Volume 9, Number 11
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League Services Announces New Topics
A House Divided: Bringing Together Academics and Student Services. All too often, community college faculty and staff revert to the jargon of divisiveness, referring to the “academic side of the house” and the “student services side of the house.” Compounding the problem is the suspicion and, in some cases, outright hostility with which faculty members and student services staff sometimes regard each other. Faculty members, student services staff seem to believe, can be unreasonably rigid and demanding of students. Student services staff, in the eyes of the faculty, may appear too wishy-washy and coddling. Obviously, neither of these attitudes helps to move the college forward or assists in its primary mission of serving students’ educational needs.
The key to resolving these differences and bringing the two sides of the house together is to make sure everyone feels equally invested in the success of the institution and its students. Open communication between academic professionals and student services professionals is a must, as are shared decision-making and even, in many cases, shared work spaces. It also helps when faculty members assist in carrying out responsibilities traditionally assigned to student services staff, such as advising and counseling students, and when staff members take on teaching roles, perhaps by leading orientation sessions.
Designed as a presentation for faculty, staff, and administrators, this offering can serve as a small group workshop as well. The presenter is a 20-year veteran of community colleges who has served as both an academic and a student services administrator. In fact, for several years he held appointments in both areas simultaneously. He is also a regularly featured columnist for the popular “Two-Year Track” segment in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thus he brings to the topic not only a wealth of experience, but also a great deal of wit, insight, and good humor.
Customer Service or Professional Service? In recent years, the so-called business model has gained a great deal of traction in American higher education, especially at the two-year college level. One consequence of this new approach that has proved particularly alarming to many faculty members is the increased emphasis on customer service. For those involved in the daily grind of teaching classes, assigning grades, and dealing with students, the term conjures frightening visions of spineless administrators responding to students’ unreasonable demands by chanting the mantra, “The customer is always right.”
Of course, that isn’t exactly what administrators mean when they talk about customer service. What they mean is that faculty and staff have an obligation to provide students with high-quality academic and student services and to treat them with respect. At the same time, faculty members have a point: When it comes to questions of scholarship and rigor, the “customer” isn’t always right. How do we resolve these apparently opposing viewpoints?
The key is to understand that administrators and faculty members aren’t really talking about two different things; they’re just using different terminology. That’s why this presentation suggests that colleges use the phrase “professional service” to describe the shared commitment faculty, staff, and administrators all have to providing the best possible education for students. This is especially helpful for faculty members, as it underscores their professional obligations without calling into question their authority or judgment.
Designed primarily to be a presentation for community college faculty members, it can also be modified for delivery to academic administrators. The presenter is a 20-year veteran of community colleges who has served as both an academic and a student services administrator. He is also a regularly featured columnist for the popular “Two-Year Track” segment in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thus he brings to the topic not only a wealth of experience, but also a great deal of wit, insight, and good humor.
Toward a Rational Approach to Technology. Technology and distance learning have become the new catch phrases of American higher education, especially at two-year colleges where teaching is the primary mission. One result of this development is that faculty members and students frequently have access to the very latest teaching tools, meaning that learning is taking place by means and in places unimaginable just ten years ago. But another, less positive result is that students can become disconnected from the college as a physical entity, while faculty members can feel pressured to incorporate technology that doesn’t fully mesh with their teaching styles.
The question colleges must ask whenever they bring new educational technology onto campus is, “Why are we doing this?” If the answer is, “To help faculty members teach and students learn,” then that latest innovation is probably a good thing. But, if in all honesty, the answers have more to do with impressing stakeholders, keeping up with the Joneses, or increasing the bottom line, then everyone concerned should regard that technology as suspect. The point is not that technology is bad; much of it is quite useful, but technology should be embraced for what it can do for students, and not merely for its own sake.
This presentation is designed particularly for community college teaching faculty and academic administrators. The presenter is a 20-year veteran of community colleges and a long-time academic administrator whose department has been at the forefront of his college’s technological revolution. He is also a regularly featured columnist for the popular “Two-Year Track” segment in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thus he brings to the topic not only a wealth of experience, but also a great deal of wit, insight, and good humor.
Championing Academic Integrity on Your Campus. Although academic dishonesty is not new to higher education, the research on this topic suggests that for many colleges and universities, it now occurs in epidemic proportions. This workshop guides participants toward championing academic integrity on their campus by providing the basics regarding how often academic dishonesty occurs and why, as well as by offering strategies others have initiated that have made a positive impact on their campuses. Also considered are the results of recent research that takes a close look at the beliefs and behaviors of community college students and faculty.
Writing Effective Business Correspondence. We’re inundated with the latest technical wizardry designed to relay our messages faster than ever – anywhere, anytime. But if the very substance of our messages – the actual thoughts, ideas, and meanings we’re sending – isn’t clear and free of clutter, all the wireless internet access in the world won’t help. Your words might still lose their impact, or worse, be misunderstood. Learning objectives include (1) helping employees improve the quality and effectiveness of their written communications; (2) making business documents more powerful, persuasive, and professional; (3) providing up-to-date, quick references for correct writing strategies and forms; (4) mastering most practical writing tasks in a corporate setting; and (5) effectively transferring and applying skills acquired during the workshop to on-the-job writing tasks.
Exercises include (1) Who is the Audience? (2) Starting With the Bottom Line; (3) Using Headlines and Subheads; (4) Using the Active Voice; (5) Gaining Impact With Visuals; and (6) Writing an Abstract or Executive Summary.
How to Write Targeted Workplace Emails. From newsletters to order confirmations, email is an increasingly important aspect of the customer experience. It can be challenging to get your message across when you have limited space, but short copy is the glue that holds your email message together. Follow a few basic tips provided in this workshop to put you ahead of industry followers. Learn to use a hook, support the hook with an effective follow-up, be succinct, state the most important items first, and write for reader comprehension.
Integrated Marketing Communications. Learn to create a strategic selling point that carries throughout all your marketing communications. Learn how to carefully define your customers: who they are and why they’ve chosen to purchase your product. Next, identify the unique selling points of your product. What makes your product distinct from its competitors? Finally, find the right language to express those benefits to your target audience. It’s a tried and true concept called integrated marketing communications. Workshop participants learn the best way to make their product’s image stick in a customer’s mind through repetition of strategic message, look, feel, colors, and design.
Managing Diversity and Cultural Issues in the Workplace. You might be hard pressed today to find a business that doesn’t transact, in some way, with an individual or company from another culture, ethnicity, religion, or part of the world. Whether you’re an accountant, operations manager, or seller of computer software, the opportunity to interact with other customs opens amazing doors of opportunity. We all deserve to feel respected as professionals in our fields, and we all aspire to understand, and be understood by, those around us. This workshop provides tips to explore decision making and collaborative sharing; break down barriers to communication among diverse employees; maintain effective workplace relationships; and develop the qualities of analysis, creativity, tolerance, and leadership.
Critical Ethical Issues in Today’s Workplace. Every business organization, no matter the size, industry, or scope, benefits from having a set of guiding principles that govern its conduct or, in other words, an ethical code. Ethical business professionals are, by and large, trustworthy, fair, impartial, respectful of others, and concerned about the impact of their actions on co-workers and their company. In this workshop, become familiar with the practice of ethical thoughtfulness in everyday transactions, within and beyond the workplace; identify critical ethical issues in business; and identify, understand, and explain the basic ethical theories that structure contemporary business thought.
Improve Website Stickiness Through Content. You already know how important it is to drive qualified prospects to your website. What’s even more important, though, is finding ways to keep them there once they’ve arrived. After all, what’s the use of spending all that time and money on securing top rankings on search engines, setting up a network of affiliates, and building a 200-page website if nobody stays once they arrive? Workshop participants learn how to use written and visual content to turn visitors into shoppers and shoppers into repeat buyers! Provided are seven simple ways of writing that keep your visitors coming back for more. Put these tips into practice and watch your sales start climbing almost immediately.
Defeating Writer’s Block. Don’t let anxiety rule the day! Learn tricks to jump start the writing process, even if your task at hand seems daunting or intimidating. This workshop teaches you how to break through the roadblocks and get those first thoughts or ideas on paper. Whether you’re writing a letter, a memo, or a proposal, we’ll work together to polish and clarify your writing and teach you tools of the trade for the next time around. Say goodbye to writer’s block once and for all with these tried and true techniques.
Public Speaking and Presentation. Learn to effectively deliver a speech for any stakeholder audience: bosses, employees, managers, customer, or vendors. Learn the fundamental tools to speak clearly and persuasively in order to impresses your audience and help you reach your target goals. Addressed during this workshop are speaker anxiety, types of presentations, audience and setting, preparation skills, and verbal and nonverbal messages.
Business Etiquette. This interactive workshop explores office protocol and professional conduct in the workplace, including such topics as cubicle and office etiquette, proper behavior in meetings, telephone courtesy, handling introductions, and making appropriate small talk. It also addresses rumors and gossip and ways to handle personal issues within the workplace. Discussion also focuses on effective ways to network and stay in touch with important contacts.
For more information, email Ed Leach or call (480) 705-8200, ext. 233.