic Affairs

Communication Plan for University Re-Accreditation

Communication Plan for University Re-Accreditation
Patricia Dolan
Raleigh Muns

The Communication Plan has two major goals:

Goal #1: To inform all UMSL constituents, internal and external, of issues and timelines of the Higher Learning Commission Re-accreditation self-study and site visit, which is anticipated in February 2009.

Goal #2: To educate UMSL constituents, internal and external, regarding all re-accreditation activities and, especially, their role in the University re-accreditation processes.

The term “internal constituent” refers to those individuals who are directly involved with the actual re-accreditation process (e.g., members of the Steering Committee). The term “external constituent” refers to members of the university community affected by, but not directly involved in the process. As the re-accreditation timeline unfolds, many external constituents are expected to become internal.

To meet the goals, the following Communication Channels have been identified:

1. Use the Self-Study Steering Committee

  • Meet regularly
  • Set and post schedule by August
  • First/third week of month full committee meets
  • Second/fourth month sub-committee meets
  • Make time to socialize occasionally
  • Create Self-Study Steering Committee List-Serve
  • To clarify material from complex issues
  • To keep members engaged in process
  • To keep members updated on events surrounding re-accreditation process.

2. Use current formal University channels of communication

  • Faculty/staff listserv
  • Dedicated website for public posting of re-accreditation processes. Site is available to internal and external constituents using tool bar on Provost Office webpage as assessment. This web site will present and archive all communications pertaining to re-accreditation.
  • Campus Friday Update
  • Broadcast e-mails
  • University publications and electronic communications
  • Current articles and ads for re-accreditation updates, testimonials
  • “My Gateway” for communicating with part-time students and adjunct professors
  • Alumni newsletter and electronic community report
  • University radio sources, KWMU and the “U”
  • Give presentation at annual staff conference, Focus on the Future

3. Create new formal forms of communication

  • Place countdown clock strategically on University home page, counting down to re-accreditation date.
  • Design a monthly electronic newsletter for wide distribution.
  • Use monthly CTL lunches to cause conversation about assessment and continuous improvement.
  • Decide on monthly themes for campus discussions among faculty, staff, students and alums at faculty/department, staff, and student organization meetings. Steering Committee and Provost Office will decide campus themes for the academic year.
  • Report to Provost’s Council and Chancellor’s Cabinet and ask them for ways to inform their staff about the re-accreditation process.
  • Attend external constituency meetings including Friends Board, Development. Advisory Board(s), Alumni Executive Committee, other external constituencies
  • Hold Campus Town Meetings 2-3 times a semester for discussion on successes and challenges within the University. Reach out to students and staff in addition to faculty.
  • Distribute Re-accreditation Preparedness surveys to administrative units and department chairs in Fall 2007 and 2008.

4. Make use of informal communication processes on campus to educate the campus community and occasionally have fun with it.

  • Create a tagline/mascot for the process and help make re-accreditation public. For example, “Smarty” the accreditation guru. Or “Credity” the self-study monster. A possible tagline could be, The Normandy Invasion…..A-Day is coming, time to rally the troops, and so on.
  • Make use of booth days on campus, Mirthday to make accreditation processes more visible.
  • Use Steering Committee to give students, staff and faculty “tests” once a month on Friday in departments or classes.
  • Provide give-aways with the new Triton logo.
  • Hold accreditation contests in The Nosh on Friday with vouchers for winners.
  • Sponsor a re-accreditation float in Homecoming Parade, October 2007 and 2008.
  • Ask unit leaders to conduct annual Re-accreditation Preparedness checks in October 2007 and 2008
  • Dr. Tom McPhail, an HLC reviewer, will roam campus as “secret shopper” in 2007-2008 to conduct surprise mock site visits around campus.

5. Create a scorebook to measure how communication channels perform. This will serve numerous functions:

  • Keep tally of information and documents, where and how they are released.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of various communication channels to modify the Communication Plan as an ongoing process.
  • Identify new channels of communication and include them in the process as appropriate.
  • Re-create prior marketing and focus group questions and studies to measure success of the self-study process.