Conference Theme: User-centered program design
When we think of programmatic issues, we often think about our program’s identity from an administrative perspective and focus on how institutional, governmental, social, economic, and situational forces influence and shape our programs. But as programs in technical, professional, and scientific communication, where we place a high value on user-centered design and user advocacy, we should also be thinking about our users. The primary users for our programs are, of course, students. For this year’s conference, we focus on how responding to student needs shapes our programs, according to three main areas: recruitment, retention & engagement, and graduation (career advancement).
Student recruitment is critical to the sustainability and life of any program. In examining recruitment, we seek to raise and answer questions about what factors contribute to students choosing technical and professional communication programs.
- What are the demographics and characteristics of students who select our programs, and how do we address this target audience when we recruit?
- How can we market our programs, both on our campus and in our communities, to attract a diverse range of students?
- How can we use the service course to recruit students?
- What are the needs of students from diverse populations, and how can we address these
- What stakeholders, venues, and locations can we reach out to in order to recruit students?
- In what ways can we develop our faculty, curriculum, and infrastructure to attract students?
- What are other effective strategies for recruiting students to our programs?
- What are other effective strategies for building program identity and marketing programs to
Retention and Engagement
Engaging and retaining students is critical to program sustainability. In examining retention and engagement, we will explore both pedagogical and administrative practices.
- What pedagogical practices contribute to retention and meeting student needs and how effective are these practices?
- How does service learning, community engagement, and other experiential practices contribute to retention and engagement?
- How do internships and other practices that prepare students to be successful in the job market or in their careers contribute to retention and engagement?
- How can we use other practices such as advising, mentoring, extracurricular and sponsored activities to improve retention and engagement? What do these practices look like?
- How does the use of technology serve students’ needs and contribute to retention? For example, do millennials use and learn technologies differently and what does this mean for our programs in terms of resource investment and curriculum? How do programs balance student needs and technology cost?
- How do specific delivery modes (online, hybrid, and f2f) serve students’ needs and contribute to retention and engagement?
- What can we learn from our students while they are still in our programs to help us better retain future students and meet their needs? What types of data from current students can help us both recruit students and prepare them for their future careers?