Valencia College’s unprecedented “We’re in this Together” campaign concluded Friday, May 1, 2020, with employees making an impressive 35,882 calls to students in a little more than one month.
“The campaign was an extremely effective way for us to connect with our amazing students during this challenging time,” said Joe Sarrubbo, dean of students, East Region, who, along with Amy Parker, assistant vice president, recruitment, enrollment and retention, provided day-to-day leadership to the effort.
“It gave us a unique opportunity to provide personal and intentional outreach, while demonstrating that we genuinely care for them, want them to succeed, and will provide the necessary support to make that happen,” he added.
Over the course of 37 days, a total of 279 callers from multiple departments reached out to Valencia’s students to offer guidance and encouragement in the wake of the College’s decision to move most of its classes online after Spring Break, when it became clear the coronavirus was spreading in the United States. An additional 19 captains assisted as well.
The effort was conceptualized, developed and implemented by Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development Amy Bosley and Vice President of Academic Affairs Isis Artze-Vega as a way to provide a human and personal connection to students. Its goal was also to reaffirm key College messages, share resources, particularly those developed to connect students to someone who can help them, if necessary, and to encourage students to maintain academic continuity.
Callers logged a total of 75,456 minutes on the phone, urged students to check their Atlas email for updates and provided details ranging from how to access tutors to sharing a new Keep Learning webpage — designed to provide helpful resources for online learning. They also alerted students on opportunities to decide whether to remain in a course or not.
Overall, student response to the campaign was overwhelmingly positive.
“I appreciated that someone called to follow up and make sure that I was transitioning without any issues, and I also appreciated the resources that were offered to make online classes easier,” said one student in a survey conducted shortly after the campaign concluded.
Another student wrote, “I got a call from someone at Valencia saying that if I needed any help that they would do their best to help me. It wasn’t an automated call, it was an actual person which was nice to hear. That just reassured me that Valencia cares and just wants us to succeed.”
Staff engaged in the campaign expressed similar views.
Darla Brown, staff assistant II, said she found the experience rewarding and comforting. “[It was] rewarding because of the appreciation the students expressed that Valencia was taking the time to check in with them to see how they were doing and help answer any questions they might have, and somewhat comforting, because I had the opportunity to let students know they weren’t in our situation alone, meaning that I wasn’t in it alone either.”
College President Sandy Shugart sent each of the employees who made calls a Call Campaign Hero congratulatory badge in the Valencia EDGE to thank them for their effort.
Additionally, thank you gifts were sent to key leaders, and senior leaders made personal phone calls to top callers — or those who made between 100 and 999 calls. Callers who made more than 1,000 calls received a personal call from Dr. Shugart.
- 1,812 calls – Betty Blackburn, testing center specialist, Testing Center, East Campus
- 1,322 calls – Shirley Pereira, staff assistant II, Advising Center, East Campus
- 1,202 calls – Darla Brown, staff assistant II, Print and Design, East Campus
- 1,146 calls – Whitly Charles Hamilton, graphics processing specialist, Print and Design, East Campus
- 1,062 calls – Solange Fernandez Del Pino, executive assistant, Policy and General Counsel, District Office