Communication Planning and Channels
It is important to be familiar with the various tools, platforms, channels, and other modes of delivery that exist for communication purposes within the Division of Student Life. These include:
Social media platforms and accounts – Baylor Student Life is represented by more than 30 accounts on several different platforms. Accounts are built and managed at the department level with oversight and assistance provided by the Division of Student Life. As the communications channel most preferred and used by students, social media represent one of our most important forms of both promotions and storytelling.
Websites and webpages (e.g., department pages, For Staff site) – As one of the largest functional areas of programs, Baylor Student Life has more than 1,000 webpages on dozens of websites. As with social media, these are largely managed at the department level with oversight and coordination provided as needed at the division level.
Regular email messaging – Several, regularly timed email pieces go out to a variety of audiences throughout the year. These are coordinated at either the division or department level and include:
- Student Life Spotlight – A year-round, biweekly e-newsletter sent from the Baylor Student Life email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) to every current employee in the division. This informative piece is coordinated by the Administrative Director for Student Life and the Associate Director for Outreach & Engagement, and typically arrives in Outlook inboxes every other Friday. If your aim is for Student Life personnel to be informed about something, this is an ideal channel.
- What’s New BU – A weekly e-newsletter sent out to all current students during the academic year. Arriving in Outlook inboxes each Monday, this piece provides timely information relevant for students, and highlights programs, events, activities for the current week. Content for What’s New BU (email@example.com) is submitted by individual departments and offices across campus as well as student organizations and then compiled by the Associate Director for Outreach & Engagement each Friday during the academic year.
- The MA Times – The MA Times is a weekly e-newsletter sent out during the academic year to subscribers from the Department of Multicultural Affairs (to subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org) and is a listing of cultural events happening on campus.
- Student Organization Leader News & Notes – An e-newsletter sent out several times per semester by the Office of Student Activities (Student_Activities@baylor.edu) to all student organization leaders and advisors during the academic year. This piece provides information necessary for the management of the more than 375 student organizations on campus.
Portals and apps (e.g., Connect) – Two distinct portals exist that provide functionality to our current students that wouldn’t be possible through a standard website. These include CONNECT, run by Baylor Student Activities, and PlayPass, run by Baylor Campus Recreation. Both applications allow current students to engage with different student groups, keep up with events in dedicated calendars and register for events/pay dues to student organizations or intramural sports leagues.
Division Annual Report – At the end of each academic year, the Division of Student Life issues an annual report that reminds stakeholders of divisional priorities and highlights accomplishments for the year. The report is divided up by each dean’s area, with respective departments and offices providing the data and summary information. This is a report to keep in mind as you think through your communication priorities and demands for the year.
Digital Signage – Digital signage operates on a distributed responsibility basis dictated mostly by building. There are multiple buildings with digital signage represented in Student Life that include The SUB (aka BDSU), East Village Dining, the SLC, residence hall facilities, and Stacy Riddle. Each of these buildings has one signage coordinator that keeps digital signage up to date. Requests for use of digital signage can be coordinated through a member of the Student Life Communications Collaborative.
Communication as warranted from Vice President and/or Deans – From time to time, it may be necessary and/or prudent to send communication to stakeholders and constituents in ways not prescribed or outlined in this plan. Generally, the situation will dictate how and when this occurs, and will be coordinated at the division level.
Student Life Events Outlook Calendar – This collective calendar exists as an information and planning tool for the Division. Publicly accessible from Outlook, it is called Student_Life_Events (Student_Life_Events@baylor.edu) and it is where events happening within the division should be scheduled. Expectations and instructions on use of this tool are found on our For Staff webpage and should be followed.
Overall, it is important to think strategically about how to leverage our existing communication channels to optimize outcomes. Short- and long-term planning and generating a year-long communication rhythm and cycle are vital to this work. Reference Appendix C (Calendar) as you engage in this work.