Is 'family' too lofty a term for presidents referring to campus communities?
- College presidents nationwide, particularly in crisis communications, tend to refer to campus communities as "family."
- Communications experts say the "family" reference is a tactic that helps to foster connectivity and support from a broad range of stakeholders who may have varying opinions on an incident or moment of turmoil for a campus.
- Smaller, residential communities tend to have an easier time resonating with familial terminology than larger campuses with thousands of students and faculty members.
Some college missions can easily create a sense of family among many stakeholders. Jesuit, historically black and other minority-serving institutions use the shared experiences of faculty and students among religious or cultural foundations to create a sense of shared community around common ideas, especially in times of scrutiny or crisis.
For campuses outside of these specialized missions, focus on compassion and understanding audiences on and beyond campus are critical. Calling the community a family may be a reach for some, but learning and speaking directly to student, faculty and alumni concerns are a priority in messaging and mitigating crisis scenarios.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Why do so many college presidents call their campuses a 'family?'