Today’s students are unlikely to remember the old phone company ads that encouraged consumers to “Reach out and touch someone,” but that philosophy will soon be used by the Board of Regents in recruiting the best, brightest students to University of Colorado campuses. And the board chair would like faculty members to join in.
Speaking to the Faculty Council at its Jan. 24 meeting at 1800 Grant St. in Denver, Board of Regents Chair Michael Carrigan talked about his desire to have regents place phone calls to top Colorado students who have applied to CU but have not yet committed to attending. Carrigan has mentioned the idea at board meetings in recent years, and took steps toward launching the effort after discussion at last month’s board retreat.
He also said he’d like to have faculty members place calls as well.
“A few minutes of all of our time can make a real difference to these students,” Carrigan said, noting that he has heard of cases where personal phone calls from someone at the university have helped convince students to attend CU. Members of the CU-Boulder community already have taken on such phone campaigns.
Carrigan asked for the help of the council and of Faculty Assemblies at the campus level to put together lists of prospective faculty members who would be willing to take part.
“I’ve made 10 calls in 15 or 20 minutes, and I think they make a real, lasting impact,” Carrigan said. “The next thing we want to do is figure out liaisons for the campuses.”
Council member Jerry Peterson said he’d like to see similar efforts used to bolster retention of the university’s top current students, too. “The expectation of higher excellence as an atmosphere on the campus needs to be developed,” he said.
Carrigan said efforts such as these amount to much-needed marketing for the university, which can be at a disadvantage compared to marketing spending of for-profit universities.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can get a grant to do (increased) marketing for all our institutions?” Carrigan said. “We want to make the most of our limited marketing dollars.”
Carrigan pointed to a CU logo pin on his jacket lapel: “Why don’t we have every staff and faculty member wear one of these wherever they go? It’s a symbol of the branding effort that President Benson brought in.
“We are the third-largest employer in the state of Colorado. We need our faculty to write op-ed pieces for newspapers. When you’re out in the community, at events or at church, let people know: ‘I’m a member of the faculty of CU.’ Make sure people know that. You are your own best advocates.”
Also at last week’s Faculty Council meeting, members voted to table a proposed resolution submitted by the council’s Budget Committee that asked the Board of Regents to establish a pool for faculty and exempt professional raises next year, and another pool to make up for lost ground during recent years when no raises were given.
Council members said that while they want Faculty Council Chair Melinda Piket-May to express the faculty’s desire for consideration of raises at the regents’ February meeting, they didn’t feel the proposed resolution as written was the best way to do so. Piket-May noted that efforts by a shared governance budget task force and the council’s ad hoc salary equity committee will continue to gather data that can be used in making quantitative requests to university leadership.