It may be awhile before Valencia Community College’s Facebook page has a following like that of Texas A&M, the largest among universities with 169,857 people. But as everyone knows communication has moved into Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Valencia has joined the stream in a big way. More than 16 official Facebook pages have recently launched, encouraging students and faculty to interact by interest areas such as academic majors or the college’s main Facebook page facebook.com/myvalencia.
Valencia has more than 60,000 students among five locations and will soon add a sixth near Lake Nona. With annual enrollment growing at approximately 10 percent, communication is an increasing challenge. Student Affairs provides an Answer Center on each campus and sends frequent e-mails and notices through the college’s Intranet portal, called Atlas, to keep students informed about key dates and information they must know.
Valencia professors have adopted Facebook, Twitter and other social media as a natural extension of communication with students. Research shows that engagement with professors is a strong indicator of success in college—especially during the first year. Lisa Macon, President of the College-wide Faculty Association and Chair of the Faculty Council, is very active in social media.
Dr. Macon maintains four Facebook pages, including a new one where she posts tips on current topics in information technology, a subject she teaches at Valencia. “Providing students with an open forum for asking questions will allow for a quicker response time by just the right person at Valencia, without the student’s email being forwarded through various offices,” she said. “We know that students prefer to learn about upcoming activities and events on campus via social media.”
Facebook was created by a Harvard University student in 2004 as a way to communicate with fellow students. Today it has more than 400 million daily users across the globe.
That’s the power of social media to build community right on a desktop. Some of Valencia’s Facebook pages include: