A new communications process to better serve students yields actionable advice for faculty and staff, as well.

A team of our colleagues has been collaborating to create a more coherent communication process for our students and their families. Their work has culminated in a twice-monthly email that draws together the various messages and information that students will find valuable. The planned content is specific to the issues at hand each month, and they have mapped out the entire calendar year, leaving room in each email for messages about issues that unexpectedly arise.

The message going out in early August will focus on helping students prepare for fall semester. Organized into five thematic areas, the message provides students with information and links that will help them engage and prosper this fall. These five themes are:

1) Take care of yourself

2) Find your way, engage, and make connections

3) Get ready for classrooms and labs

4) Get involved outside the classroom

5) Connect with essential resources

Reading the draft of the student message reminded me that faculty and staff also need to prepare ourselves for fall semester by following many of the same recommendations that we are making to our students. To that end, I have found a recently published article by Liz Schondelmayer, “Dr. Angela Hall: How to Smoothly Transition from At-Home to In-Person Work,” has been very helpful.

Dr. Hall is an associate professor in MSU’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations and she offers very specific tips in making the transition back to campus as well as some advice on managing issues around the transition. If you haven’t had a chance to read the article yet, I strongly recommend it.

Over the next month, I hope that you make time for yourselves and recharge as best you can. You deserve it and our students’ success depends on our ability to help support them to learn, thrive, and graduate.

Feedback and suggestions, especially from the MSU community, welcome: email largent@msu.edu.

Mark Largent is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Michigan State University.