Academic institutions often struggle to get inside the heads of their students, but Queen’s University prides itself on offering one of the best post-secondary student experiences in Canada. When it comes to crafting the undergraduate residence experience, they know that the most effective strategy is to go straight to the source – to speak with, and survey, students directly. How else do you find out how to make a university into both an internationally recognized academic institution and a safe, secure, environment that alumni and current students alike can fondly call ‘home’?
The Queen’s University Housing & Ancillary Services portfolio, which includes Residences, Residence Life, Community Housing, Hospitality Services, Event Service, Enrichment Studies and Student Community Relations, has been working with Channel 3 Communications for over 18 years to hear student voices and develop strategies for communicating with them.
Channel 3 has managed focus groups for Queen’s Housing & Ancillary Services since 2004, gathering data on communication styles, dining, internet use and the residence experience. Channel 3 advertises the sessions, recruits students, facilitators and notetakers, and leads the sessions. Qualitative and quantitative data are gathered for a report to the university, which is used to guide communications activities, enhance services and improve processes. The information is also shared across the campus to help other departments analyze their own communications strategies.
When wireless Internet in residence buildings became a prominent issue for H&A, they held a focus group. When they needed to understand the students’ feelings about their meal plans, they held a focus group. How students feel about their personal safety on campus, how they feel about their campus – the data is there. The conclusions drawn from the careful analysis of student feedback have led to tangible changes and improvements for the client and to the student experience at Queen’s.
“Queen’s Housing and Ancillary Services has benefitted from the talents of Channel 3 Communications throughout our long partnership. From reports to on-going communication to departmental reviews the outcome is fresh, insightful and most importantly arrived at with meaningful consultation and cooperation.”
Executive Director, Queen’s University Housing & Ancillary Services