Adapted from Commuter Affairs and Community Service, University of Maryland College Park
As each of our departments works to support the achievement of our commuter student population, we’ll hope to share resources for professional development about this student population. The National Clearinghouse for Commuter Programs (NCCP), located at Western Illinois University, offers publications and resources for professionals interested in expanding their knowledge of commuter student needs.
This resource sheet for front line staff is a great list of basic tips that can improve your department’s ability to support commuters!
- Take care to avoid shuffling students from office to office. Call ahead to be sure you are sending students to the right location and that the person they need to see is available. Offer to write down the name, address, and telephone number of the referral for the student.
- Provide full service during all hours of operations, even over the lunch hour. Consider offering early morning and/or evening hours one or more days a week. Post office hours on doors, voice mail greetings, and web sites.
- Provide complete telephone numbers including area code so commuter students can make calls from off-campus and refrain from using only the campus extension.
- Use the Internet to supplement front-line services. A thoughtfully developed web site can provide good information to students when offices are closed or personal visits are not possible. However, not all commuters have immediate access to mobile technology that can access documents, so providing telephone and face-to-face services along with printed material is important.
- Accurate directions are key. Maintain a supply of campus maps.
- Be aware of options for transportation and parking and how to find information about campus parking policies. Keep current bus/shuttle schedules and parking information on hand.
- Offer services through walk-ins and scheduled appointments. Waiting may be difficult for commuter students.
- Hire commuter students to work in your office.
- Be sure that signage in your building and office is visible, accurate, and complete.
- Keep an array of current information handy, including faculty/staff and student directories, undergraduate and graduate catalogs, schedule of classes, and calendars of events, to answer students’ basic questions.