Troy University gets bilingual to help students

Posted: Tuesday, 18 September 2007

TROY – Visit the Troy Campus, home to more than 750 international students, and you’ll see signs more commonly seen in downtown Beijing or San Francisco’s Chinatown. They’re written in Mandarin Chinese

The signs, paired with English-language signs, tout the same message: help for students on the University’s computer system.

The signs were the brainchild of Chief Technology Officer Greg Price.

“Fundamentally, the signs were to promote information technology services,” he said. “In the process, we have discovered that our international students view the signs as welcoming tools and an appreciation of them being at TROY.”

The signs simply direct students with IT-related questions to phone the University’s “Help Desk” or visit its website for self-help tools, but the decision to have signs produced in Mandarin Chinese was the result of reviewing actual call logs into the help desk.

“A significant percentage of calls were from the international community, of which the Chinese are the largest representatives,” Price said. “Statistically, we have great success with our self-help tools that are located in the IT website and we decided to promote the tools to a large segment of the campus population, in their native language. We hoped the signs would serve, during the first few days of class, as a transition tool for the students.”

Troy University currently has 292 students from the Peoples Republic of China, both traditional exchange students and in the University’s Sino-American Dual Degree Program, or 1-2-1, where students begin at a home institution in China, transfer to TROY for two years and then return to their home institution to complete their degrees. When completed, the 1-2-1 students receive both a degree from their home institution and one from Troy University.