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 Tuesday, April 10, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Inside CU spring 2007 survey report
By Monteith Mitchell, Internal Communications

The Inside CU editorial board would like to thank everyone who participated in our spring 2007 survey! We received helpful feedback and suggestions on what you would like to see in this e-newsletter, and soon you'll see several new features. Following are highlights from the survey responses, starting with a little background information.

Background and objectives
Inside CU debuted on April 13, 2004. Its purpose is to help build pride in campus accomplishments through timely stories, to build a sense of community through stories of individual achievements, and to increase understanding of campus priorities through regular messages from the Chancellor and other administrators. Early on, a decision was made not to report on University of Colorado System news (e.g., Board of Regents, benefits, state personnel issues), as the Silver & Gold Record does an excellent job covering those areas.

Each spring an Inside CU satisfaction survey is conducted to gather specific information on what features are popular, what new information readers would like to see, and what design improvements could be made to enhance the publication.  

This year we conducted an online survey comprised of seven questions in the Feb. 27 and March 13 editions, along with a focus group session on March 6 that used the same questions. The purpose of the focus group was to allow participants to explain the reasons behind their reaction to, and impressions and opinions of, Inside CU.

A total of 55 responses were received to the online survey from the following occupations:

  • 5 faculty
  • 45 staff
  • 2 research associates
  • 3 other

Eight people participated in the focus group—one faculty member, six staff members, and one administrator—for a total of 63 responses, approximately a 1.1 percent response rate overall.

Summary and considerations
People mainly read Inside CU to find out what's going on around campus. Just over half of the respondents, 51 percent, read every issue of Inside CU, followed by nearly 33 percent who read it occasionally and about 16 percent who hardly ever read it.

Likewise, 54 percent are mostly satisfied, nearly 24 percent are somewhat satisfied, just over 6 percent are somewhat dissatisfied, about 8 percent are mostly dissatisfied and about 8 percent have no opinion.

The most popular features are the spotlight stories, followed by People Behind the Scenes, Did You Knows, Awards and Kudos, the Chancellor's column, news releases and the photo gallery.

This year we asked a question about use of the archived stories, as several often appear in the top 10-20 stories in our web readership data for each edition. Eight respondents indicated they use the archives if they miss reading an issue, to look up something they've already seen, or to use as a resource. Most respondents weren't aware this feature is available (see "Previous Issues" link at the bottom of each page).

Suggestions for new topics we plan to develop over the next few months include a feature on faculty profiles (slated for fall 2007, in addition to the ongoing People Behind the Scenes feature for staff), a series and/or special edition on institutes, centers and laboratories, and stories on projects and activities that students are involved in. We're working on updating the departmental newsletter section (now underway), changing the email notice from text to HTML format (pending new ITS software for the e-memo system), and embedding more links in stories to provide additional information.

We also received a few comments regarding repetition of other sources of information. Yes, we intentionally publish selected items from Buff Bulletins and news releases on a regular basis, as our research shows that many of our readers do not read the electronic announcements and/or the campus or local newspapers.

Highlights of the findings
Following are some of the comments we received in support of these findings:

Main reasons for reading or not reading Inside CU

  • I enjoy the articles about various people
  • To read an article about my department; to get a glimpse of what other departments and programs are doing around campus
  • Feeling a part of the university community
  • Easy to find out something special about CU and not focus on the day-to-day problems that are easier to see
  • Love seeing pictures of campus
  • I don't often feel the need to read it—although it is interesting, just not especially compelling
  • Don't have time
  • I hardly ever read it because I find little of interest or use which I have not already seen somewhere else
  • I receive too many newsletters, don't have the time to really read it, I just browse quickly

Suggestions for campus topics and improvements

  • Interviews that actually delve into what faculty are doing, not just when big awards are won 
  • Environment and energy issues; environmental activities the rank and file should be participating in
  • Advising
  • How Admissions is doing
  • More in-depth articles about centers and institutes
  • Major research being conducted
  • Research and projects that students are doing
  • The hard issues facing the university—finances, diversity, etc.
  • More in-depth and analytical reports on campus happenings, e.g., changes in policy or curriculum
  • Link to other external relevant articles
  • Link to current version of the departmental newsletters
  • Would be nice to have HTML format email if possible

Thanks again
All of us at Inside CU extend our great appreciation to everyone who participated in the survey, and to our friends at the College of Music, the department of Theatre and Dance, Fiske Planetarium, and the University Memorial Center for donating our survey prizes. And thanks to all of you for reading Inside CU—you don't have to wait until next year's survey to send us more good ideas—feel free to contact us anytime!

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