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Block 2 Committee Meeting #1

Notes—Extending Our Reach Committee Meeting (10/1/12)

Attendees: Ivan Gaetz, Mary Frances Kerr, Mark Lee, Kristina Lybecker, Elliot Mamet, Ken Ralph, Carrie Ruiz, Corinne Scheiner (chair), and Fred Tinsley

Update on Email Outreach Project

Corinne, Andrew, and Mark met with Communications to discuss the format and content of the large-scale email outreach project.  Goal is to have three questions (one from each committee) prefaced by two to three sentence of context.  Should be able to read the entire email without scrolling down.  Questions will be followed by an email link to the input box on the Strategic Planning website.

Our question: For what, specifically, should CC be known and why?  Question works for all constituencies.  Other committees plan to have specific questions for each constituency.  Communications plans to use these questions in a variety of formats and with external constituencies as well as internal ones.  Committee chairs will send questions to Corinne who will send them to Communications.  Hope to be able to send out emails following Homecoming.

Question: How will we handle the data we receive?  One possibility is Wordles.  Will continue to think of additional approaches.

Emerging Themes from Group Meetings and One-On-Ones

  • Whatever new programs our committee proposes, we need to be careful of burnout.  In addition to the funds Jill plans to raise to support these new programs, there will likely be a need for additional staff to do the work and/or resources to support those who take on additional tasks.  New programs need not to be add-ons.  An example not to follow is that of the new website.  Although the College added two new positions in IM (one focused on web-based software integration and one on training and support), faculty, administrators and staff have had to take on the additional task of managing their department/division’s site.  This has created a great deal of additional work for individuals without any corresponding decrease in other tasks or increase in pay.
    • A question that came up at the all-staff meeting: where do the resources come from? how do we budget for added-on duties?
    • One-on-one conversations reveal that CC is, in fact, known for burnout.  This is not what we want to be known for.
    • Corinne will raise this issue with Stacy Lutz Davidson and John Lauer, chairs of the Institutional Effectiveness Committee as it overlaps with their charge.
  • Although conversations regarding strategic planning and, in particular, the charge of extending our reach, have asked people to “dream big” and propose whatever they can imagine without thinking about how we might fund or implement these new programs, the response of many has been a strong request for no new initiatives.  People feel the College has gone overboard in many areas, that there has been an unchecked proliferation of programs.  Perhaps we want to think about consolidating the programs we have to be able to provide better support to them.
  • We need to do a better job of telling our story at CC.
    • We need to be better at explaining the block plan to those outside of CC.  At present, the primary reaction we get from others when we mention the block plan is “oh, that weird teaching schedule.”  And, any attempt to explain the benefits of the block plan is met with the question “if it’s so great then why don’t other places do it?”  Perhaps we need to rethink using the phrase “the block plan” with external constituencies and instead describe what the block plan entails: intensive, immersive, interactive, in-depth learning.
    • Second, we need to be better about talking about and/or celebrating what we do well.  Doing so internally is important in creating a sense of community.  Doing so externally is important in raising our reputation and extending our reach.  We need to think about how we might do better on both fronts.
    • Third, we need to think more intentionally about marketing and branding at the College.  Communications does an excellent job of marketing to the external constituencies that have been identified for them—prospective students and parents—but we do not have an overall marketing or branding strategy nor do we have any one individual or office tasked to oversee this matter.  We need to think about how the College might identify what story we wish to tell and how to improve our telling of it.
    • First step in this process is to examine how others see us.  As part of our committee’s work this year, will gather information on this topic, both from assessments already done (such as that by Kevin Rask and Dan Johnson on why students choose not to attend CC) and from assessments that we undertake.
    • One way to do a better job of telling our story is to bring people to CC to teach as block visitors: distinguished, pre-eminent scholars who would teach enhancement blocks as well as industry leaders who would co-teach with our faculty.
    • Another way is to show people what we do, rather than tell them.  Examples include CCTV and micro-lectures on Youtube.

Format for Meeting Notes

For up-coming group meetings, please send Andrew and Corinne: 1) the raw data (e.g. your detailed notes from the meeting); and 2) a summary version of your notes for posting on the web that identifies emerging themes and that represent a compilation of the notes taken by all representatives of our committee who attended.

For one-on-ones, please finish and email one- to three-paragraph summary for each meeting to Andrew for posting on the web.