We Really Want Your Opinions…Really

As another way of trying to reach out to faculty members, we decided to break the university down into departments and email each professor individually. So, I whipped out a spreadsheet and began assigning names. Naive me thought that there couldn’t be that many faculty members in certain departments…I was wrong.

I looked at the departments I had assigned myself: nursing and allied health, economics, counseling, health and physical education and professional studies. I had 140+ professors to email. Individually.

About two days later when I had finally accomplished this, I was optimistic. I’d already received a few responses and it was looking like it was going to be a good turnout. Not so much.

Of the 140+ faculty members I reached out to, only about 10 got back to me. That’s not a very good rate of return. If I was looking at this from a numbers standpoint, I’d probably fire myself.

So what do we do to get people interested? We can’t pay people, we can’t threaten them and we can’t force them to share their opinions.

We tell people over and over how important this project is and how their opinions matter, but not everyone listens. So we’ll keep persevering and keep hounding people to share their opinions with us. When you open your email and have 47 messages from me, at least I know I tried.

So if you have even a sliver of interest in IUP, your opinions count and we want to hear them. Sign up to be interviewed, follow us on Twitter and let us know what you think makes IUP distinctive!

–Kelly

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…Umm, next question

It’s been very interesting for us to see all the different opinions that people have to offer when we do facilitations. Students share one opinion, faculty share a completely different one and community members are completely different from the first two groups. While it’s fun to be able to talk to all types of groups, it’s been a challenge to reign in all of the diverse opinions to form a productive conversation. At a facilitation the other night, a participant brought up a good point.

“Everyone complains about the bad, but no one praises about the good.”

Period. End of story.

He’s so right! People are so quick to voice their opinions when it comes to things they want to complain about, but when things are going well, they very rarely share their thoughts. So how do we change that? How do we find out what people think the positives are?

Our hope is that we can find some common (positive) themes to be able to change the future of the university through a new strategic vision. But the challenging part is, how do we get those positive opinions out of people when a lot of the time people want to complain?

Your initial reaction when someone gets you off topic is to say “let’s move on to the next question.” However, we’ve been taught and have practiced facilitating productive discussions. We’ll persevere!

–Kelly

‘Be Smarter Than the Printer’

Kelly Dumrauf

Kelly Dumrauf

Avery told me that making my own business cards would be “easy” and “customizable.” Four hours later, the clean edge business cards we purchased in order to hand out to potential contacts, are still in the envelope they came in.

Not easy. Not customizable.

Let’s start at the  beginning. About two months ago, during our Presentation Making class, I designed business cards for us to have printed. Now, about two weeks into the summer we’re finally getting around to printing them.

Avery’s website said it would be quick and easy to design my card online. Lies. Apparently Avery hasn’t heard of copy and paste. So, an hour later I had finally recreated the design in whatever software Avery was using…time to print!

Easier said than done.

Apparently our fancy printer doesn’t like business cards and has taken a liking to eating them…ripping the page apart and strewing the pieces throughout the machine. The printer also doesn’t like paper that isn’t “correctly loaded into bypass tray…”

Needless to say, the printer and I are no longer friends.

I Recognize Your Speech

Kelly Dumrauf

Kelly Dumrauf

It’s week one of  the summer phase of the Strategic Visioning Project. We were all in the lab bright and early Tuesday morning, eager to find out what we’ll be doing for the next 12 weeks.

We’re in the early stages of preparing and planning and it’s really starting to get exciting! It’s a lot of trying to get the word out and encouraging everyone involved with the university to share their opinions. That means a lot of phone calls. A lot.

In preparation of having to make these phone calls, the group came up with an outline of the speech we would be giving. My very first phone call…”I think I’ve heard your speech before.” Oops. Turns out, we really are doing a good job of getting the word out about the project. Such a good job that we accidentally called the same people more than once.

Now there’s no excuse for someone to say they haven’t heard of us.

– Kelly

Your Opinion Matters!

Kelly Dumrauf

Kelly Dumrauf

When I first signed up for Dr. Papakie’s presentation making class, I had no idea it would be all about public speaking. On day one, she handed us a syllabus with a list of all the speeches we would be making (in front of the entire class)! To say I was nervous, was an understatement.

Then, not that far into the semester, she comes in (very excited) and tells us she’s throwing out the entire syllabus to dive head first into a new project. I was definitely not upset about forgoing all of those speeches.

When Dr. Driscoll came to class to explain to us what he saw as the future of the university, the project got even more exciting. Right now, all of us have the chance to change the future for IUP. The future for its students, faculty, staff, alumni and everyone with a connection to the university. We’ve had the chance to interview students, faculty, staff and community members to get their ideas and perspectives and it has really been eye-opening.

As we progress in the project, I hope that we can come up with a solid vision for the future of IUP and can look back on this years from now and be proud of what we accomplished.

-Kelly Dumrauf