Virtual Town Hall Meeting Opens New Paths For Communication

President Tom Courtway held UCA’s first virtual town hall meeting on Oct. 28.

Courtway and UCA VP for Communications, Public Relations and Marketing Christina Madsen appeared on a live stream broadcast to answer questions from students, alumni and community members.

Students submitted questions on Twitter by tagging their tweets with #AskPresCourtway. Questions could also be submitted through a link on UCA’s website.

Courtway began the broadcast by speaking about recent developments on campus, such as the construction of Donaghey Hall, the expansion of the Lewis Science Center and the opening of Greek Village.

Common question topics included parking, campus safety and Donaghey Hall.

Some students used the virtual town hall as an opportunity to ask humorous questions. Ja’mie Boelkens asked if Courtway was taking applications for tenants in the president’s residence, while senior Jared Holt asked “Boxers or briefs?”

More serious questions came from Millie Bird and senior Joe Love.

Bird asked, “Are you happy with the way that the UCAPD handled the threats on campus last month?”

Courtway said he was.

“I think they understood what it was,” he said. “They investigated it and worked very diligently not only themselves, but with other law enforcement agencies and federal agencies and made an arrest and did everything they could to make sure that the campus was notified, that we all were aware of what had gone on, and acted accordingly.”

Love asked about improvements to academic buildings and dorms such as State Hall, Arkansas Hall, Burdick and Snow Fine Arts.

Courtway answered by speaking about previous campus improvements. He also spoke about the challenges of restoring older buildings on campus, especially buildings built in the 1960s and earlier.

Austin Grissom wrote in to ask Courtway about problems with campus Wi-Fi. He said he was satisfied with Courtway’s answer.

“Up until then, the only answers to the Wi-Fi issues I had been hearing were ‘don’t have routers’ and ‘turn off wireless printers,’” he said. “President Courtway actually gave us some insight that the school is aware and working on the issue.”

Grissom said he thought the virtual town hall was a good way to address student questions.

“I wanted to participate because I think it’s important for the administration to hear from the students directly,” he said. “This virtual town hall was a good opportunity to get students directly involved and still accommodate a busy schedule – we could tweet in a question at our convenience instead of having a meeting or going to a full town hall.”

A representative from the president’s office said that the virtual town hall was the first of its kind and is comparable to UCA’s monthly Campus Talks. During those talks, Courtway and SGA officials speak face-to-face with students, faculty and staff about campus happenings. As with the virtual town hall, Courtway answers questions submitted online and from the audience.

Time has passed to tweet questions for the virtual town hall live stream, but students and faculty can still ask Courtway for answers by going here and by attending the next Campus Talk on Nov. 17.

This article appeared in the Nov. 4, 2015 print edition of The Echo.

image via Twitter

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