As spring rolls in course material adoptions come back to the forefront of concerns. Finding ways to communicate the importance of early adoptions to faculty can be a challenge. Are you doing enough? Are you doing too much? Students, faculty and college stores benefit from working together. Finding that happy medium where the faculty is informed enough to understand the importance to the student and the store, but does not feel harassed about the subject requires finesse. Here are four best practices when building professional relationships that will create a lasting rapport.
- Build Relationships
This is easily the hardest task on the list, but also the most important for long-term success. The relationships you forge now will carry over semester after semester. Putting the time in to foster that relationship will save you from having to start over every semester when adoptions are coming due. Meet the instructors in person, like Dickinson College Bookstore. Ask their opinion and listen to their opinion on submitting adoptions early. Until you understand where they are coming from, it is hard to change their mind.
- Inform Faculty
Once you know what is preventing faculty members from submitting their course material adoptions in a timely manner, you can send them information that directly relates to their concerns. Faculty Watch 2015-16 said only 55% of faculty members are aware of the list price of the materials selected. Also, 36% will automatically update to the newest edition. Knowing this lets you customize the message you are sending. You can pass along more effective information explaining why adopting the newest addition isn’t the most cost-effective choice and even show the difference in the cost to the student between new and used books. While the content of the course materials is the most important factor in adopting for 81% of the faculty, 74% of them were also concerned about the cost to students. The more transparent you can be about that, the better your results will be.
- Send Reminders
Reminding teachers about approaching deadlines is great, but be careful about the frequency. You don’t want your message to turn into white noise and be ignored. Make sure you are giving the faculty room to breathe, but are still keeping them informed. Georgia Southern University noticed only about 20% of the expected adoptions were actually submitted on time. They decided to do a giveaway for those who submitted by deadline. They sent an email a week prior to their deadline and one the day before. They were able to raise awareness and increase the adoptions submitted on time.
- Show Gratitude
One part of building relationships that is too easy to forget is showing gratitude. Once faculty course material adoptions are submitted, it’s easy to move onto the next person or the deadline. However, taking the time to thank them for submitting helps strengthen the relationship you want to build with them. Something as easy as saying thank you can leave faculty with more positive memories of the experience.
Building professional relationships takes time and patience. Listen to what they are saying and try to answer the questions they aren’t asking. Checking in periodically throughout the semester is another good way build lasting connections.