About a month ago, I invited 160 students to be part of my Twitter focus group. The students were selected at random within class so that I invited thirty freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors each, as well as 40 graduate students. The purpose of the group is to give me a better sense of how students experience UCF, identify the issues that are on students’ minds, and get insight into how we might improve the college. I also plan to use the group to vet some of my crazy ideas.

Last week I activated the group for the first time asking them to send me ideas for blog posts. I got about twenty responses. The suggestions were wide-ranging and thought-provoking. Some topics I could write about at length, others were likely to generate a more succinct response. Because the focus group is meant to reflect the interests of a broad set of students, I am going to respond to each of them with a blog post. Lengthy responses will get addressed on Mondays. Shorter responses will appear on TweetBack Thursdays. Not all Monday posts will come from the suggestions of my Twitter peeps, but the Thursday ones will. TweetBack Thursday lives as long as suggestions keep coming.

The first suggestion comes from @chrisjg04 who wants to hear my thoughts on what our student organizations can do improve the college as a whole.

I’m a big fan of our student organizations. They give students leadership opportunities, facilitate the transition from school to professional employment and help students network with employers. If you are a student, join them. If you are a department chair, work with them on co-curricular activities. If you are a faculty member, tout their importance in class and show up at their events.

These organizations give students an opportunity to participate in the life of the college and build a sense of community. The best thing they can do to help improve the college as a whole is to realize that they can have a huge impact on the school through coordination of their efforts. Toward this end, I would like to establish a council made up of the presidents of each of the student groups. This council would meet with me each month to discuss issues and plan events that would be of interest to all students. Another role of the council would be make me aware of the many guest speakers that are coming to campus so that we can publicize their appearances, make sure they are greeted appropriately by college administration and that they have a great experience while they are here. Lots more can be done here, I will get us all together soon to talk.

Paul Jarley, Ph.D., is the dean of the UCF College of Business Administration. He blogs every week at http://www.bus.ucf.edu/deanThis post appeared on October 4, 2012. Follow him on Twitter @pauljarley.