The process began nearly two months ago. Professor Kristen Costello created teams of students within her Marketing class (BUS 121) and gave them projects. Their job was to examine assigned areas of the college and create marketing plans for them. There were a dozen areas of focus including Advising, Career Services, the Learning Center and the Honors College. “As soon as we got the assignment we emailed Jackie Barstow of the Honors College,” said Mary Troyanovich (West Genesee HS). “We met with her and researched the topic on the website before we started working on our presentation.”
Professor Costello required that each team’s marketing plan consist of a 10 to 12 page paper and a 10 to 15 minute presentation. “When we first got this project I was scared out of my mind,” said Troyanovich. “Professor told us if we did the project right we would struggle to fit everything into 15 minutes and she was right.”
The presentations were given during the final days of the semester. Each began with students introducing themselves and their topics before diving into a detailed SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It specifies the objectives and identifies factors which will be favorable and unfavorable to achieving those objectives. Student teams also made suggestions on how their area of focus could be improved.
When they completed their presentations, audience members gave feedback. Those in attendance included members of the areas which had been analyzed, other College employees and on the morning of December 20, OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill and Provost Dr. Daria Willis. “I’d done public speaking plenty of times but never with such high-ranking people,” said Anthony Wheaton (East Syracuse Minoa HS) whose team analyzed Advising.
Professor Costello always saved her remarks for last. Her feedback and that of her colleagues touched on everything from the content to the techniques used during the presentations. “The evaluations were fantastic,” said Goran Lucic (Westhill HS) who was part of a team which analyzed the Learning Center. “It helped us learn what we need to improve on.”
The process was a learning experience for Professor Costello as well. “The students worked really hard all semester, meeting with OCC staff to understand the needs of the department or service area they’d been assigned. I was so pleased with how well they did coming up with creative ideas that will help us help future students. They learned a lot—and we learned from them, too!”