Miami contacting all undergrads to check on well-being, answer questions

President Crawford among more than 380 employees making personal calls

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications

how-are-youMore than 380 Miami University faculty and staff members have been engaged in a grassroots effort to personally call all of Miami’s (Oxford) undergraduate students.

They have spoken with or left messages for more than 13,550 students, expressing that the Miami community cares about the students’ well-being and looks forward to having everyone back on campus.

Jeff Wanko, associate provost and one of the leaders of the calling campaign, said that out of 16,239 Oxford undergraduate students, almost 83.5% have been reached so far, with more students being assigned to callers.

The Regionals and the Graduate School have contacted their students in similar campaigns, Wanko said.

When possible, students spoke with faculty or staff with whom they already have a relationship.

President Greg Crawford and Dr. Renate Crawford are among those who have been making calls to students, “to listen to them, share the many ways we can help, and thank them for their incredible flexibility to make the rapid shift to remote instruction,” Crawford said.

When contacting students, callers expressed care for the student; acknowledged the situation we are all in during Ohio’s stay-at-home orders; and expressed appreciation for the student’s adaptability.

Callers answered students' questions; referred students to appropriate resources; and forwarded students' information to others if another outreach was merited.

Students said they appreciated the extra contact.


Faculty and staff are looking forward to having students back on campus again (photo by Scott Kissell).

Among the caller’s reports:

  • All the students I spoke with had positive comments about their professors organizing remote learning and staying in touch.
  • A student who was struggling at first said Miami has been very accommodating.
  • One student said they wanted to convey that they were very happy with the university’s communication and it was much better than that of some of her friends at other universities.
  • Another student said, "My advisers were great through the whole experience. They added extra hours to work with us. For the most part, all my professors but one have been fantastic. They gave us their phone numbers and posted helpful videos."

In addition to Wanko, the calling campaign is led by Craig Bennett, senior director of the Student Success Center; Jen Benz, assistant vice president of the Center for Career Exploration and Success; and Rob Abowitz , associate director of residence life, with administrative support from Sandy Burger, administrative associate, Center for Career Exploration and Success.