Meeting Minutes - November 13, 2012

Today’s University Council Meeting was led by Interim Vice President of Integrated Communications, Peggy Kuhr. The topic of interest today was Campus Communications. This was an open discussion about all communications related to the University of Montana.

Peggy opened with an announcement of four VPIC candidates that would be coming to campus in the next few weeks.  She is excited about their diverse backgrounds and hopes that the new addition will bring new perspective and expertise with regards to communication and social media.

Peggy then opened by asking everyone’s opinion about communication from President Engstrom and how it could be improved. What is working? What isn’t? And what role should the U Council play in this campus communication?

First, the group discussed who the audiences were that we need to communicate with.

Audiences include: students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective students, local state and national communities, GSA, Business, donors, Legislators, Federal; departments on campus.

The group made note that they believe the communication between President Engstrom and departments on campus could be strengthened.  Possibly by making an appearance in departments just to say, “hello”.

Peggy Kuhr stated that all departments will have to come together and “play for the same marching band” with regards to the new Brand strategy.

Student/Prospective Student Communication: Bryn states that Interactive communications work best with students as well as prospective students. He feels that the UM Council meetings would be a great way to have students, faculty, anyone communicate their concerns and opinions with the President instead of taking up his office time.

Internal Communications: The group felt that the videos that the President did were unprofessional (as far as quality of the production) and not effective. Most people didn’t even watch the videos. One person thought that Blogs would be much better. Although,  blogging  for a certain audience and difficult to keep current.

Lucy France thought that the U Council would be a great avenue as well. The President could respond to the entire group at one time.

External Communications:  the group thought that the President should talk about the “elephant in the room”, pressing issues facing the University in all communications. Doesn’t necessarily have to be the President, can be the “expert” for which the issue pertains. Many examples were stated. For example, the VPIC could speak for the President, as long as that person continues with the President’s vision and communication style.

Campus Communication: With regards to campus communication we could continue to use the newsletters for each department with current issues and news related to UM.

Peggy had suggested a “one topic per month” that the President could focus on for the entire year. Some people liked this but thought that it would be too “generic” and would not focus on the issues at hand. Current issues could be the “hook” to draw interest for other topics.

Live streaming- Council meeting, possibly. One department does this during BOR

Most people agreed that the President does not need to be the messenger for all news and issues.  Experts should respond to these items. Example: Kent with NCAA

The group also thought a “Hot topic” night on Tuesday evenings so that all audiences could attend and ask questions.

Finally, Peggy brought up the communication issues in regards to the Missoula College. This is a big issue with many challenges. Royce is attending neighborhood council meetings and will hold three public forums; one in December and two in January to focus on neighborhood concerns.