In 2018, almost 300 Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) reports were submitted to the PRME Secretariat. I recently finished going through all of them and it is always interesting to see the different activities that signatories are embarking in, in particular around the SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDGs). Even more interesting, in some respects, are the different approaches schools take in communicating these initiatives. At the end of the day it isn’t just about what you do, but how you communicate what you do and by doing this, engage others. Here are a few tips, including some tips from signatories, that may help with your next SIP.
- Write a report you would want to read: I know this might sound strange, but write a report that you would actually want to read. Prepare a report that you could give to someone who isn’t within your team and they would understand what was happening.
- Share more. You don’t necessarily have to include absolutely everything in your report, but where you can, and where relevant, share a bit more about how you did it. What was the process or thinking behind your initiatives? Was there a team involved? What steps did you take? Did you learn any lessons?
- Be careful about using too many key words. Some of the reports look and sound exactly the same. Beware of vague statements full of key words. Your report is about what makes you different than the 10 other schools in your city, for example. What are you doing and what is your contribution? Does your report represent you?
- Tell more stories. Lists of research projects or courses and initiatives say very little about what you are doing, or even how much you are doing. Bring some of these lists to life by focusing in on a selection of projects and initiatives and sharing stories about the people involved, lessons learnt, challenges, impact, next steps or even failures.
- Discuss impact. Even if you can’t show impact at least acknowledge or discuss it. If you don’t have space in the report, provide links to documents, websites or individuals who can provide more insights.
- Beware of logos. A growing number of reports are placing the SDGs logos next to individual initiatives featured in their SIP. However, the vast majority of these same reports don’t actually include an explanation or introduction of the SDGs anywhere in the report. Use the logos to strengthen the messages in your text rather than as a box ticking exercise.
- Make connections: Discuss the connections between your initiatives, for example how a partnership or a research project connected with the SDGs is also used to engage students in the classroom. Also make connections across reports, reporting on what came before, and what is planned next. If you include your own goals and targets give an update on progress made.
And a few more tips from Signatories…
“1. Do not do a SIP (as integrated report or as a simpler version) simply because PRME requires it. Do it to help advance your own work.
- The report provides a snapshot of all your actions. Reporting will help you to bring these different initiatives together, as they can often appear highly fragmented. This will highlight the successes of your teams and also allow you to see gaps and weaknesses that need to be worked on.
- The more you produce the same kind of report as companies, the more you increase your credibility to build partnerships with companies.
- Given the changes in accreditation criteria, such reports makes it easier during peer review by having required you to collect the info from year to year.” Jean-Christophe Carteron, KEDGE Business School (Click here for more)
“Try to be comprehensive in regards to reporting on the Six Principles, rather than minimalistic – recognising the needs for development is more important than reporting only on success, in the long-run. Try to create synergies with other activities with regards of the collection of data. Keep track of your institution’s PRME-related activities throughout the year, instead of working backwards. Begin writing the report three months prior to your original plan – it always takes longer than you expect.” Nikodemus Solitander and Martin Fougere, Hanken School of Economics (Click here for more)
“Say less, and show more. A lot of the reports I looked at have long, indeed overwhelming lists, and it is hard to determine which practices hit the spot of their core constituencies. I was often lost among strong statements of plans and rarely found that glimmer of hope and possibility that most expect to take away from a class well taught, or a day well-spent doing something worthwhile. Some of the reports included picture-perfect shots of facilities, but the ones that I wanted to learn more about were the ones that capture leadership in the making, those moments where you could just tell something special and memorable had taken place. Those are the ones I keep searching for—because those are the one that will add value at Ivey.” Oana Branzei, Ivey Business School (Click here for more)
For more guidance read A Basic Guide to the Sharing Information on Progress (available in English and Spanish).