I just spent a wonderful evening with three faculty members and some of their children - yummy food, followed by multiple rounds of Apples to Apples. It was my first time playing, and I was left feeling that the game probably doesn't get any better than when playing with other Oberlin people. Much hilarity, as you might imagine.
This is the sort of thing that has made me dream about coming back to Oberlin for ten years - the people in this community and the spectrum of conversations and experiences they have together. This brings me to the topic of today's entry - how can creative communications widen that spectrum?
Hopefully you've seen my entry on the forthcoming exciting fall events. I discovered tonight, almost by accident, that none of my dining companions knew much about any of them. On top of that, they all felt strongly that many faculty would be interested in incorporating these events into the syllabi of their fall classes if given enough advance notice.
Much conversation followed. The low-hanging fruit here is of course the launch of a proper homepage and events calendar, which will be coming soon. But I got the sense that while these would help attendance in general, faculty might not think to look at October's calendar when planning their syllabi over the summer, and the chance for any synergy between the events calendar and the classroom might therefore be lost.
My companions seemed hopeful that we would find a way to push event info for the coming semester to faculty as soon as an event is confirmed (i.e. over the summer for fall semester events). I'll give this some thought. Mass emails are generally discouraged; do any of you have thoughts on other reliable ways to reach faculty?
This is only one of many examples, really the tip of the iceberg in terms of what our goals should be related to internal communications. I've heard from a variety of professors since my appointment was announced, and their requests share common themes. To boil it down, they all want to know what their colleagues in other departments are working on, thinking about, bringing to campus. With more strategic internal communications, they'd be able to support each other more deliberately, learn more from each other, reduce the competition for audiences when scheduling events, etc. The Source has made great strides, but much more is still needed.
Friends, together we will improve this. My office will need some time - this isn't going to happen overnight - but it's high on the list.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear more from you (especially faculty) on this topic. If you feel inspired to respond, please do so below.