Creating opportunity for interpersonal contact is one of the best ways for campus stores to increase faculty engagement. Here, you’ll find a marketing plan template for two kinds of event that are sure to attract teachers, faculty readings and a faculty appreciation night. Events like these can burnish your store’s reputation among faculty and nurture positive word of mouth in the campus community.
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Infuse campus store faculty communications with humanity
If you want a stronger response from faculty to campus store communications, it’s important to show the human side of your business. That’s not just true when you’re targeting faculty, of course. It’s an excellent rule of thumb for nearly any kind of marketing. Customers are often more loyal to brands that show their humanity.
Few other employees on campus have the attention of students like faculty, so gaining their loyalty pays off in terms of increased campus relevance. Positive word-of-mouth from teachers drives more students into your store and fosters even stronger relations with administrators.
Face-to-face contact with faculty creates an opportunity to deepen understanding of your store and its student-focused mission. As the Duck Store advises, any conversation with a campus teacher can become a chance to promote your message to faculty.
Author readings: show off the campus store’s passion for education
When you host a faculty author reading, it demonstrates your store’s engagement with the work of scholars. A faculty appreciation night, meanwhile, shows that you value the efforts teachers put into helping students succeed.
To find out which faculty have recent or forthcoming publications, send a note to your school’s department chairs at the start of each term. Tell them you’d like to celebrate faculty publications with an event in honor of the author. You can ask them to let you know which members of the department might be interested — or to simply forward your message onto a potential candidate. A faculty reading usually attracts colleagues, so each one you host can be a great chance to get to the know a whole department while demonstrating your store’s education-focused drive.
Snapshot: Instructions for hosting a faculty author reading
- Contact department chairs and ask them to send you alerts about faculty book publications.
- Keep an ongoing list of names, titles and key dates in a regularly updated spreadsheet. The larger your campus, the more books faculty publish each term.
- Once you have a roster of titles and names, you can decide how to prioritize them. Select those that sound interesting to you or your associates, ask department chairs to let you know which publications are likely to get the most disciplinary attention or simply go in order of publishing date.
- Contact the authors directly and let them know you’d like to host a reading. Ask them to list future dates convenient to them so that you can choose one that works best for your store. Consider hosting the event in the late afternoon or early evening, depending on the typical class schedule on your campus. If you can host your event when most classes are finished for the day — but before most faculty have left campus or night classes have begun — that will likely attract the largest numbers.
- Schedule about 30 minutes for reading itself and another 30 minutes after for questions and discussion.
- Decide whether to offer food. Sometimes readings include light refreshments for attendees. However, it isn’t expected. So, you can decide how much to budget for food or whether to do so at all.
- Download and complete the attached marketing template. Post flyers all over campus, especially in the author’s department.
- Fill out the attached formal invitations and send them to members of the author’s department. You might send some to the administration, too. Campus leaders like to show support for faculty endeavors. You can send these invites through campus mail in print or via email as a PDF. We recommend starting with campus mail, then following up via email.
- Advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to target graduate students! Students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees often want to celebrate their mentors’ achievements.
- If the author is reading from a work that may have appeal outside his or her discipline — a work of fiction or creative nonfiction, for example — be sure to advertise to undergraduates, too. If your campus has a robust creative writing program, then it’s likely many members of the department have star power that can drive foot traffic from students, the community and beyond. Author readings at places like Iowa Writer’s Workshop, for example, can attract attendees from all over the world.
- Stock extra copies of the author’s books if they are trade publications. If they are scholarly works, ask the author to bring spare copies. This will allow attendees to purchase them after the reading and request the author’s signature.
On the night of the event, set up a podium where the author can place a book while reading. Put out a set of chairs and ask one or two associates to greet visitors as they arrive. If you’re a manager, be sure to take a few moments to speak directly to the author before and after the reading. Whenever the opportunity arises, don’t forget to mention your store’s student-centered goals to educators.
Suggested social media posts for author readings
Facebook and Instagram
Image: Attached social media graphic, picture of book cover or picture of author
Text: Join us at [Name of campus store] on [date] at [time] for a celebration of [name of author]’s [title of latest book] from [name of publisher]. [Name of author] teaches [name of subject] in [name of department]. [Name of author] has been with [name of your school] in the [name of department] for [length of time]. This is his [first, second, tenth?] publication. [[optional] [He or she] is the recipient of [name of honor, name of honor and name of honor]]. The evening will include a reading, discussion and book signing.
Image: Attached social media image, picture of book cover or picture of author
Text: Join us at [name of campus store] on [date] at [time] for a celebration of [name of author]’s [title of latest or forthcoming book].
Need a Quick Reference for Faculty Relations?
Download the complete Campus Store Faculty Communication Snapshot Guide.
Faculty Appreciation Night: How it can benefit you and your store
When the University of Oregon’s Duck Store hosts its annual faculty appreciation night, the store closes early to honor campus teachers. An event like this may require a bit more advanced set-up than an author reading, but you can expect dividends for your investment of time and energy. Chief Information Officer Alex Lyons said the annual function has long helped the Duck Store maintain strong relationships on campus.
“We close the store early and invite everyone who plays a role in adoptions — not just teachers but department administrators, key people,” she said. “And we get emails all the time, asking us when the next event will be.”
Focus on the faculty and staff who already help with adoptions
As you plan, try to focus your thoughts on the handful of teachers who are helpful, even if your store is facing challenges with late adoptions. If your store has coped with multiple late adoptions over the years, it can be easy to forget those who have helped. Psychologists call this the human negativity bias. It’s an ancient survival instinct: we notice what’s missing instead of what we already have.
Although it’s natural to focus on filling gaps or eliminating stressors, negativity bias can interfere with our motivation to create opportunities for engagement. Regardless of your primary goals for Faculty Appreciation Night, the simple act of taking time to say thank you to campus teachers will bring rewards. Research suggests the benefits of gratitude are numerous. For starters, people who develop a grateful attitude have increased healthy relationship networks, which is exactly what a campus store needs with faculty.
Even a small turnout for the event has value
Don’t worry if the turnout for your first event is small. Your adoption experience will improve because of the deepened contact with the teachers who show up. They are likely to remember your efforts and mention the experience to colleagues — especially when they see that your gratitude is genuine.
Snapshot: Instructions for hosting a faculty appreciation night
- Review your school’s term schedule to select a date. Try to find a date when both faculty and your store are less likely to be busy. Avoid dates right before and after finals. Students tend to need extra attention from faculty in the days before big tests — and faculty are usually busy grading in the weeks after.
- Plan a time that coordinates well with the typical class schedule on your campus. If you are inviting daytime and evening instructors, you might plan the event between 4:30 and 6:30 pm — after day classes typically end and before many night classes begin.
- Download the attached template and fill out the editable invitations and flyers with your selected date and time.
- If you store is located on a large campus, include a map to the function with your invitation. Some faculty may be new. This represents an opportunity to introduce them to your store.
- Request an RSVP with your invitation — preferably a contact that teachers can email or text. You won’t want to bar those who haven’t RSVP’d, of course. But the request should give you a general idea of the numbers and help you plan for refreshments.
- Post your flyers and send out the invitations — via email as a PDF or via campus mail as a printed card.
- Get it in touch with department chairs or administrators you already know and tell them what you’re planning. This will ensure some faculty take care to look for the invitation.
- Advertise the event on social media. You might want to post a separate notice for students, too, that announces the store’s early closing time for that date.
- Decorate your store with the downloadable flyers along with anything else you think might make the occasion seem special. Be sure to open your doors to non-faculty who play a role in the adoption process like department assistants, too.
There you go. Faculty appreciation need not be complicated. An early close for the store, a few snacks and some flyers are enough to demonstrate you care. Let your store’s student-focused message come from your heart, and faculty are sure to remember you fondly.