The Communication Cascade Model: Improving Communication With Remote Faculty and Staff

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This presentation discusses 'best practice' methods of cascading communication used between administration and remote faculty at one online University.  Findings will be presented on remote faculty preferred communication modes and methods.  The presentation will include an examination of past techniques used, changes made, and the perceived effectiveness of these changes.

Presenters

Dr. John Weidert is an Executive Consultant for Globalpro Education Services. As a professional educator, he has previously served in higher education for more than 20 years as a faculty member, a department chair, an academic division dean, and an Assistant Provost. His experience includes teaching traditional and nontraditional learners of all ages online, blended, flipped, and in the classroom at public and private institutions. He brings a wealth of knowledge and real-world experiences to the learning environment and has helped learners from the U.S., and international locales reach high levels of competency and professional success. Dr. Weidert earned a master's degree in communication arts from the University of West Florida, a doctorate in educational leadership with media studies concentration from Fielding Graduate University, and a professional development certificate of online teaching from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Extended Abstract

We thought they could hear us. We thought they were listening. We thought we could hear them. We thought we were communicating…until we surveyed our remote employees.
 
This presentation will focus on a major hurdle that we all face in distance education today, open lines of communication with remote employees.  Often times, communication may be lost, overlooked, or ignored by remote employees if it is not presented in an effective and clear manner.  This can cause major disruptions in productivity, as important messages will not reach those stakeholders who require this information most, in order to conduct their daily activities.  A sense of community and culture may be lost as remote employees feel disconnected, even isolated, from their on-site counterparts.
 
Columbia Southern University employs over 500 faculty who work remotely. A number of departments communicate with our faculty daily. As such, this presentation will examine a study that was undertaken at Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, AL, which focused in on remote faculty identified and preferred modes and methods of communication. 
 
A communication survey was sent out to all remote faculty who teach for Columbia Southern University and asked for their participation in helping us identify the most effective modes and methods for communicating all types and levels of information to them.  The actual inventory survey was comprised of 52 items covering an extensive array of communication modes and message types. Faculty responses were then categorized and tested for perceived effectiveness over a 6 month timeframe. 
 
The presenters will first discuss the past techniques that were used and their possible inefficiencies, move forward to discuss the methodology for conducting the study, and culminate with a presentation of the findings which highlight best practice communication methods with remote employees. The findings will assist the audience in developing and using their own best practice communication methods within their work environments by using a variant of the cascade communication model.