Last month, I wrote about three of the biggest impacts a conference department can have on its campus. I firmly believe in those three ideas, but how do you prove it? It is one thing to detail what the impact is, but it also needs to be demonstrated for others to buy in to the concepts.
We will visit each of the three impact items with some ideas for how you can begin to demonstrate the impact with facts and figures.
There are other ideas out there as well, but hopefully these will get you started (or get your wheels turning).
How do you prove your impact on future campus enrollment? I have two suggestions for this, but both require some support from campus colleagues.
Idea 1: Before college application season starts up, talk to your admissions office. Ask them if a question can be placed onto the application simply asking, "Have you ever participated in an XYZ University summer camp or program?"
Ideally, there would be a follow up question of "If Yes, did your participation influence your decision to apply to this university?" Then be sure to get the results!
Multiply each Yes by the first-year student cost to get your financial impact on the university for the incoming class.
Idea 2: Another idea is to take advantage of first year student orientation. Many orientation programs will incorporate a survey at some point during the program (or during the student’s first year). Find out if you can insert the same questions above onto this survey.
When it comes to proving the impact on the local economy... this one can be harder to measure. If you can get local vendors to issue unique coupons to your department, you can distribute these to conference guests at check-in. The businesses can collect those and inform you of how many were used in a select time-frame.
For something a bit more scientific, try partnering with your Business faculty to have their students do an economic impact study as part of the academic program. This was done on the campus I used to work with and they did a great job (for free)!
Our final topic relates to how you can prove your support of the educational mission by hiring student employees. You may choose to include in your annual report the number of students you employed and in what capacity, demonstrating the experience your team is providing.
A short summary of their roles and responsibilities is a great way to demonstrate the level of professional responsibilities you have placed on them.
You may also want to consider surveying your student staff at the end of the summer, or at the end of each year, to ask them questions that uncover what they feel they have learned that will help them in their future careers. You may also want to include questions around what they have learned about what it means to work as a professional.
Just be sure whatever you do to demonstrate the impact, you share the results with as many departments, people and outlets as possible!