Communication Effectiveness in Higher Education

Working Paper #8


Steven Keith Platt, Director & Research Fellow; and Justin Greenfield, Research Associate, Platt Retail Institute.


In this PRI Research Report, the results of a study examining the use of both both traditional and new media channels by college administrators to communicate with students, faculty and staff are discussed.  PRI conducted the research in conjunction with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

The purpose of the project was to delve into the issues surrounding communication delivery on college campuses.  The study sought to address two underlying questions.  First, of the methods that are being used by universities to communicate with their students, which are effective?  Furthermore, how can emerging digital technologies be deployed to enhance the administrator-student information flow?  To answer these questions, PRI both surveyed and conducted interviews with university students and administrators.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
    1. Definition of Communication
    2. Information Types at Academic Institutions
    3. Information Delivery Channels at Academic Institutions
  3. Test Design and Models
  4. Results
    1. Students have Preferred Communication Channels
    2. Universities Continue to Use Older, Less-Effective Mass Media Delivery Channels
    3. Communication Channels Are Not Being Used Accurately
    4. Irrelevant Messages Are Crowding Out Important Communications
  5. The Emergence of Digital Signage as an Effective Communication Medium
    1. Application in Academic Settings
    2. University Feedback on Digital Signage
    3. Student Response to Digital Signage
  6. Conclusion