What do you do when you want to connect with, want to have a sense of community among your cadre of faculty who appear on your campus only for a few hours a day – usually after 5PM – a few days a week? Your adjuncts. They mean so much to you, your students, your department, your school, and you want them to know that, but how? How do you draw them in, keep them connected, and make them a part of the community conversation when the reality of their lives on your campus does not seem to make this possible?
Businesses regularly use social media to draw the attention of a crowd … take their products, mission, and services to another level … offer promotions that instill in followers a sense of ownership and involvement in companies.
Stop, and think for a moment. Adjunct coordinators, this is precisely what you have been wanting. A smart way to use technology that can draw attention to your very talented adjuncts, involve them with taking the department’s mission to another level, and instill in adjuncts a sense of ownership and involvement… with the help of social media.
Draw attention. Have you seen a dynamic TED Talk and thought “if my faculty could deliver like that, they would blow our students away!” Have you seen a YouTube video of someone explaining what sounded like Greek only to learn it really WAS Greek and, best of all, you understood it?!
Locate videos of what the best teachers do, how faculty motivate students, ways to engage today’s college learner… and share them with your adjuncts. Locate brief videos—about five to seven minutes in length is ideal—make them easy to access, and introduce them with quick titles such as “Want to Know What the Best Teachers Do? Watch This!” Even invite adjuncts to share some of their own finds with you.
Go a step further, and create a YouTube channel for your department and have adjuncts upload videos of themselves demonstrating their extraordinary teaching talents, creating and showcasing your very own online community of exemplary educators. Soon the primary resource for demonstrating what the best teachers do will be the repository created by your community of adjunct faculty.
Take your mission to another level. Use Twitter to share school events and encourage adjuncts to engage in the festivities and further the school’s mission of supporting students both inside and outside of the classroom. Are there weekend events? Thursday night games? A Saturday afternoon play? Four steps, and you are there.
First, create a free Twitter account; consider devoting this account solely to department/adjunct business, identifying a Twitter name that would be recognizable and understood by adjuncts as an account designed for the department.
Then, identify a unique Twitter hashtag (#) you’ll use to create the adjunct community conversation. Ensure you search on Twitter for the hashtag you create to ensure it is not already in use.
Next, create a free Hootsuite account at www.hootsuite.com where you can schedule Tweets to automatically post on the dates and at the times you specify throughout the academic year.
Finally, consult the school’s calendar of events to identify those events you will use as the basis of your Tweets and start scheduling them to go out!
For instance, at the start of the term, the adjunct coordinator for the math department at XYZ College might schedule the following Tweets to post the week of the respective event using Hootsuite and including a unique hashtag that she shares with her adjunct community:
Support the XYZ soccer team this Friday! Cannot wait to see you there! #xyzadjunctmath
Will you fall into the Fall Mixer? See you Saturday at 6PM in Hawkins Hall! #xyzadjunctmath
Homecoming won’t be the same without you! See full details at the school website! #xyzadjunctmath
Consider continuing the conversation after each event with a follow-up post asking who attended and what they thought. Or in addition to school event related Tweets, start a community of sharing by utilizing another unique hashtag and asking adjuncts to share best practices via Twitter.
Instill a sense of ownership and involvement. Have an Adjunct of the Month by inviting adjuncts to take ownership of their courses. Here’s how!:
Encourage all adjuncts to create personal connections to the courses they teach and share best practices with their colleagues. Connect with your web administrator/designer to create a simple entry form that asks adjuncts to submit responses to items such as
- What did you do to make your course different this month?
- What tech tool did you use?
- How can others learn more information about the tool? (For example, provide a URL to a website or to a demo.)
- How did your students respond; what did they/you see/experience that may not have occurred had you opted to teach the course as is?
- What is a must-see/must-read for faculty wanting to learn more about and/or do more with edtech? (For example, provide the full bibliographic information for a current scholarly article or a link to an edtech thought leaders blog, an infographic, or a demo.)
Randomly select an adjunct to feature on the school’s website each month of the academic year. And perhaps you might select a winner who gets the honor of presenting his/her ideas before his/her peers at the next back-to-school convocation or adjunct faculty orientation. (Watch out! Full-timers may want in on the action, too!)
Are you an adjunct coordinator? How do you use social media to keep your adjunct faculty “in the loop”? We want to hear from you! Share your social-media strategies in the comments.
This post was originally published at //www.nisod.org/?q=techknowledge-y-adjunct-coordinator-social-media-adjuncts-and-you
This content comes from a collaboration between Cengage Learning and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. Recognizing the growing need for adjunct support, Cengage Learning and NISOD are partnering to co-host a series of webinars, podcasts, and blog posts covering professional development topics for adjunct faculty and administrators. To learn more about this partnership, visit //www.nisod.org/cengage.