Getting Campus Buy-In – “Come to the Labs” with the University of Maryland!
So many of our member campuses, regardless of the product or area, struggle with the idea of “buy-in;” those who are in charge of these decisions essentially say, “We’ve formed this partnership, we love this products, so go forth and do great things with assessment/student organizational management/retention/insert area here.” But what happens when that vision and understanding doesn’t trickle down to those who are just working hard to impact their area of student affairs?
It can certainly be overwhelming for those staff members who are comfortable with previous processes to transition to new systems, ideas and methods to manage their daily responsibilities. How do you manage that transition and mitigate any risk of frustration, anger, etc.? Our contact at the University of Maryland, Dr. Adrienne Hamcke-Wicker used an easy, common approach to answer that exact challenge.
Adrienne used our available webinar offerings and a simple marketing plan to let her staff members know about the tools and services that were now at the division’s fingertips with Baseline. She created a flyer asking participants to “come to the Labs,” and detailing the added benefits of using Baseline around the description of the webinar, then reserved a large campus space to allow staff to participate in the webinar together as one group. This sparked follow-up conversations and lots of buzz. Since the webinar, over 50 additional Terrapin users have begun to use the Baseline product! Talk about kick-starting assessment and making assessment a priority; all it took was a flyer and some intentional conversations to see great success.
I connected with Adrienne recently to follow up with her on advice for you as you begin to get users familiar with your efforts on your campus. Adrienne suggests:
- Approaching capacity-building from a “top down” and “bottom up” approach. Adrienne elaborates, “Our first attempt at raising awareness for Baseline was to bring the Directors together to inform them of the Campus Labs contract. This was an important step but did not have the trickle-down effect we had hoped for. You have to follow up with communication that reaches directly to the everyday user. ”
- Being prepared to answer questions about product specifics. Adrienne says, “You may be asked questions like ‘Where do survey e-mails come from? My e-mail address or Campus Labs?’ You may also be asked a lot of questions on data security.” This is definitely important because your answers will directly impact their likelihood to use your product!
- Be the advocate for your campus users AND for the Campus Labs relationship. There is a fine line between highlighting the work that can be made easier with a new relationship and not keeping in mind the needs of your colleagues on campus in their transition to your new work structure.
As you are charged with making a transitional change on your campus, be sure to keep Adrienne’s thoughts in mind to reach your staff members. Great job, University of Maryland! You can learn more about their divisional assessment efforts here.