Priority 1: Exposing Jewell's Student Body to Kansas City's Thriving Startup Space
What We Found
Like many small regional institutions in recent years, William Jewell College has struggled with dwindling enrollment. However, the student body of the college has maintained its collective penchant for innovation and careers in entrepreneurship.
We theorize that connecting students at the college to Kansas City's nationally recognized startup space will both benefit the current student body and significantly boost future enrollment by attracting students interested in opportunities in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Ask students if they would be interested if the campus hosted an "Innovation and Entrepreneurship Career Day" once a semester.
If students do indeed seem interested, we intend to move forward with approaching the administration about creating an event like the one mentioned above.
Present to the administration of the college (President, Provost, Trustees)
Seek out approval, support, and funding for the idea.
Receive approval from faculty.
Establish an "Innovation and Entrepreneurship Career Day" held on William Jewell's campus once a semester. At this career day, held preferably on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday during Jewell time when students are out of class, we intend to showcase student involvement opportunities in the KC startup community, rising startups in the local startup space, an alumni entrepreneurship council, and other related career information. This event would last the whole day with the intention of exposing William Jewell's students to career opportunities, information about both local and national entrepreneurship, and building an important connection between innovation and the students at the college.
Priority 2: Energizing alumni connection network
Solidify a presence for Jewell within Kansas City professional atmosphere
What it looks like
While we do host career mentor programs, a way to broaden the scope of these efforts would see an addition to the curriculum which takes students to Kansas City for learning experiences related to their major-specific fields. My vision for this is for it to include requiring certain class experiences to occur in the field. This could look like a professor pushing students to seek out answers to questions within the Kansas City area and creating a tradition of student academic involvement within the professional landscape there.
Priority 3: Interdisciplinary Communication
Tactic 1: Building Relationships
Building relationships with leadership and faculty will allow for a means of entry into the faculty communication circle. Reaching out to faculty and attend a faculty meeting to open conversation about how William Jewell College can move from "polydisciplinary" - in which students are simultaneously engaged in many disciplines - to truly "interdiscplinary" - in which faculty and students connect disparate ideas and have investment in programs beyond the department.
Tactic 2: Pitching Interdisciplinary Ideas
Communicating between areas of study and departments for the purpose of collaboration will benefit the community by expanding the effects of the liberal arts approach at William Jewell College. Inviting faculty from other departments to lectures, shadow a class, collaborate on curriculum, and share ideas are the objectives of interdepartmental communication. For example, if a class is discussing a subject that relates to that of another discipline, it could be enriching to bring a faculty member from the other department to speak on the subject. Furthermore, if a department had a program that could be of interest to a student outside the major, faculty to faculty communication could facilitate communicating this program to their students.
Tactic 3: Unifying Silos
As students have expressed, they feel comfortable communicating with faculty in their own discipline, but are hesitant to contact those who are not in their disciple. Breaking down silos that block communication could aid in encouraging students talking to faculty in other disciplines. As William Jewell is a liberal arts institution, it is a goal of the college to create well rounded individuals who value critical thinking. This goal can be facilitated through accessibility to the whole faculty, not just those in one's department.
Priority 4: Effective Campus Communication
William Jewell College is a small campus with just 1100 students. Combined with centralized campus "heartbeats" like our digital library and student union, Jewell is a place in which one feels as if they are always plugged in to campus community. Ironically, Jewell campus initiatives have had a profoundly difficult time relaying information and motivating the student body to attend events. This, combined with the small size of the college, can produce lackluster engagement at events. In short, serendipity and word of mouth are both relied upon and coming up short when it comes to campus communications.
One of main problems that we identified as a we completed our landscape canvas was the problem of communication between the students and the administration. Often student would be frustrated by the lack of response and ability to communicate to the college administration. There’s no clear way for student to express their concerns and suggest change.
In brainstorming ideas we found several ideas that would provide a small bandaid to the larger problem but the idea we believe to be the solution a comprehensive website that allows students to ask questions and get answers. In addition to the website a committee would be formed to address the submissions. This committee would be made up of students faculty and administration, every semester the committee would hold a public forum in which students could ask for the reasoning behind different responses. The website will provide students a public medium to interact with the administration while working with the average Jewell students busy schedule. The format will allow students to submit questions and comments anonymously or with their name attached, while students can upvote submissions they relate to.
Priority 5: Expanding Technology Resources
A problem that we identified on our campus is the lacking usability of existing technology coupled with the inability of students to access and learn about our resources. While our campus has embraces21stcenturytechnology, there is a disconnect between those resources and students’ knowledge. In some places, there is no explanation on how to use various forms of technology, and in othersthat information is poorly communicated. We decided to tackle this problem by implements a three-phase project that emphasizes the usability of existing resources, creates access to useful information, then once these are available will make it useful by hosting Pop-Up classes on both tech and software. This was students can learn to create useful products on their own without the need of an academic class. The flexibility of this will appeal to a large portion of the student body who wish to differentiate themselves in the vocational market with projects such as interactive resumes, video editing, web creation, and other creative suites.
Phase 1: Infrastructure Improvements
· Cards with instructions next to tech
· Updated availability of tech in library
· Increased Ellucian Go capabilities
· Posters displaying available tech
· More Apple TVs around campus
· Peripheral adapters to increase usability
· TV "commercials" in Pryor Learning Commons
Phase 2: Aggregate Resources
· How-to videos on Ellucian Go
· Reserve rooms around campus through online form
· Publish iTunes U links for resources regarding technology on campus
Phase 3: Pop-Up Classes on Technology and Software
· Orientation introduction for both upperclassmen and first-years
· Voluntary classes that partner with existing classes
· Multiple sessions over both technology and software use