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Staff Check In with Undergraduates with Calling Campaign

May 4, 2021
5 min Read

A simple phone call can be a powerful thing during a pandemic.  

During this uncertain time, Creighton University staff members are working to connect with students spread across the globe through a Student Success Calling Initiative. A team of about 20 callers is reaching out to all of the University’s undergraduate students, looking to answer questions and connect students with helpful campus services. Callers include members of Student Life, the Creighton EDGE, and the Career Center.

Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, has also personally called about 300 students since the University transitioned to online classes.

“Just knowing that this has been such a stressful, tumultuous time in the lives of our students and their families, we want to make sure that they’re still feeling that sense of Creighton connectedness,” says Wayne Young Jr., PhD, associate vice provost for Student Retention.

The Student Success Calling Initiative, which began in early April, has been a collaborative effort involving Student Life, Creighton EDGE, the interim Director of Retention, and the Division of Information Technology.  Young noted that the early work and coordination by the enrollment management team led by Mary Chase, EdD, vice provost for Enrollment Management helped pave the way for this effort.

As of May 4, callers have contacted more than 3,000 students, including all freshmen,  sophomores and juniors. The plan is to continue the initiative through July. Young also plans to partner with University Relations to make calls to parents and families of all undergraduate students.

The idea is to be a point of contact to address any concerns students might have as they navigate the uncertainties of life during the pandemic. If students don’t pick up on an initial call, callers will leave voicemails, try again later or reach out via email, Young says.

The first question is always, “How are you doing?” The goal is to spark a conversation, and callers are advised to ask-open ended questions to seek out what’s weighing on the student’s mind. 

“We’ve been helping out with several needs students have, such as, ‘Can you connect me to counseling?’ ‘How do I get my rented books back to the book store?’ ‘How can I connect with tutoring?’ ‘When are we going to be back in the fall?’” Young says. “It’s a way for us to not only check on the students—like a family does—but also to intervene and direct their needs and questions to the appropriate offices.”

Young says the Student Health Education and Compliance Office in the Division of Student Life has also been reaching out to students who report having symptoms of COVID-19 via the screening tool on Creighton’s COVID-19 website. These students, along with some who have tested positive for the virus, are connected with registered nurses who provide medical advice and assistance.

“This is Creighton at its finest,” Young says. “This is cura personalis embodied in our callers reaching out to our students and bringing Creighton to them.”