It seems that every time I hear discussions of large-scale issues on campus, problems that must be addressed or situations that should be improved, it always comes back to communication. It’s no wonder—with a large community across different divisions, departments, and programs, communication is not simple. But it is essential that we as educators are able to communicate clearly and effectively, not just with our students but also with our colleagues.
I recently had a conversation with Brian Reff about communication in the affective sense, and how much working in customer service had helped to improve my own communication skills. While I’m glad I haven’t worked at Starbucks in years, I am equally glad for the skills I gained there in clear, concise, friendly communication and approachability (and how to make a mean cappuccino). I think everyone should work in customer service at some point in their life; after all, good communication helps us all.
Somewhat fittingly, I found myself the culprit of my own communication error in setting up a meeting for Chaparral columnists for this issue: a hasty, last-minute reminder email, a “one” dropped from my “eleven,” and everyone showed up two hours late, much to my chagrin.
One of the reasons I wanted to be the editor of Chaparral in the first place was because I saw it as a platform for communication: an opportunity not only to share important events, activities, and programs on campus, but also to prompt larger discussions about issues that matter to us. I would never claim to have all the answers, but I hope that this issue can continue our ongoing dialogue about how to improve communication at GCC.
How can we each begin to do our small part to improve communication? Faculty must work together with counseling to make sure they have the most up-to-date information about course sequencing to distribute to students (particularly in light of changes implemented due to AB 705). The district must communicate their plans for how changes will go into effect, such as what the process for online evaluations would be. We can all try to help unclog everyone’s overstuffed email inboxes by not hitting “reply all” to emails directed at one individual. Divisions can ensure that adjuncts have access to information that full-timers may take for granted, such as discussions at division meetings that many part-timers may be unable to attend.
As for me? I’m going to make sure I never hit “send” on an email again before checking that I typed in the correct meeting time.