No matter which goals you want to achieve at your institution of higher education, better engagement is likely to help you get there. Whether you want to bring in more donations from alumni, improve course offerings, or add new events on campus, more feedback and involvement from those you’re trying to reach is crucial.
Sometimes, higher education institutions are held back by outdated processes and strategies. By updating engagement strategies across campus, you’ll be able to bring in more of the responses you want and improve your college or university as a whole. In this blog, we’ve outlined four ways that your higher ed institution can increase engagement with current students, prospective students, alumni, families, and beyond.
1. Let students know their voice matters
If you want to work toward increasing student engagement, it’s important to make people feel important. Students, faculty, and alumni are more likely to engage with your organization if they know their voice is being heard. How will your organization use their feedback to improve the on-campus experience for other students? What will be done to address this feedback? Be sure to communicate the answers to these questions—that way your respondents know that their involvement is truly making a difference.
Everyone wants to feel valued, so another subtle way to make your respondents feel heard is to personalize your communication with them. According to Mailchimp, personalized emails are 29% more likely to be opened. If possible, use your recipient’s name in emails, send thank you notes, and always let them know their response is appreciated.
2. Incentivize engagement
After tip #1, you know it’s important to let your respondents know why their engagement is important to you. But what’s in it for them? Sometimes, an incentive like a free coffee card, campus swag, extra credit, or even a repost on social media can do wonders for increasing student engagement. Other times, just letting your respondents know that their response will be considered is incentive enough.
This is one of those areas where you can really get creative and try new things! What works on one campus might not make sense for the next, so make sure to go off of what type of incentive works best for your own student body. When utilized appropriately, incentives may be the ticket to the engagement you’ve been looking for.
3. Utilize digital communication and updated technology
Students, faculty, and alumni are more likely to be engaged with your campus community if it’s easy to engage with. When getting involved just leads to inconveniences and wasted time, people are likely to become frustrated and avoid getting involved at all. Simplicity = success!
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For example, let’s say a professor is looking to update his or her course material to make it more current and relevant to students. Rather than opting for paper course evaluations to garner insight, it’s a good idea to take these evaluations online and make them available in one easily accessible location. If evaluations are completed online, students won’t need a trip to the library to print the form, followed by a trip back to the professor’s office to deliver it. And with an online web form builder and data collection platform, an administrator will be able to read and analyze responses all in one place.
College students are tech-savvy and always on the go, and it’s important to meet them where they are in order to get the engagement you need. With this in mind, it can be beneficial to make things like online course evaluations mobile-friendly. Students are far more likely to fill out a survey or course evaluation if it’s conveniently delivered right to their phone—and that means more responses for you!
4. Ensure accessibility for all
Finally, it’s crucial to make sure communication is clear, concise, and accessible. Follow all the necessary steps to make sure your messaging is easy to understand for all the individuals you need responses from. Keep your wording short, sweet, and specific. Adhere to accessibility requirements and consider making your forms available in other languages.
When it comes to shaping the future of higher education, engagement is key. Whether you need for insight from students, faculty, or alumni, you can bring in more feedback by making sure your processes are simple, personalized, and accessible. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to increasing student engagement.
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