DC Cares brings music to our ears


Tawni Shepperdson, executive assistant, Communications and Marketing for DC, reviews submitted feedback.
Tawni Shepperdson, executive assistant, Communications and Marketing for DC, reviews submitted feedback.

Durham College added a new piano in the pit and more study spaces, thanks to a program called DC Cares.

DC Cares is a way students and the community can submit feedback, inquiries and questions to the college, either by e-mail, online or by the feedback cards around campus.

According to Carol Beam, the executive director of communications and marketing for DC, some of the feedback was about the lack and availability of the study spaces on campus.

“There were available computer labs and study spaces that were underutilized,” Beam said. “There was little communication in regards to availability to the rooms.”

In response, a new study space web page was created to better communicate to students where the spaces are located and the availability of the rooms.

Along with the study spaces, a new piano can be heard in the pit.

The new piano was up and ready after Labour Day, according to Tawni Shepperdson, executive assistant of communications and marketing for DC, who is in charge of the piano to make sure it operates properly.

“It was over the Labour Day weekend that it was brought out into the pit, so it was there for everyone returning to school,” Shepperdson said.

A new piano was added because, students submitted feedback that the piano needed to be tuned.

“I had the piano tuner come in,” Shepperdson said, “he said this piano has sort of reached its life expectancy.”

The old piano will be turned into a gaming station, based on a student suggestion, according to Beam.

“We got some really great responses, like an aquarium,” Beam said.

Shepperdson handles all the inquiries received and said the DC Cares system started in January 2013, while the feedback procedure started in the fall of 2012.

160 submissions are responded to each month, she said.

She said about 65 per cent of submissions are from e-mail, 20 per cent are from the website, and 15 per cent are by cards.

“We get positive feedback,” Shepperdson said. “People feel welcomed and or enjoyed orientation events.”

But, some negative inquiries are received.

“We may get something that says that some lines are too long,” Shepperdson said.

Throughout the year, Shepperdson said some of the main questions are from international students about how to apply to the school, what programs are offered and what the requirements are to be eligible for a program.

In January and February, she said the main inquiries are about how to apply to the college and in August the main questions are about starting school.

“August is usually about orientation, where do I go?” Shepperdson said.

All feedback received is put on a tracking report (a report which summarizes how many inquiries there were, and how many hits the website receives).

According to Shepperdson, the report is shared with the Durham College Leadership Team.

“That way they can look at the top items of concern and see if it is something they can address and improve upon,” Shepperdson said.

According to Shepperdson, if it is something that cannot be addressed at the current time and there are many inquiries about it, the college would communicate to the correct audience.

She said if only a few people ask about something and it cannot be addressed at this time, a follow-up is made to the individual(s) to tell them the why the change will not be made.

Shepperdson adds all feedback should be responded to within 24 hours on a business day and within three business days when the cards are collected on Friday.

She includes it rarely happens that it takes longer than 24 hours to respond.

“We do take our feedback seriously,” Shepperdson said.