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Member survey results - 2012 - Communicators Forum

Thank you everyone who took the Communicators Forum member survey. 125 of our 311 members -- from different campuses and locations -- took the time to let us know what you'd like to see from the University of Minnesota Communicators Forum (UMCF). Your input is greatly appreciated. The Communicators Forum board is meeting next week and will consider this feedback to inform efforts for the next semester and beyond.

There are many ways to maximize your membership and make it your communications year:
Attend a program

Volunteer for a committee - several still need members, it's not too late!

Save the dates for member appreciation (May 29) and conference (June 25)
Feel free to send ideas any time to and to comment on this post to share any ideas for future speakers, topics, member benefits, and other ideas.


125 of our 311 members completed the survey, with representation across different campuses:

Twin Cities East Bank - 60.8% (76)
Twin Cities West Bank - 14.4% (18)
Twin Cities St. Paul - 14.4% (18)
Other - 4% (5 - U areas like Arboretum, Printing Services and non-U members)
Duluth - 2.4% (3)
Morris - 1.6% (2)
Crookston - 1.6% (2)

Some overall themes were an appetite to try new things, wanting programming experiences geared toward those at coordinate campuses and for different points in their career, and valuing being part of a network of professional communicators.

Results for each question, listed from most to least in favor:

1. If we tried different, experiential formats for programs, which of the following types of activities do you think you would attend?

a. Problem-solving and best practices workshops (conversation cafe, project critique, brainstorming group, proaction cafe, visual facilitation, etc.) - 68% (85)

b. Field trips off campus (e.g., going behind-the-scenes at Mayo Clinic communications, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, etc.) - 56.8% (71)

c. Quick creative breaks on or near campus (Weisman, improv lessons, etc.) - 56% (70)

d. Book club (or club for articles, blogs, TV, film, etc. - 30.4% (38) 

e. Informal presentation opportunities (Pecha Kucha, PowerPoint Karaoke, etc.) - 28% (35)

f. Job switch/shadow for a day - 28% (35)

g. Other - 4.8% (6)
Comments included: Media consumption club, high-level speakers/industry leaders, more for coordinate campuses, job board/tips and tricks discussion

2. How would you like to hear about upcoming Communicators Forum programs and events?

a. Email - 95.2% (119)
b. UMCF newsletter - 28.8% (36) 
c. Facebook - 24% (30)
d. UMN calendar - 18.4% (23)
e. UMCF website - 16% (20) 
f. UMCF blog - 9.6% (12)
g. Twitter - 8% (10)
h. Other - Comments: Annual schedule? 

3. Which factors are important when deciding if you will attend a Communicators Forum program?

a. Topic - 93.6% (117)
b. Location - 69.6% (87))
c. Advance notice - 61.6% (77)
d. Specific time of day - 47.2% (59)
e. Supervisor approval - 11.2% (14)
f. Other - 4% (5)
Comments largely about whether the topic is compelling, interesting, and relevant enough. Length of program also a factor (longer more apt to come), workload, and if can attend through UMConnect.

4. What do you value most about being a Communicators Forum member?

a. Being part of a network of professional communicators - 66.4% (83)
b. Regular learning opportunities through monthly programs (free to members) - 56% (70)
c. Listserv subscription (members-only) - 50.4% (63)
d. Annual conference - 48% (60)
e. Ongoing UMCF communications (newsletter, blog, website, social media) - 32% (40)
f. Awards competition (only members can enter) - 6.4% (8) 
g. Other - 2.4% (3)
Comments include: Promoting quality and community, advocacy for profession at U.

5. What would improve your experience of being a Communicators Forum member?

a. Access to shared resources (e.g., vendor referral tool, subscription, online resource/reference library) - 60.8% (76)
b. Communications toolkit for all members - 54.5% (68)
c. Communications advice column in blog/monthly newsletter (Ask a Communicator...) - 40% (50)
d. Different types of regular programs/events - 38.4% (48)
e. More informal networking opportunities - 26.4% (33) 
f. Sharing member news in UMCF newsletter (e.g., welcome new members; member-submitted items like role changes, accomplishments, presentations, etc.) - 22.4% (28) 
g. Other - 3.2% (4)
Comments include: more programs broadcast on the web, more recognition of graphic design aspect of communications, job boards for new communications openings at the U beyond just the listserv, shared subscription and member news good ideas.

6. Please describe any new awards categories you'd like to see for the Maroon and Gold Awards.

Ideas included:

Several for more web categories, including mobile web design, user experience, web sections, websites of different sizes, web systems/infrastructure/web planning, integrated print and web/campaign

Award for the communicator's boss, faculty member, mentor - someone who encouraged a communicator or communications team - showcasing how the communicator is a resource to the unit

Awards related to advancing the U's mission / brand - not just "good" but accomplishing specific outcomes for the University

Category for non-members

Something geared toward academic departments

Other specific category ideas including: Before and after, strategic communications initiative, organizational change initiative, strategy and planning, events, invitations, announcements, greeting cards, illustration, signage, photography, logo, best concept that didn't get produced, short videos produced entirely within an office (not contracted)
7. Anything else you'd like to share?

Comments included:

Several comments about need for gearing programs to coordinate campus participants, that the Forum is Twin Cities-focused

Several things about gearing things toward people at different points in their career, too much emphasis on new communicators

Several comments appreciating opportunity to provide input, like being part of network

Several comments on awards - step-by-step how did a past award winner do, ceremony too skewed to same recipients, not a fan of the awards

Specific feedback such as "how to cancel" event attendance blurb on website;  look forward to annual meeting; past list of speaker presentations; more sessions with U Relations/other good communicators on how they are appealing to U core mission/President's strategic plan; get monthly event notifications out sooner; liked the U Archives/Land grant exhibit program with tour of displays and history focus; working with the Foundation; speaker ideas: Lee Aase/Mayo Clinic, Jason Lardy/Nomad Marketing; having Forum leaders circulate at social time at events to introduce people; class for communicators on making engaging short videos; quick and dirty InDesign tricks for fliers and other technical skills.

Those are the survey results... Feel free to add anything new you think of or respond to the feedback by commenting on this post!


Thank you for posting these results. As a member from a coordinate campus, I appreciate that others felt the same way I do, that the forum sometimes ought to be called UMTCCF. :)

I hope that in the future more programming will be more readily available for those of us who are not in MSP. The content that I've obtained from UMCF programs that I *have* been able to access is great, and I just hope that more and more will be available.

Thanks to those who keep the forum going for all your hard work.

Jessi, thanks for your comment. What are some ways that membership would be more beneficial to those on coordinate campuses? Interactive sessions with Google hangout or something? Scheduling events/opportunities at different campuses for those in that area? Open to any specific ideas from the perspective of someone on a coordinate campus -- what would you like to participate in?

Recent Comments

  • Rebecca Noran: Jessi, thanks for your comment. What are some ways that read more
  • Jessi Eaton: Thank you for posting these results. As a member from read more



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