PROPOSAL n. 1
Tell me: what's going on?
submitted by Utrecht University
Ludo Koks, manager public affairs – Dept. Communication & Marketing
How do universities provide international guests, students and staff members with information about current events, developments and debates? Knowledge of what is happening in their new environment can be considered a prerequisite for internationals to feel at home and be part of the university community.
For most universities it is a challenge to reach internationals with the content they distribute via their media, for example through magazines, websites and social media.
Universities may have efficient communication channels for practical ‘need to know’-information. This, however, is often not the case when it comes to distributing content on what can be considered ‘the talk of the town’. These kind of topics are not directly related to study or job of an international, but can help in getting to know the new environment.
Providing internationals with news about the university, interviews with remarkable students and staff members and human interest productions can be a means to get them involved. Universities struggle to find ways to do so.
The main challenge in this respect is, of course, language. Universities in non-English-speaking countries must find the capacity and the means to produce English content beside content in their mother tongue. Moreover, universities may find it hard to guarantee the quality of the English written or spoken productions. Probably, there are more obstacles. Do universities for example really know what internationals demand and expect?
This projects aims at finding best practices. What are good media strategies if one wants to connect internationals to their host university and host city? And how can obstacles, like the language problem, be overcome.
Each of the participating universities selects a staff member who is responsible for content production for websites, magazines or social media. These team members will spent a week at one of the other participating universities.
During this week, the guest members take the role of an average international student or staff member. They will study how easy or difficult it is to get acquainted with their host university through the content that is available. Does he or she get a grasp on what is going on (the talk of the town) at this university during this short period?
Team members will be required to write a blog about the experiences with the media platforms of their host universities and outlets about the university. What works well? What are surprises? What differs from what they are used to at home? The assembled blogs will be published within all participating universities.
To make sure the blogs have some depth guest members will be introduced by a team member of the host university into the channels this university uses to reach internationals with their content. Moreover, there can be interviews with representatives of the international community and editors/journalists who are responsible for the content.
After a mutual exchange period the participants meet to exchange and discuss experiences. Together they write a final report on their observations.
The gain: Exchange of good practices
- Participants have the individual ‘experience’ of being an international at a university. They need to research critically their own needs for news and the way these are covered by the host university.
- Participants can learn from the experiences described by the guest team members who are all professionals themselves. How is their own news provision perceived by others?
- Because experiences are written in blogs other staff members of the participating universities will be more inclined to read the results of the project and learn of the outcomes.
- The anecdotic and impressionistic approach will also be attractive to other EUPRIO members. Communication professionals can identify with the participants.
Number of participants
About the participating universities
It would be beneficial to this project if one of the participating team members represented a British university. Universities in the UK welcome a relatively large number of international guests and might have a longer history on policy making and practices on the issue we are interested in. Moreover it is to be expected that UK- staff members can provide valuable feedback on the English that is issued for the content of universities in non-English-speaking countries.
FORMS available (downloads)
Published on EUPRIO intranet by the Executive Board of EUPRIO on October 11, 2017