Your academic programs wouldn’t exist without your faculty and vice versa. The faculty is what makes an academic program great, and academic programs provide a home for great faculty to shine. However, this mutually beneficial relationship isn’t always leveraged as well as it could be online.
Frequently, faculty members are relegated to a simple faculty listing that shows their contact information and office number, but nothing more. Sometimes, the faculty isn’t a part of the academic program website at all. But faculty members are real people with interesting stories to tell and personalities beyond their titles. The more prospective students can relate to the people they will be learning from, the more likely they are to enroll in your program.
Here are four ways to make your faculty and academic program content shine:
Consider asking faculty to provide a bit of context about what they are teaching, how they teach it, and why they are passionate about the subject. Supplementing a dry course description with a short sentence or two about the person behind the course can help prospective students better imagine what their real learning experience will be like.
If faculty members are particularly active on social media, consider pulling their feed onto the website, or hand-picking a key tweet or two to give visitors a sense of their personalities and what currently interests them.
Faculty members are producing research findings and papers, uploading presentation slides, and being interviewed on radio and TV. Too often the fruits of their efforts never make it to the program website. Instead of saying you have exceptional faculty doing incredible things, show prospects some of the real work that’s being done. Upload the paper. Embed the news interview video or radio interview audio recording. Share the Slideshare deck. It’s more work, but it conveys the current accomplishments that are taking place outside the classroom.
Let’s be honest — nobody likes sitting for the requisite staff photo. Even when you manage to track everyone down, the resulting pics are rarely warm and personal. Consider using more candid photos of faculty in place of or in addition to the directory bust. Get pictures of them with their favorite pets, playing their favorite instruments or sports, or at their favorite spots on campus. These photos won’t tell prospective students anything more about the academic programs, per se, but they will provide a valuable peek into the real people who teach them.