As John Kotter (2002) argues in The Heart of Change, visioning “involves trying to see possible futures. It inevitably has both a creative and emotional component” (p. 68). As communicators, one of our jobs is often to help craft visions, and, more often, to talk about them in a way that will inspire our audiences.
Northeastern’s president, Joseph Aoun, recently announced that the Board of Trustees had approved Northeastern 2025, the university’s vision for the next decade.
Take a look. Personally, I find this vision inspirational; it motivates me to think about how the vision translates into enhancements in our curriculum and how we can enrich the educational experience of our students.
Alumni also figure prominently in the Northeastern 2025 vision document, which states the following:
“As students graduate and continue to participate as alumni, they will plug into a multigenerational ecosystem of lifelong learning and career support—critical to personal and professional resilience.
Northeastern 2025 will integrate employer and alumni networks as sources of lifelong learning, teaching, mentoring, and innovation. Our campuses around the world will serve as amplifiers for integration—pathways to richly diverse networked relationships, including employer and alumni partnerships, affinity groups, and topical communities. Employers and alumni will also take on more formal and informal mentoring and learning assessment responsibilities.”
In the last six months, we’ve been doing a lot to embed experiential learning opportunities into our master’s curriculum, from traditional co-ops to international field study courses to experiential capstones.
For me, experiential learning means, quite simply, learning in action. This happens when we apply a skill, a concept, an insight, a new way of looking at things in order to communicate more effectively. This is what we hope to motivate and enable our students (and our alumni!) to do.
An example. Nicole Wild Merle, a recent alumna who is based in Charlotte, applied what she learned in her social media and assessment courses in a co-op project, WomenVotes. You can read about this creative initiative here.
But this was just the first step. Along with many other volunteers and nonprofits, Nicole has harnessed digital media to help people get to the polls. As Brian Rashid writes in Forbes, “Carpool2Vote is the first ever volunteer based app that provides free rides to the polls for people all across America. Even the major ridesharing platforms are not offering such a service. Yes, they offer vouchers and gift certificates, but only one-way, and only to new users. Carpool2Vote, on the other hand, offers free rides to anyone who signs up. No credit redemptions. No stress about whether or not you are a first time user. Free for everyone.”
We’d like to hear your stories of ‘learning in action’ — share your stories by commenting or drop me a line at email@example.com. to tell your full story in your own blog post”.
Last spring, CPS sent out a survey to all alumni to determine how graduates felt about their educational experience. The response rate for graduate students was 12.9% — a decent rate of return with higher percentages of 2014 and 2015 graduates. Overall, the results were positive. 83% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their CPS degree was a worthwhile investment.
The net promoter score (NPS) results were especially interesting. Here’s the methodology. The basic NPS question is: On a scale of 1 (not likely at all) to 10 (extremely likely), how likely are you to refer “X” to a family member, friend, orcolleague? Survey respondents with a 9 or 10 are categorized as PROMOTERS, and are most likely to demonstrate “value‐creating” behaviors, such as making more positive referrals. Those responding with a 7 or 8 are categorized as PASSIVES, and are somewhat likely to demonstrate value‐creating behaviors. Those responding with a 1‐6 are categorized as DETRACTORS, and are least likely to demonstrate value‐creating behaviors.
The classic NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of of promoters.
So how did Corporate and Organizational Communication do?
Our program had an NPS of 51%, compared with 29% for the average CPS program, and ranked in the top two master’s programs overall. By way of benchmarking, Harvard Business School’s NPS was 41% (Source: NPS Benchmarks).
So this is definitely a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for the program – a concept you all remember from CMN 6910, Organizational Communication Assessment. Based on this data, we hope you’ll refer friends and colleagues to the program.