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How do you get your colleagues to reach out to students?

Everyone at the school from the receptionist to the admissions to the instructors and even the janitorial staff has a role in helping maintain student retention.  I have been in many work situations where folks indicate that "is not their job," but retention is everyone's job.  As a student services representative, it is disconcerting when we lose students based on the fact that they felt they were not listened to and that their concerns were not addressed.  It seems that communication breaks down and questions are not asked to find out what the issue is as to why students are not succeeding.  Case in point, a student reached out saying that they could not get into their student portal and when the IT kept addressing the issue via email, the student was not able to get what they needed.  The case of the matter is that the student did not mean portal, but meant LMS.  Once the phone call was made, the issue was resolved and the student was able to get what they needed.  But it took several attempts on the part of numerous people to see what she actually needed.  Unfortunately by this time the student was already behind and ready to quit. Better training is in place to avoid these issues, but it boils down to communicating directly with the student and asking questions. 

Many folks feel that the email mode of communication is sufficient to reach everyone, but as educators, we recognize that the learning styles of all students do not lend well to that.  Some folks really need to hear and see how things are done, and not just told. I use teams quite a bit to meet with students to show and tell them how to find things in their courses.  The personal touch and guiding them through the process in the LMS by having them open various links help them interact better with the learning system.  It is important that folks go beyond just the email to reach students and not assume that just because they sent the email, it doesn't mean that the student understood what they meant.  I don't mean that we call each student, but when students reach out to a department a second time for an issue, then we need to call to continue to open the lines of communication.  

You raise an important point- vocabulary! Especially with non-traditional students who may not know what an LMS is. Or that Canvas or Blackboard are an LMS!!

"You can get to the LMS through our splash page" means nothing to these students, but "You can get to the page that has all of your coursework through the big blue Canvas icon on the right side of the home page that your computer opens up to when you click on our campus student homepage" is true communication. 

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