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Mobilising students and staff as your university advocates

The symbols of the city of Poznań: a bronz monument of two goats tricking each others

AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THIS YEAR’S EUPRIO CONFERENCE THEME IS WHETHER – AND HOW – TO MOBILISE STUDENT AND EMPLOYEE COMMUNITIES TO DEPLOY THEIR OWN SOCIAL NETWORKS IN ORDER TO ENGAGE KEY AUDIENCES AND BUILD YOUR INSTITUTION’S REPUTATION.

So says Caroline Roulaux, senior communication adviser for central services at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who has coordinated one of this year’s EUPRIO Mobility Programmes.

 

Caroline Roulaux from Maastricht University

EMPs, as they are becoming known, are a recent EUPRIO innovation and involve communication professionals from universities in several different European countries working together to find new insights into some of the challenges many of us face, writes Nic Mitchell.

Approved EMPs receive some financial support from EUPRIO to help members meet together for a day or two.

Caroline will share the findings in her workshop on student and employee advocacy on Monday, June 17 at 13.00 (repeated at 14.15) at #EUPRIO2019 in Poznań, Poland.

Sustainable social advocacy

Her EMP saw EUPRIO members from Aarhus University in Denmark; University of Glasgow in the UK, Antwerp University in Belgium and Maastricht University explore how to recruit your advocates, how to align with corporate & communication strategy, which channels & what content to use and how to make a social advocacy programme sustainable, explained Caroline.

“We chose to focus on employee advocacy after concluding that student and employee advocacy have such different goals and call for different approaches that it seemed counterproductive to discuss them as one topic,” said Caroline, who added that the workshop will share best practices and hopefully inspire others to set up their own social advocacy programmes.

Rethinking staff engagement

Developing the theme of engaging with our people and supporting the employee experience is the theme of the workshop led by Anne Arnold with Jamie Brown from the University of Manchester in the UK on Tuesday, June 19, at 9.30 (repeated at 10.40).

The session aims to stimulate ideas for rethinking how universities engage with their staff in a time of great uncertainty for European higher education and will look at how communications and HR colleagues can work together to support the staff experience from the moment people apply to work at a university to the moment they leave.

Cooperating to boost visibility

The spirit of cooperating across departments was also the feature of a second EUPRIO Mobility Programme, or EMP. This looked at how press & communication departments and international offices could work more closely together to promote international strategies and visibility. The results will be presented in a workshop on Tuesday, June 18, at 9.30 (repeated at 10.40).

Claudia Assmann from Berlin University of the Arts

The EMP involved colleagues from The Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Université St. Joseph de Beirut, and Haute Ecole Léonard de Vinci, Brussels, working together with co-ordinator Claudia Assmann, head of press & communications at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Claudia said: “Team members were from very different types of higher education institutions and different departments. When we met in late March in Berlin to analyse the links of international departments and press & communications, we quickly discovered that both face the same challenges. Both are ambassadors of their institution and have a very strong and important role in representing the institution on a national and international level.

“It seems only natural that both departments should collaborate closely, but in most cases day-to-day-business does not allow the development of common strategies and visions.”

Claudia’s workshop at Poznań, which she’ll present together with Kirsty L. Barr from The Glasgow School of Art, will unveil a very easy and effective tool that helps – with very little effort and almost no additional costs – to make the university’s national and international influence and networks visible at one glance.

Kirsty explained: “Using a strong, web-based tool all members of the university as well as potential students and staff can access a visual map of the institution, its international networks, partners, global reach and impact on the city where it is based.”

Positive relations with international students

For those working with international students, a workshop (Monday, June 17 at 13.00; repeated at 14.15) led by Megan Foley from the University of Kent in the UK will share best practice with participants on how engage with international student communities and create lifelong brand champions for our Universities.

In addition to a range of orientation programmes, Kent provides funding to support students running their own multicultural events and offers ‘The Global Officers Leadership and Development’ (GOLD) programme – an initiative developed by the Dean for internationalisation to help students become representative global citizens.

Megan’s workshop will also discuss how international alumni act as ambassadors for the University and play a crucial role in recruiting students from overseas, profile building and raising University esteem overseas.

Are you entering the EUPRIO Awards?

 If you are proud of a communication campaign or project that has made a real difference to your university during the last 12 months, then do enter it for the EUPRIO Awards.

The Awards are free to enter to all 2019 members attending this year’s annual conference in Poznan.

Martin Herrema, chair, EUPRIO Awards Jury

Martin Herrema, chair of the EUPRIO Awards Jury, said: “It is a great opportunity to share best practice and receive recognition from peers for a job well done.”

The person representing the winning university is invited to attend next year’s conference at EUPRIO’s expense, with the chance to present a workshop on their successful entry.

Entries close on Friday May 31, 2019. For more information, please see

 

  • Main photograph: The symbols of the city of Poznań: a bronze monument of two goats