Engaging the Communities

Engaging the Communities

One of the core concepts we have been working towards within ETS at PSU is the idea of creating more opportunities to engage our community. If you have spent any time here over the last year you know our community is huge. We throw around numbers like 100,000 when talking about our statewide faculty, staff, and student numbers. When you are dealing with massive scale and the geographic challenges our campus system creates you need to get creative about how you get people engaged.

Clearly with a staff of 35 or so folks you can reach a lot of people, but not the kinds of numbers we hope to. If you can find a way to move opportunities to the people and get champions working at each College/Department/Campus to spread the word you can radically change the ratio. I’ve written about all this before, but we have started to see some change. This past semester we put into place the Foreign Language Podcasting Studio here at the University Park Campus and we’ve now taken our next step in our quest to widen our network.

This semester ETS has started the Engagement Initiative. It is designed as an evolving set of opportunities to engage faculty, staff, and students in the use of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and research. One of the first projects to emerge from the program is now going on. The McKeesport Podcasting Engagement Project with Kathleen Brown as the lead faculty has been initiated to help her redesign her journalism course to take advantage of web 2.0 concepts. You’ll be seeing more about her program over at the ETS site, but for now Chris Millet posted some pictures of his trip to McKeesport to setup the first Campus Podcasting Studio. We are all very excited about this and what is tocome.

I am curious how others work to engage their audiences at their campuses and beyond. We are using spaces like the ETS Blog, the Symposium Space, and now these remote Studios to help shift the opportunities we provide our core audiences. What do you all do?

4 thoughts on “Engaging the Communities

  1. In a former position, we had “consultants” assigned to each of the areas that our work group served/supported. These consultants sat in on high-level strategy/staff/planning meetings within the area, developed/maintained relationships with staff and leaders in those areas, and served as the single point of contact back to our central support function. On the plus side, the model allowed relationships to be built up and nurtured over time, creating trust and rapport between our central support area and the areas that we served/supported. It also gave us a proverbial “seat at the table” and kept us closer to the customer, to borrow from business parlance. On the down side, the model added another layer of staff and did slow down the creative process a bit by adding another layer and handoff. How would a model like this sit with your vision of engagement at ETS?

  2. Not sure that can really work in our environment. I am willing to explore, but it just doesn’t feel right. Is that enough of a response? Maybe a larger conversation would be appropriate?

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