Creating a Communication Model So That Students Listen (And Take Action!): The "Successful You" Project

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

A model for "translating" institutional messages into "student-to-student voice" via student-friendly media in a high traffic venue with an overt emphasis on clear action steps.

Extended Abstract

As an outgrowth of an institution-wide student success initiative, representatives from UCF's student affairs and academic affairs divisions worked together to create a model for communicating with students about important topics in ways that they listen and take action. At its heart the model involves "translating" institutional messages into a "student-to-student voice" via student-friendly media in a high traffic venue with an overt emphasis on clear action steps. Essential to the formation of this model was collaboration between multiple offices, the professional advising community, and a student work group. The model requires alignment between 1) success milestones; 2) message points; 3) essential, concrete calls to action; 4) multi-tiered performance metrics (data); 5) student-written scripts; 6) guidance by professional video producers; 7) distribution venues; and 8) a "campaign mindset" for adoption by various stakeholders. An overall emphasis on brevity and student-perceived relevance is a hallmark of the model.

In its initial semester of implementation, five short (1 minute or less) videos with clear calls to action on topics that can negatively impact students' academic progress if not addressed were distributed primarily through the institution's learning management system and secondarily via various offices and other student-facing venues (e.g., via digital signage and social media). Initial data indicate that a large number of students accessed the videos and took action as a result. Additional data on perceptions of students and stakeholders are being compiled. Evaluating long term impact is a work in progress, but signs are promising.

In this session, an on-site member of the project team will be joined remotely by a senior student affairs leader to share this communication model, its context, and its impact as a prelude for participants applying the model in their own contexts.


I. Discussion (5 minutes)
a) How do you communicate with students?
b) What evidence do you have that these communications are effective?
II. Demonstration (20 minutes)
a) Screen the five one-minute "student-to-student" videos from UCF
b) Review the multi-tiered data from UCF's first two semesters of implementation
c) Identify the essential elements of the underlying communication model
d) Review the conceptual and production processes
III. Innovation (20 minutes)
a) Guided application by participants