High-Stakes programing often extends beyond the perimeter of an institution. How does a campus provide an engaging environment for students while maintaining good relations with the local community? During our most recent webinar, Alison Doehring and David Vale from The University of Akron shared their tips and tricks for tackling these tough questions.
Alison Doehring serves as the Assistant Director for Student Life in the Department of Student Life. In her role, she oversees 300 plus student organizations, all volunteer programs and community outreach events, and leadership development programs. She holds a M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and a B.S. in Emergency Management/Criminal Justice from The University of Akron. Her co-worker and colleague David Vale serves as the Assistant Director for Campus Programs in the Department of Student Life. David has previously served as a Resident Director for Semester at Sea, a Residence Hall Coordinator at San Diego State University, and a Coordinator of Student Development at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He holds a M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University and a B.A. in History from Baldwin-Wallace College.
Alison and David started off by sharing with the audience an overview of SpringFest, The University of Akron’s annual end-of-semester celebration. David provided background information while they showcased a short marketing video about the event. If you would like learn more about the size, scale and social media interaction surrounding the event, search for @uaspringfest on twitter or instagram.
Creating the “Why”
Alison spoke about how SpringFest originated as a student led initiative, which over time has developed into an institutionally supported annual tradition. At The University of Akron there are specific requirements for a program to be classified as “high-stakes.” Alison explained these requirements and how it is important to know this definition on your own campus. She shared the importance of how identifying your learning objectives and establishing your program goals help you to configure your event management timeline.
David introduced us to the concept of “selling it” and how this can be leveraged to share your vision with others across campus and in the surrounding community. He outlined how high-stakes programs require you to establish a list of your constituents, balance the varying needs of these groups, and the importance of involving others
You should never go the road alone, the success of high-stakes programming requires collaboration with various campus and community partners.
Formulating the Budget
Balancing the needs of the financial contributors is never an easy task. Alison described how to accomplish this while keeping in mind the purpose and goals of your “high-stakes” program. She emphasized the complexities of managing budgets for programs of this magnitude and how you must plan for the unexpected.
Liability and Logistics
Executing your timeline requires a collaborative effort from committee members. David explained how you must plan for the unexpected and the importance of utilizing a cross selection of colleagues to ensure that all aspects of the program have been thoroughly examined. He outline some best practices for ensuring the required steps are taken to minimize risk and liability.
Sharing your story is important! Take advantage of your university and local media to highlight the success of the program, David explained. Telling your story begins with an analysis of the impact of the program through surveys and observations. You must collect formal and informal feedback from all involved and create detailed documents for future programs. Lastly, he encourage attendees not to forget to about all of those who contributed their time, energy, and support to make the program a success. Remember to thank these individuals and cultivate long lasting partnerships with campus and community members.
Alison and David also created a step-by-step guide for their 5 Steps to Planning High-Stakes Programs, which is available for download via the watch webinar link below.