Campus Readiness: Communicating IT Changes to the Campus Community

Title:  Campus Readiness:  Communicating IT Changes to the Campus Community


  • Jo-Ann Cuevas, Campus Readiness Specialist, Stanford University
  • Ammy Woodbury,  Campus Readiness Specialist, Stanford University
  • Christine Jacinto, Assistant Director of IT, Humanities & Sciences, Stanford University


SLIDE:  Campus Readiness at Stanford University

  • 28K constituents
  • About 20 client-facing projects released every year
  • 2 people responsible for getting the word out to the campus


SLIDE:  When an IT Need is ID’ed…

  1. A document management solution to facilitate collaboration and manage data security
  2. PM receives approval to start the project
  3. PM creates charter
  4. PM assembles team, including campus readiness
  5. Campus readiness reviews the charter
  6. Have a meeting to review the charter (impact, audience, training, marketing, documentation, communication).  Campus readiness forecasts hours based on the discussion.


SLIDE:  Communication Plan

A living document that’s updated frequently.  Focuses on communication across phases, IDs key stakeholders and end users.  This functions as a to-do list and a kind of “shadow project plan.”  Includes a running narrative and summary.

Four main sections to the rest of the communication plan:

  1. Awareness and engagement:  who do we need who will be informed about the project?  Might include help desk, key decision-makers, governance groups, administrative assistants, power users, and so on.
  2. Training and documentation:  all the elements we need to create for ongoing needs, current employees, new employee on-boarding.  Instructional designers decide on the best approach for training, because it will vary.
  3. Reinforcement and post-implementation feedback:  what does help desk need to promote for struggling users.  We use qualtrix for survey-taking.
  4. Ok, I missed one step here – my bad.  Can’t type fast enough…


Plan Execution

Includes a ton of work:  E-mail communication, hands-on training, surveys, change training, UX testing, documentation, service promotion, e-learning dev, campus communication, instructional design, user advocacy, presentations.

We function as the user advocate and engage in a lot of geek-to-English translation.


SLIDE:  Case Studies

Case 1:  Mobile Device Management

  • Early intervention led to iteration in the development
  • UX testing led to significant improvements in usability.
  • Adoption was strong
  • When adoption plateaued, Campus Readiness held user interviews determining that further improvements were largely out of Stanford’s control.  Promotion methods were altered to address those issues and use different approaches.

The dev team embraced Campus Readiness input as they saw the impact on adoption.  Team talked a bit about some bumps in the room with AirWatch and how they mitigated some of those issues.  UX issues are considered so important now that the team can delay roll-outs to accommodate needed changes.


Case 2:  Converged Communications VoIP Rollout

Change that affects administrators; on-site training that was all-inclusive accommodated client’s busy schedules.  We started with Humanities and Math & Science departments, then went campus-wide.  Phones would be on the desk after staff went through training, ready-to-roll.

It’s definitely a good idea to reach out to your connectors, ’cause someone is always the “go-to” tech helper in a department.


Case 3:  International Travel Data Security

It’s no longer just about visas and vaccines, it’s also about data security!  You have to be conscious of where your data is going.  We have three preferences of how we want people to work (in order of preference)

  1. What would we most like you to do?
  2. What’s a good approach?
  3. What’s the minimum required?

Their shop has loaner iPads for overseas trips.  If the user MUST take their own computer, it is imaged prior to departure and is restored upon their return (and PRIOR to the computer going back on the network).


Case 4:  e-mail and calendar upgrade

At launch, the campus readiness team provides:

  • Video tutorials (what’s new and different)
  • Daily tips by e-mail
  • Front-line support
  • Demos
  • Hands-on training
  • Campus partners

Each session had a roomful of people, since implementation of such a product affects pretty much everyone.  We would also engage with key stakeholders and representatives from each area to hear what their pain points were.  We would then help these “decentralized” folks formulate their own plans for communicating changes to their teams.  This helps build community.


A “Campus Readiness Specialist” has experience with:

  • Communications/business writing
  • ID and training
  • Presentations to large and small groups
  • Help desk support
  • e-learning development
  • UX testing

Key Qualities

  • Warm, friendly and outgoing style
  • Ability to rapidly learn new systems
  • be a geek-to-English translator



Are you a part of the PMO?  No, we’re matrixed but mostly report to documentation team.

What communication mechanisms do you use…Social Media?  We do use Facebook and Twitter, we also use an IT access page as well as a space for messaging on our ticketing page.  We also use the “Stanford Report,” a daily e-mail communication managed by university communications.

Do you participate in requirements gathering phase?  Yes!  But not always…

How many people normally attend your weekly monthly meetings?  Depends, from 40 or less on weekly meetings to 81 for monthly meetings.





By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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