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Faculty Communication:UserVoice To Promote Online Faculty Discussion

In order to facilitate the strategic planning process, the Faculty Advising Committee (AdCom) will introduce an online forum for faculty members called UserVoice later this term. UserVoice features the ability for users to electronically vote on certain ideas. “You [the user] are allocated a certain number of votes. What the tool does is it surfaces the cream of the crop ideas. The ideas that really resonate with the community will filter to the top,” said Michael Barker, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment. In this way, UserVoice differs from conventional online forums where ideas remain static once they are posted, said Barker. Though Barker plans to use UserVoice primarily for strategic planning purposes, he thinks that the employment of UserVoice in normal faculty meetings will help streamline the decision-making process. UserVoice is intended to address concerns that surfaced at a faculty meeting earlier in the year about the difficulty of gaining organized feedback. “The one thing about UserVoice is that you can’t sign on anonymously. You can’t just post any comment anonymously. One of the principal philosophies underlying the site is that you are accountable for your opinions, which I think is a great thing,” said Barker. “It is not always necessary to have meetings in person,” Barker continued. “Rather than going to Kemper Auditorium or a classroom, it is possible to voice your opinion in a transparent way from a phone, iPad or computer.”