New format for town hall meetings emphasizes viewing via Web

February 20, 2009 | UToday
By Tobin J. Klinger

When the next town hall meeting gets under way, organizers are hoping there will be fewer people in the room, but far more participating and watching from their desks.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 11 a.m., the meeting will debut in a new format, broadcast from Field House Room 1050 via the Web.

“One thing that we have come to realize over the course of the years we have conducted town hall meetings is that it is often difficult to drive attendance,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “However, we believe there is an ever-growing group that is viewing the meetings via our Web site. This new format recognizes that reality and is designed to significantly enhance the viewing experience.”

President Lloyd Jacobs or a member of the senior leadership team will host each meeting in front of a studio audience consisting of institutional leaders and members of the campus community who desire to participate in person.

“We have a limited number of seats available for those wishing to bring topics to the fore in person, as well as those who are likely to be needed to respond to questions. We are still encouraging people to participate in person, but we recognize that it’s a lot to ask people to stop working and spend an hour away from their desks,” Burns said.

Questions can be submitted in advance or during the meeting to or by calling 419.530.2675.

“Our set will include a computer with e-mail access so that anyone watching via the Web can submit a question even as the meeting takes place. Not unlike the in-person format, the president or others will be able to respond to questions in real-time, without the need for students, faculty and staff to take the time out of their day to physically travel to the meeting,” Burns said.

The meeting can be viewed at It will be available for viewing a short time after at

For more information, contact the University Communications Office at 419.530.2675.

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