The Ichabod Shop at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, has found a way to make faculty aware of the deadline for course material adoptions, open the door for more conversations and be the “person” departments want to hear from daily.
Using "memes," humorous images edited and shared across the internet, Ichabod Shop Course Materials Director Nikki Daniels has been able to communicate the need for timely adoptions, flex her creative muscle and have stores connect with her to learn more about how they can ensure students have the materials they need. Her inspiration, she says, came from the 2017 Oscar Awards envelope flub.
“It all started with the Oscars,” she said. “From there I have been sending out memes every day. The response has been great.”
Initially, Daniels thought the daily email communications would be a way to introduce her and the store team to faculty, but the success of the daily emails has opened the door to faculty calling her.
“It’s been working well,” she said. “I get a lot of responses from people about the memes, so I know they see it. I have also received questions from faculty about how they can copy their adoptions from one term to the next, so we have a conversation.”
Knowing how much faculty have on their plate, Daniels thought this would be a way to not only have fun but also give faculty something to look forward to each day.
“I have called some faculty, and they would say, ‘we were wondering if you were going to send one today,’” she said.
For the past month, the Ichabod Store has sent memes to the faculty which includes comic book characters, celebrities, skits from Saturday Night Live and more.
“We have a whole folder of memes we don’t send,” Daniels said. “We have spent a ton of time having fun with this.”
The response on campus has extended beyond faculty as others in the administration have connected with Daniels encouraging her to keep the images coming, creating more responsibility for the store team. Her employees come to her with ideas, Daniels finds inspiration at random times and her office admin takes the images and creates the meme.
“We weren’t sure it was going to work,” she said. “We just decided to go for it.”
For other bookstores, Daniels suggests taking the same angle of approach when trying to engage faculty.
“If you’re not sure something is going to work, or whether or not you should try something new, just go for it,” she said. “Really, what do you have to lose?”