Sometimes being a student while being employed by the university can put you in a weird position. You can have all these frustrations with your institution, but then you get a job with them, and suddenly you need to look at (and write) things from a different perspective.
Case in point:
I used to believe that I’m at U of T just for the degree. That’s changed now. Some of my most valuable experiences at U of T don’t involve papers, exams or grades. But sometimes it’s not easy getting the information we need to make the most out of it.
I know for a fact (and don’t you dare deny) that there are thousands, literally, that agree. Have you ever gone for help, only to be directed to the website that you’ve already been on and pretty much memorized? And what does the website tell you? Go visit another office. This kind of disjunct can be expected once in a while from such a large institution, and I think deep inside we all know that registrars try their best, but it can be frustrating..
Has anyone noticed that we have a lot of websites, and a lot of twitter accounts, and a lot of Facebook pages that all, frankly, melt together into one ball of pixels and characters? Do you wish we knew who to follow, or where to go? Most of the time, I have to comb through multiple sites just to learn about one thing.
There are so many things at U of T I never even knew about. For example, did you know the university has an events page? How about an ArtsZone? Did you know that, just as we have rights and responsibilities as Canadians, we also have rights and responsibilities as students of U of T? I didn’t know about any of this until I picked up a copy of Life @ U of T.
It’s this kind of circular, drawn out kind of information seeking that can make me, and I’m sure you, feel like we’re getting nowhere.
And this is where that new perspective starts to come in. When I started working here, I found out that U of T actually really wants to improve the way it communicates with students.
In fact, it turns out that administrative staff and students from all over the university are meeting this month for a “Communication Summit” to create a roadmap that will help them – and us – better communicate what we need to know, when we need to know it.
Most of us (read: 95% of us) don’t realize that there are active U of T staff members across all three campuses that are really trying to understand and engages with us. We’ve spoken (sometimes unceremoniously), and they’re listening.
Here is my request for you, fellow UTian: Tell U of T how you communicate with the school, and what you wish could be done better.
Is there anything you would like to see changed?
Is there anything you like or dislike about how we communicate now?
Get on twitter, and tweet your ideas and suggestions with the hashtag #listenUT.
Comment below, or even on the communication summit’s blog.
U of T administration will be watching the Twitter feed, and reading what you have to say. Be frank, be candid, and most of all, be constructive. They value your opinions, and it will help them in years to come.