Collaborate More: Create Space for Campus Partners to Grow
Campus programming involves more input and activity than that of student organizations and their governing offices. Any number of other departments ranging from Academic Advising to the College of Arts & Sciences also host events and services that support a student’s sense of belonging on-campus and enrich the quality of their education outside of the classroom. As the virtual extension of your campus, you want your student engagement platform to reflect this—but it can be challenging to introduce a new resource to departments you don’t work with regularly.
Your first few steps might be focused on integrating campus resources. You connected your Engage event calendar to your university calendar or vice versa. You invited the campus departments to basic trainings on how and why to use your engagement platform. You’ve shown the value of engagement data by connecting event attendance records to student demographics and other key institutional datasets. You've invited them to serve on a committee related to a cross-functional project such as a guided pathway or co-curricular record.
But for your campus partners to truly flourish on your student engagement platform, give them their own space to design and build upon. A project they can manage independently helps to expand the department’s understanding of the platform’s capabilities and begin to realize how it can be used further. For some campuses, this project can be an entire administrative branch, allowing the department to organize and oversee their own organizations.
University of Portland
A 2018 Campus Labs Award Winner, University of Portland’s student engagement platform reflects a rich interlay of campus engagement opportunities. This was achieved in part by integrating these campus partners into their very implementation, giving departments such as Academic Programs and Residence Life substantial input into how their platform was constructed. Each of these partners has their own Administrative Branch, allowing the primary team under Student Affairs to manage site function while giving each partner their own space to design and create.
For example, neither Academic Programs nor Residence Life go through an event process similar to Recognized Organizations. Each branch has organization types that reflect its structure, with accompanying position templates specific to the needs and access appropriate for the division. The ease of organizing independently has helped build each department’s buy-in on the platform: Residence Life and Academic Programs both posted over 250 events each in 2019.
Interested in learning more?
Check out our webinar featuring University of Portland and all the building blocks to their specific relationship with Academic Affairs.