The Art of Convincing Administration for More Support Staff

Adventist University of Health Sciences
Center for Educational Technology (CET)

Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” ~Zig Ziglar

There are two focuses: conscious focus (support) and unconscious outcome (budget). It is important to focus on what you are doing well. At budget meetings, present short term and long term goals, and show your administration the “red cars.” (Laura Goodrich, Seeing Red Cars) In other words, have an intentional focus and stay on course towards an intentional goal.

Merit Awards – Over the past two years, 100% CET Staff Received Merit Awards – Are there opportunities like this at your institution?

Create Needs/Opportunities

“You know how to create needs that we can’t refuse…” ~University Chancellor

Provide excellence in everything that you do, like the Ritz Carlton.

MBWA – Management By Walking Around – Make yourself very visible.

Ask a faculty member what they need to do their job better. The chances that you will hear, “I need X, Y, and Z,” are minimal. You will more likely get, “I don’t need X, Y, or Z.” It is more helpful to ask faculty what the do in the class, what technologies are they using and how would they like to be using them better. This opens up the opportunity for you to help them find a new technology tool that might help them with their needs. Take all of these faculty needs, and then go to the administration.

“How much do you need?” ~University CFO

This is a hard question to answer, and whether it is asked directly or indirectly, we probably all hear it. Align your goals with the goals of the Administration. A tight alignment will help you be able to inadvertently ask for budget for your services/area.

“What do you see down the road?” ~University President

Try to project project staff hiring, one method is to be active and go back two to three years from when you will need that staff. In 2014, two new Masters Degree programs would be offered, following the development of the campus program, the programs would be offered online. The CET team attempted to project what that would look like in 2014, and then begin to work towards advocating for more people. As a result, one staff member was just approved to start working two days ago, and another position will become available to the CET in the 2014 budget.

“We need to clone your staff!” ~Faculty

Over support cheerfully – exceed expectations. The CET has created faculty showcases where they ask various departments and users how they use technology, and they invite these users into the faculty showcase for 15-20 minute presentations. Each presentation (every third week on a Monday) has at least on administrator present. This allows faculty to get up and say how they are using technology, that they are enjoying it, and how it is allowing them to be successful, and their students to succeed. There are always some best practices that can be shared between departments with varying teaching methods.

Dr. Lim asks his team how their workload is every week. He tries to help them shift their work to ensure that each person is working on what they are most passionate about or more interested in, and as a result, they are more productive. There is also creative time encouraged for all of the CET support staff. (Their staff is small, only four people.) These little things help the support staff be cheerful even in those tough situations where they have to visit the same users time and time again.

“We like $0 contracts!” ~University President

Maximize the use of your resources. It is important to be a good steward and both use the technology you have and abandon those technologies that you are no longer using.

10 Tips for Working with Administration

  1. Don’t talk about money
  2. Don’t whine about work load
  3. Don’t appear to be too busy
  4. DOn’t threaten to cut services
  5. Don’t threaten to leave
  6. Talk about their needs
  7. Strive to make their work easier
  8. Manage the perception of stewardship
  9. Resolve faculty issues before they get to the Admin
  10. Provide expert opinions and let them decide

About Meegan
Meegan has over fifteen years experience working in higher education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Western Michigan University and a Master of Education with an emphasis on Instructional Technology from American InterContinental University Online. She is currently the Instructional Technologist/Designer at Grand Rapids Community College where her main focus is helping faculty to develop and deliver quality online and hybrid courses.

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