External Communications Committee (ECC) Report to the 2016 AGM
Terms of Reference
Objectives and composition approved by FCDSA Council June 12, 2012
To consider the structure and functionality of a website for the Council of the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations (FCDSA) in order to connect and advocate for Canadian dental students, offering news and sharing best practices.
- Create FCDSA website.
- Consider structure and functionality.
- Ensure that all students have access/share experiences.
The Committee will be determined by the Council.
The Committee will hold a meeting bi-monthly via teleconference. Additional electronic meetings or conference calls may be held to be determined in consultation with the Chair and staff support.
The Committee will report to the FCDSA Council following its yearly meeting and as required.
Staff support is available through the FCDSA Secretariat.
Membership: Kelsey Eatmon (Dalhousie ‘18) – Chair, Goli Sammak (Saskatchewan '18), Ivy Fangyu Lin, Monique Bouchard (Secretariat) - staff support
After the launch of the website at the 2015 AGM, the goals of the ECC shifted toward increasing the visibility of the FCDSA among dental students as well as increasing the visibility of the new FCDSA website. Since its launch, the ECC has been working to continue developing the content of the website in addition to trying to involve dental schools in the process of development as much as possible.
The ECC has been busy this year trying to incorporate more information and photos from each school’s society for the purpose of increasing the inclusivity of the website as well as to continue developing the content. The ECC sought out pictures and information from each of the schools, all of which were incorporated into the website.
The ECC also created posters for each of the FCDSA council representatives and circulated them to the schools to increase visibility of the FCDSA within each individual school.
The ECC incorporated the logo into the website and also developed a website survey in both English and French that will be circulated once further updates and development of the website are complete. Before circulating the survey, the ECC would like to have an introductory video with the current FCDSA president welcoming Canadian dental students to the FCDSA. This video will not only be a great addition to our homepage, but it will be a valuable tool for Council members to use for the introduction of the FCDSA to their respective schools. Content of the video has been determined and once the 2016-2017 FCDSA president is elected, the ECC will record the video at the AGM. The ECC would also like to replace stock photos with photos of Canadian dental students on the website prior to the survey circulation, however it has proven to be difficult to collect these photos from dental schools. Photos will be taken at the AGM to be used for incorporation into the website.
The ECC determined the areas of the website needing development, which included the issues and leadership pages. The Leadership section was further developed by adding content featuring student leaders. The new Student Leaders in Action page includes several submissions written by dental students at various schools about dentistry students taking leadership roles in their communities. We would love to continue accepting submissions in both English and French to continue posting up to date accomplishments and happenings at each of the universities. The new Student Leader Profiles page was also added to the leadership tab to incorporate the Council member profiles collected by the Internal Communications Committee.
The issues section has been discussed in detail and the ECC has determined that issues to be incorporated into the website will be debt management, achieving and maintaining mental and physical health among dental students and the business of dentistry. Recently, the section featured a series of interviews produced by CDA Oasis discussions which examine what the dentistry profession will look like in the future. The ECC will need to continue to seek out resources for the development of this type of content so that accurate and current information is current is provided as an excellent resource for dentistry students.
Material published on the FCDSA website can now be featured on Facebook postings which will help increase the size of the website audience.
The ECC activities have centered on meeting its mandate to connect and advocate for Canadian dental students, offering news and sharing best practices. The Committee made great strides in developing original material for the website and finding ways to get the FCDSA logo and name better known. Whether content is developed internally or in partnership with other organizations, the focus will remain providing news, information and resources that are most helpful to dentistry students.
While views on the actual website stayed fairly constant throughout the year, the website recently began to get more views with the addition of the “Student Leaders in Action” and the “Student Leader Profiles” pages in April, jumping to 971 page views and an audience size of 319, our largest audience size and number of page views to date. The rest of the website data can be found in the Appendix.
While the website is still not translated into French, the ECC has sought out a quote for translation services for the main components of the website and has written a request for donations to be given to the Finance Committee to make the translation possible.
Summary and Reflection
We have been shown this year that opening up the website development and content creation to schools has a great impact on increasing the number of people who visit our website. Continuing to involve dental students in the creation process is vital to increasing our visibility and also shows students that we value their input and ideas as an organization. The addition of profiles and leadership stories has also lead to the sharing of the FCDSA website on social media, another way in which our views were increased. Inclusivity is vital to the continued building of an even more successful website.
Developing the website content and the process of adding this content to the website is a time consuming process. As of right now, the Secretariat is the only person trained to edit the website itself. It may be beneficial in the coming years to train the ECC or several members of the ECC to use Squarespace to alleviate some of the work of the Secretariat.
Translation of the website is a large priority and the FCDSA needs to actively seek out funding for translation in order for the website to be available and friendly to all of our members.
The ECC’s goals in the future are to translate all of the website content to French, to continue the development of the pages that are lacking content and to continue to increase the visibility of the FCDSA in all of the Canadian dental schools through the website and Facebook page.
While there continues to be a significant amount of work to do in regard to the development of the website, a lot of progress has been made and the ECC looks forward to feedback, suggestions and new ideas regarding the website!
The ECC would like to thank the FCDSA Secretariat for her incredible insight and hard work!
- To work with the Finance Committee to secure funding for translation of the website
- To record a video with FCDSA president to be posted on the website at the AGM
- To take professional photos of students at the AGM and replace the website stock photos with them.
- Once steps 1-3 are completed and incorporated into the website, send out the website survey to all Canadian dental students for feedback.
- To continue to seek out content from dental students across Canada and establish more ways to incorporate students into the formation of the website.
- To train members of the ECC to edit and add information to the website.
- To continue to develop content of the FCDSA website, especially the Issues page.
- To review student survey results and incorporate the feedback into the website.
There are no proposed resolutions to be brought forward to Council.
June 1, 2016
Kelsey Eatmon (Dalhousie ’18)
Chair, External Communications Committee