Filed Under (conference) by Geek in Residence on 05-11-2008

My notes from the talk Can One Institutional Calendar, Used Creatively Boost Retention by Rita Cheng, Provost and Vice Chancellor and Bruc Maas, Chief Information Officer of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I love simplicity and clarity.  The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is very clear about student roles and the University’s role.  The students learn, work and play.  The University provides tools to enable student success in all three realms (learn, work and play).  Simple and clear.

And they have a very clear goal:  improve retention of freshman students through the creative use of technology to strengthen communication and social networking.

The result:   Retention numbers are steadily improving.

A new question: “Can a research university use an old friend—the enterprise calendar—to produce even better results?


  1. freshmen can benefit from organization
  2. students want calendar information in ONE place (for all roles: learn, work, play)
  3. calendar provides synchronous communication in vital areas

Hypothesis:  One institutional (electronic) calendar used effectively by students, faculty and advisors will contribute to student success and thus increase student retention.

Getting Things Started: The Technology Innovator Grant Program was created to stimulate creative, applied used of campus technology.  Early adopters were given $500 one-year grants and were required to participate in public forums and provide periodic updates on their projects.

Learn about the case studies in the PDF version of the presentation.

Complimentary features included instant messaging, social networking and a calendar subscription center.

Is it working?  “Early returns are promising!”

Take a test drive of the tool they used:  Zimbra.

Some other notes generated by a question and answer session.

– Course calendars were pre-populated but beyond that subscribing to a particular calendar is a choice that the student makes.  The working philosophy is “one student and one experience at a time; pre-populating is a non-thoughtful (presumptious) thing to do”.

– Any individual can create a calendar and any other person can subscribe to that calendar so that calendars can be used for specific groups of people.

Next post will cover notes from the talk: Managing Student Disputes through Technology by Aline Grossman, Executive Director Business Integrated Services and Traci Hardy, Project Manager of the University of Phoenix and Maddy Lakshmanan, Project Lead of Apollo Group, Inc.