Let’s talk—or comment, or post …

Laura Huenneke

By Laura Huenneke, Provost and Vice President
for Academic Affairs

The university is a large, complex community, so communication is key to its success.

Not just one-way communication: tools for online engagement and discussion abound, providing opportunities beyond informal and organized meetings in person.

In a world of constant competition for our attention, all of us work hard to stay informed—whether it’s news of commencement schedule changes due to snow or up-to-date information on how state budget realities affect us. NAU News, social media, the university’s website and President Haeger’s community forums represent some of the tools that have evolved and adapted to improve the flow of information.

No single channel works for everyone, of course. Some people detest blanket email messages, while others insist that information be pushed directly to them (and their mobile device). Some relish the opportunity to read, explore and respond from their own computer; for instance, on the website set up to generate campus discussion of our ongoing revisions to the university strategic plan. Others hope for the chance to sit down personally and engage in conversation—the original Socratic model of education.

What works best for you? I’ve been using these weekly posts to comment upon changes I see coming for us, and events both on and off campus that have the potential to shape the work we all do. Yet after the first few weeks, relatively few people have provided any feedback or response. I’m interested in knowing whether this effort is useful or could be improved.

I’d also appreciate suggestions for other strategies we might use to communicate about academic affairs on campus. Brown bag lunches at the University Union or du Bois Center? Visits to your department or college meetings? I welcome your ideas.

In the meantime, to all our talented, dedicated colleagues: have a safe, relaxing and happy holiday break!