For an unprecedented three years in a row the Juniper College Committee on Student Engagement has been honored with the National Student Engagement Association’s (NSEA’s) prestigious prize for Most Boring Communication.
“The first year we won the award, it actually felt easy,” said Dean of Student Affairs Jillian Guest, who chaired the committee. “We launched the committee the same year our NSSE results came out. It was really easy to include hundreds of statistics and drone on about metrics in our campus-wide committee updates. I don’t remember any of our ‘Get Engaged!’ newsletters that year being any shorter than 50 pages.”
“Each time we mailed out one of those PDFs to the campus we felt more and more confident that we had the NSEA award in the bag,” agreed faculty representative on the committee Professor Nigel Shalley from astrophysics. “I wasn’t sure how my participation on the committee would help the group advance, but after the first year, when we were blessed with an abundance of new data, I was able to take the year-old statistics and apply more scientific wording to them so they would sound even more mathematical.”
“I was the student representative on the committee, and I was able to provide qualitative support of the NSSE survey data,” said junior Franklin Black. “To add more to our application packet for NSEA during the second and third years I filmed a weekly vlog series showing myself reading the NSSE statistics for thirty minutes at a time.”
“Everyone knows students love anything that’s electronic,” said Guest. “Taking Franklin’s lead, we used a robot to auto-send one NSSE statistic every hour of the day on Twitter. If students are up late at night, they are just as engaged as someone who’s reading their tweets during breakfast.”
Has the committee used the data from NSSE to make any substantive changes in campus engagement?
“I’m sure that will come eventually,” said Black. “Right now we need to keep our eye on the prize – literally. We are hoping to engage parents more intentionally this year. At orientation and homecoming, we will have mandatory engagement breaks where we read NSSE data to our visiting families. In fact – I’m just coming up with this idea as I say it – we could probably even put the data on a self-timed PowerPoint show and just let them read it. Hello Prize #4!”