One of the tenants of the MSU Hub is “Collective Power.” As a Hub we “leverage, coordinate and scale MSU’s existing energies and creativity by connecting people, designing opportunities and facilitating innovation.”
On November 11th, the collective power was summoned to the Hub by gathering campus stakeholders involved in online or hybrid MA & Graduate Certificate/Specialization programs at MSU. This is the first time this group has been intentionally gathered. The purpose of this meeting was to make connections and have guided discussions to share strategies for advising, program development, curriculum development, marketing, economics, program data & reporting and to generate questions and possible innovations to serve our students and programs.
The invitation was intentionally inclusive – we wanted to invite/anyone who would have insight into programs (graduate TAs, administrative assistants, department chairs, etc.) or people who are considering developing online MA or certificate/specialization programs. We did not include current students in this invitation as we were focused on inward facing issues (we plan to include students in the future!) The list of invitations was gathered by researching programs listed here: https://reg.msu.edu/ucc/onlineprograms.aspx
The structured portion of the meeting was kept simple – we divided the participants into 4 tables for a modified SWAT discussion focused on:
Table 1: Finance & Marketing
Table 2: Admissions & Registrar office
Table 3: Curriculum Development & Technology
Table 4: Advising & Student Experience
SWOT usually stands for Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats – we substituted Tensions for Threats.
A rich (and rapid!) discussion ensued as we had 20 minutes at the first table (then 10 minutes at subsequent tables) to discuss each issue. The groups moved from table to table so everyone had the change to air out their SWOTs.
After the SWOT participants had a chance to network. It was fantastic to see the cross collaboration & discussions happening. I witnessed relief that others were struggling with similar tensions and joy to find immediate solutions to some challenges. Immediate feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and appreciative of the chance to simply take time to meet and talk.
We ended the meeting by using the large whiteboards in the Hub and asked the following:
- Did you know ……
- I wish we could……
More connections were made and the following comment in response to I wish made me very happy to have had the opportunity to facilitate the experience:
Looking forward into 2017 – more meetings will be facilitated and small working groups organized to discuss issues surfaced during the SWOT.