Story by Nicole Cooke, Copy Editor—
The Twitter chat with President Ambrose on Monday gave students the opportunity to get to know the man behind the desk in a strategic public relations move by University Relations.
The chat not only gave students the chance to ask Ambrose anything they could think of, it gave UCM officials a look into what campus issues are important to students in a medium that was convenient for both students and UCM leaders.
“Students live busy lives, so I think engaging with (them) in ways that allows for you to balance your time is great,” Ambrose said. “Also, it allows the University to listen for trends, concerns, ideas and challenges that are identified through social media. It is helpful sometimes just to encourage more dialogue and hopefully yesterday was one other way to do that.”
Students asked questions using #askambrose, ranging from what his favorite UCM athletic moment was, to what the University is doing to increase student and alumni relationships. The wide range of questions, and responses, showed students and faculty the personality of the man leading their University, as well as what improvements will be made in the near future.
“We will take a look at those issues raised during the chat with the senior leadership team and use our conversation to look for ways to improve student experience and satisfaction,” Ambrose said.
Ambrose is known as a personable president who knows everyone’s name and what they’re involved in, so making him even more accessible didn’t seem like a necessary goal, but University Relations seemed to increase his popularity even more.
“I think the key is making interaction both as accessible and meaningful as possible,” Ambrose said. “It certainly is not the same as walking downtown and having a cup of coffee. It is just another way to engage.”
Hosting a Twitter chat can be a PR practitioner’s dream or nightmare, considering how social media can be unpredictable. Anyone could say anything they wanted, all while associating it with UCM by including #askambrose. Having a social media team on hand during the two-hour chat helped eliminate problems, other than temporarily exceeding Ambrose’s tweet limit.
University Relations seems to have a hit on their hands, with many students asking when the next chat will be. Joining the social media movement was an idea that is putting UCM ahead of most universities. They’ve definitely set a precedent for themselves and Ambrose to be as transparent and accessible as possible, which will be up to them to continue.