Queries about the new Staff Directory…..

QUESTION 1:
I am sorry to say the New Staff Directory is terrible

It is very slow, when it does work.

Often I need to send contact information to tutors working outside the University; due to the way information is now displayed I can’t cut and paste the information into emails. (Thick grey line in-between).

What would have been really helpful would be to have the staff member’s university contact number on the first page of the search with their name.

 
QUESTION 2:
Re. the new staff directory pages – these are not as easy to use as they were.
Once you search for a name and click on it to find their email or phone number the search function above disappears meaning if the search brings up the wrong person you have to go back

It just appears altogether very weird. If it needed updating it needed updating to show the email and telephone number of the person you want not the division etc.

 

ANSWER:
Work was undertaken on the staff directory to bring the underlying technologies up to date and to allow integration with other systems. Without this work, in the future users would have had to keep contact details up to date in a different location, with the increased risk of inconsistent or out of date information. The system was designed with much of the style and functionality of the previous system to simplify adoption, but including some changes previously requested which could be easily included at this time.

Following introduction of the new directory an intermittent performance issue was reported to our service desks. Information Services staff assessed, identified and resolved the issue within 6 hours of the systems launch.

Since the launch Information Services have received a number of requests for additional features to be added to the staff directory including:

•The addition of the search box to the person details pages
In response to these requests the staff directory has been updated to include this functionality.

•To include email addresses on search results and browse pages.
The visibility of email addresses was considered during the design process, with some arguments that all email addresses should be removed due to the possibility of them being collected for spam purposes. The current approach was selected to continue to provide email addresses while reducing the risk of spam.

•To include telephone numbers on search results table.
This is a new request that poses some design issues regarding how this should be presented, with some users having 4 or more telephone numbers and others none. This is currently under review.

•To allow cut and paste of staff directory entries into outlook without formatting.
The latest versions of MS Office offer several format options when pasting, including to “keep text only” which we advise people with this requirement to use.

•To allow Google and other searches engines to return staff directory results.
This will require the search engines to re-read our sites which unfortunately we cannot control and could take several weeks.

•To include staff directory entries in the university web site search.
The university search engine has been configured to return results from the staff directory.

If you have experience any issues with the new staff directory or have recommendations for future enhancements then please contact Information Services support desks on extension 3800, or email 3800@staffs.ac.uk.

Will both the Open Day and the Intake Weekend run smoothly?

QUESTION:

Given the following response to a query, back in March, about the open day and intake weekend being on the same day:
We do not believe either the Open Day or Intake Weekend will be impacted by having both events on the same day.
Both events require the best customer service – and we believe they will complement each other. With 5 months preparation we can ensure the best delivery.

Please can we be told the plan that is going to mean both events will run smoothly in a couple of weeks’ time.

Please can you also indicate when we can expect the current campus re-development on the Leek Road site to be complete, as currently a large number of parking areas are unavailable, particularly by the Halls of Residence. New students moving into halls will need access to these areas to unload their belongings. In addition, we will have prospective students here who will need parking too.

Whilst I appreciate we can tell everyone that it shows investment in the campus, walking into a ‘building site’ will not give the best impression. The investment is not necessarily what will stick in the students or, more importantly, the parents minds when they leave.

 

ANSWER:

With the need to drive applications, it is key that we undertake an Open Day in September, October and November – in keeping with all Universities. The calendar of events has proven difficult for it to run on any weekend in September. Colleagues across the university have been working together planning and preparing for these two key events as well as ensuring that both staff and students are aware of the messages to share with our visitors to the Open Day as well as our new intake and their families. The accommodation tour will be impacted, but we have commissioned new internal and external photography to support the talk as an alternative. We believe it will support the vibrant and lively experience of University rather than deter.

To make sure the campus works have minimal impact, there will be clear signage on the day to direct visitors as well as providing information about our investments, showing clearly why the work is taking place.

Senior collegues will also be ‘walking the walk’ at 8am on Saturday morning to make any last minute adjustments if necessary.

 

Do we advertise near our competitors?

QUESTION:
The battle to win students:
Whilst driving around the city its not unusual to see adverts for other local Universities – Wolverhampton currently have a huge ad up in Meir.
I always feel affronted that they are trying to fish in our pond.
Just wondering if we do similar advertising in and around Derby, Wolverhampton etc?
Thank you

 
ANSWER:
‘Backyard’ competitor advertising has been the strategy with Derby for a couple of years now – using predominately outdoor campaigns. Derby have been quite tactical in their purchase , taking the time (and the budget) to choose sites near to competitor institutes. Wolverhampton this year have invested in a broader West Midlands outdoor campaign; starting in the Summer it has been weighted to Birmingham with some visibility on the North Midlands.
Last autumn we also ran an outdoor campaign to support the opening of the Science Centre and included Birmingham and Derby in our planning. Universities, for some reason, have a history of using outdoor mediums (posters and bus-sides) but can prove costly for the exposure/reach. Staffordshire University currently is ensuring the education and student channels – where students are likely to search and enquire – are maximised. We will then support this with regional brand and call-to-action advertising using cinema & radio and tactical outdoor. Final media plans and creative will be circulated this month.

Why do we get complaints on the University Facebook page?

QUESTION:
Every time I look on the University’s Facebook page it seems to be full of complaints from students. Is anything being done to address these? It does not seem to afflict other universities’ Facebook pages.

 

ANSWER:
The University has built up a strong relationship with our audiences through social media and uses these channels for both engagement and customer service. We actively encourage open discussion on Facebook and this does mean that we are open to both positive and negative feedback.

We have a policy where we do not remove negative comments but instead aim to resolve the issues and take the conversation away from the public domain. Through comprehensive media monitoring we pick up themes of conversations and concerns and these are brought to the attention of the services/faculties involved and reported each month to the University’s Recruitment Strategy Group.

Advocacy among our social media audiences is important and we still have some work to do to ensure that the concerns highlighted on Facebook and other social networks by our students are addressed and dealt with as promptly and efficiently as possible. The implementation of the Student Systems Project will improve the application and enrolment processes and communications to students which will have a positive impact on the overall Student Experience.

Can staff have free use of gym facilities?

QUESTION:
The university is continually promoting a healthy work place and IIP status, is it time it backed this up with free use of its own gym facilities for staff?

 

ANSWER:
The University is keen to promote a healthy workplace and continues to review and develop provisions in this area. The Campus & Commercial Services team regularly reviews the sports centre offers and prices to make sure that we are offering value for money to our colleagues, students and visitors. We have a range of charges and discounts and run promotions throughout the year but the University at this time is not able to offer further discounts or free access to facilities, as this would require significant subsidy.

Is it important to engage in recruitment activity?

QUESTION:
Staffordshire University is often contacted by schools and colleges in the region asking for academic speakers to attend events, deliver talks and promote our courses. Many of these events are aimed at Year 12 and 13 students – our key recruitment cohort. However, many academics are unwilling to engage in this type of recruitment activity and as a result of this our competitors are often contacted to support these events instead. Do Executive think that it is important for faculties/academics to engage in this type of recruitment activity? And if so how do they plan to encourage Academics to participate given that the Associate Deans for recruitment do not currently seem to be having an impact?

 
ANSWER:
It is important for all university staff to engage in recruitment activity which includes presentations to our target audiences and if there are issues with regard to lack of engagement we would expect these issues to be raised with appropriate staff and solutions found.

 

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How do we communicate course fees?

QUESTION:
Where does the remit lie within the institution to communicate course fees to relevant service departments? That’s all courses – not just UG FT.

 
ANSWER:
In this academic year a new process for fee setting has been established. Firstly, a Fee Strategy Group has been created, previously chaired by Paul Richards and to be taken over by Mark Hattersley in the Autumn. Members from Marketing, Finance and Faculties are represented in this group. A Fee Timetable and Process for new and existing 2014/15 Fees has now been created and includes modelling, competitor analysis and consultation via Faculty Directors. 2014 UG/ PT and PG will be presented via SLT and submitted to the Board of Governors Summer 2013. With Fees ready to publish early Autumn 2013. 2015/16 Fee cycle commences November 2013 with first draft modelling ready for review by Executive in Spring 2014. The Chair of the Fee Strategy Group will announce the Fees as well as Deans reviewing at SLT.

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What is our strategy for Employer Engagement?

QUESTION:
Employer engagement is one of the many ‘strategic’ priorities for the University, but I can’t help being extremely confused by the approach, as I am sure most of our business partners are too. Within our faculty, we have enterprise targets and are encouraged to work with employers, but ECD also have ‘For Business’ who are involved in this type of work. What is the University strategy for this work? Who should be talking to our business clients, how do we track the income this generates to ensure the right person is recognised? Isn’t this duplication of resource? What happened to the line repeatedly used by Executive about doing something “once and in the right place”?
ANSWER:
The University Strategy for employer engagement is within the University Plan section ‘Partnership with Business’ and is supported by the Implementation Plan ‘Working with Business’. We track the income this generates through our annual HEBCIS return for the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey and last year we generated £11.7m through all types of enterprising interactions with Businesses including work-based learning, consultancy and contact research.

We should all be talking to business clients and tracking this interaction through CRM however the smart move is to handle these ‘multi touch’ collaborations through a consistent and professional approach of both Account Management and Opportunity Management which is coordinated by For Business in very close collaboration with the key enterprise and business facing staff based in Faculties.

For further information there are two sessions during Staff Fest -Ready for Business And Managing Business to Business (B2B) Relationships Using CRM where our ‘approach’ will be more fully explained

For any staff looking to be more engaged with Enterprise your first point of contact within the Faculty will be the Associate Dean Scholarship Enterprise and Research who will be able to explain how the Faculty’s strategy contributes and overlaps with the University Plan top level targets.

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Why does Marketing sub-contract to other companies?

QUESTION:
Please can you explain why our Marketing Team sub-contract jobs to other companies? The Marketing Team do a good job, but I feel really frustrated that we waste our limited budgets outsourcing work.
ANSWER:
Marketing have a number of suppliers they use to obtain specialist resource – such as creative materials, media buying and events products. It would not be viable for this resource to be undertaken in-house. Currently the Marketing function is being reviewed to ensure return on investment is monitored and that the marketing delivered is fit for purpose for the current climate.

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When will ‘issues’ with our website be addressed?

QUESTION:
Last year, I conducted a survey of 59 university websites looking for information concerning MSc/MA degrees in Management. It became very clear that Staffordshire University’s website is one of the worst in the sector. It is visually very unattractive, it is difficult to navigate, there is a relative lack of important information and some of the material is either out of date or incomplete. Given that the University website is the first point of contact that many potential (and existing) students have with the University, when is the top management team going to invest in addressing this critical deficiency?

 

ANSWER:
We have had a couple of informal audits on our website and, as a whole, it compares in terms of speed and navigation with other Universities. The biggest area of concern is correct and impactful copy and content. Whilst every Faculty and Service has the ability to update their pages and despite an active network of web-authors across the university, it is clear further investment is needed. Marketing are currently looking at the processes and requirements to improve content and impact as well as there being a broader cross-university project to create distinct web/staff and student digital platforms.

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