Program Planning

I. Questions I Was Looking to Answer

a.) How do I design student programs that meet the needs, goals, and resources of my office or department?

b.) What should I think about when marketing programs?

c.) How do I facilitate the implementation of such programs?

d.) How do I gauge the effectiveness of such programs in meeting predetermined goals and outcomes?

II. Introduction

Before coming to graduate school I had been involved in the facilitation of numerous orientation and campus visit programs as well as national service projects. While I was never called upon to redesign entire programs, I was allowed to help improve upon all facets of these events. I helped to revamp the orientation reservation process during my second year with the department. I co-lead the redrafting of our student life skits in order to introduce students to new issues regarding academic integrity and public safety. During my time as a campus tour guide, I helped to improve upon our daily tour schedule and revised the tour itself to ensure that students were hitting the most important buildings earlier in the tour.

As an AmeriCorps member I was responsible for coordinating service projects that lasted anywhere from two days to two months. In addition to ensuring that the service projects were successful, I was also in charge of coordinating service learning projects, recruiting/marketing events, reflection activities, and the daily living and working schedules of ten young adults. I was also responsible for working closely with our sponsors to ensure that we were meeting the desired goals and outcomes of the project.

III. Hypothesis

a.) In order to design effective programming I must have a clear understanding of why the new or revised program is needed. I need to know the student needs/wants that will be met through this programming and why they are not being met currently. I need to be able to articulate both the immediate and long-term benefits that such programming will have on students and the campus community.

b.) In order to market the program appropriately I will need to know what campus population the program is best suited for supporting. I will need to know what marketing resources (campus newspaper, listserves, posters, academic advisors) are available to help get information out and how much they will cost my department. I will also need to know the goals for the marketing campaign: how many people or groups are needed in order to facilitate the program and is the program mandatory or elective.

c.) To implement a program effectively I will need the support and leadership of a number of people. I will need to create working relationships with students, others within my department and across campus. I will need to do research to address the learning outcomes to be covered and develop a way to deliver this information in a way that can reach my target audience. I will need to ensure that I have the proper venue for the program and the proper assistance in both the planning and execution stages.

d.) I will need to create and distribute assessments that accurately evaluate whether my programming has met the desired goals and outcomes

IV. Methods and Materials

Facilitating Academic Integrity Seminar

Teaching U-Engage and CAMP learning community

CAMP/ALS 199 syllabus: campsyllabus-template-gen

NODA conference presentation proposal: noda-program-proposal-081

Sample conference proposal from Programs and Functions class

V. Data, and Analysis

Redesigning Academic Integrity Seminar

CAMP/Wellness Learning Community

Student Service Break programming

VI. Conclusions

a.) I must have a clear understanding of why new or revised programs are needed and what student needs or department goals are looking to be addressed. I will ultimately have to make decisions on programming and answer for those decisions. I have found that consulting the needs and goals of the program I’m trying to meet is a key to making informed decisions and planning effective programs.

b.) When it comes to marketing  it is important to be adventurous and inventive. College students are bombarded by programs and services and so it may take a bold move or repeated attempts for something to catch their eye.

Don’t get pigeonholed into specific marketing campaigns. It is important to diversify marketing methods, expand target audiences, and collaborate with other campus groups and programs in order to create more effective and budget friendly marketing.

c.) Facilitating programs takes a lot of time and effort. The more time, thoughtfulness, and effort that can be put into the preparation for a program, the more successful it will be.

The more planning that reflects and strengthens the needs and goals of a particular department or college, the better off the program will be.

When working with students, student groups or colleagues in the planning of programs it is important to solidify and reassess people’s roles and responsibilities. In the best case scenario lots of in-person collaboration can be done, but when this is impossible, it is essential to have agreed upon ways of communicating progress and set-backs with others.

In the long run it is important to remember that programs are constantly evolving and be open to change-be willing to learn from mistakes and ask questions to find out if programs are meeting their goals.

Implementing programs usually involves a lot of teamwork. It is important to recognize who important stakeholders are and get their input and assistance when possible. Recognize the knowledge, time and other resources teammates are giving to the process and reward their efforts whenever possible.

d.) Effectiveness can be measured in a number of ways and no way is best for all programs.

Informal measures of effectiveness often make people feel good, both those responding (they care enough about what I think to ask me directly) and those gaining the information (they care enough about the program to tell me directly)and may help to indicate the success of particular programs

Formal measures of effectiveness are often necessary in order to share the benefits of a program with key stakeholders and also provide tangible results to consider when planning for future programming.

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2 Responses to “Program Planning”

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Portfolio Evaluation Comments: Outstanding. Your work on this competency has been excellent. I see the conclusions you’ve drawn very much at play in your actual program planning work. I don’t know that you necessarily need to add any new content here, but I did have one thought. I know that your NODA internship didn’t necessarily include program planning, but I’m curious what you learned about program planning from being an observer-participant last summer?

With regards to Eric’s question regarding what I use to drive my decisions regarding program planning and redesigning programs:

I think that a good deal of my redesigns and program planning is based in my evolving knowledge of best practices within teaching and learning. The goal of all of my program planning has been to create workshops, assignments, and activities that encourage people to think critically about various issues and create personal contexts for learning, assessing information and decision making. I try to design programs that operate within the learner partnership model and accept all participants as knower’s, not just learners.

My redesign of the academic integrity seminar was partially based on my desire to meet with students one-on-one, which is my preferred style of meeting. In this regard, I was holding to one of my beliefs about leadership, which is that I should extenuate my (and other people’s) strengths. The decision was also based on my desire to have a more thought provoking, reflective homework assignment. The assignment helps me gauge where students are in recognizing the true affect that academic dishonesty has on their education. It also helps me provide the most personalized attention to students and refer them to the right resources in order to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. In addition, I am also catering to more learning styles than the original seminar. Not only do students get the chance to verbally discuss and reflect on their experiences in a group, but they also get to verbally discuss matters one-one-one and use their writing skills.


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