Communicate!

Our school prides itself on the technology it has made available to its students. A few years ago, Temple completed construction on its Tech Center, a “75,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art technology facility” that, among other things, contains over 700 computers for student-use. Correspondingly, the university has traditionally included 400 pages of “free” printing within the technology fee that each student pays as part of his/her tuition.

Because of this generous printing quota, many students have opted not to buy printers of their own and rely on the Tech Center and other computer labs on campus for their printing.

This year, however, the printing quota was lowered to 300 pages per full-time student per semester. This represents a significant reduction of 25% – 100 pages – in printing for Temple students! The university also reapportioned the printing allowance.

I can understand if budget cuts and economic strain forced the university to take this action. However, the university did not communicate the circumstances surrounding this change to the student body. In fact, the students were not notified of the change at all.

The result has been anger amongst the student body, as they are gradually finding out about the change. Students are not only angered that the change was made, but also angered that the university chose not – or didn’t care enough – to inform them. Especially upsetting and confusing is the fact that students paid the normal technology fee but received less in exchange this year.

Temple could have headed this situation off at the pass by addressing it openly and clearly. Instead, it made the change behind the scenes and has generated a lot of discontent amongst students – discontent that is rapidly growing and spreading by word-of-mouth. This is a great example of the need to communicate early and often to stakeholders. Anything less can taint your image and cause frustration, anger and dissent amongst the same people you rely upon for success.

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One thought on “Communicate!

  1. Anonymous

    People will accept change if the reasons for it are well understood and communicated. It stands to reason that the cost of paper and toner is accelerating and a price increase (or service reduction) could be justified. The trend anyway is away from paper when possible under the guise of being 'green' (when I was young, we called it 'cheap'– same thing).

    To just willy nilly make a change with no notice or warning in an inellectual environment is bad judgement.

    Good post.

    Reply

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