August is a good time for lunch

August 3, 2009

Over the years I have made it a habit to use the month of August to have lunch with a handful of people on campus. Usually I target the directors of the Career Development, Off-Campus studies, and the Center for Public Service. Each year these lunches have yielded at least one or two really good projects including student stories, travel blogs, or web enhancements.

Lunch on campus seems to work well because it strikes the right balance between informality and a meeting. I start by asking about what might be happening in the year ahead or what programs the person is most excited about in the coming year. Then I just sit back and take good notes.

August always works well too for a number of reasons. Most people (especially those in student affairs) are back from vacation since they are preparing for the arrival of the first year class. Additionally by august most divisions and departments have completed their goal setting and planning for the year. By August the directors of these key areas have a sense for what programs and people will have an exciting and interesting story to tell.

So since August is here my advice is pick up the phone and have lunch.

Connecting social media to strategic communications

March 5, 2009

Charlie Melichar who is the VP for Communications at Colgate wrote a blog post the other day that got me thinking. He titled it Social media sustainability and starts to ask some good questions about how you sustain a really good social media program. How do you incorporate that program into an overall strategic communication plan?

For many people just getting up a Facebook page or loading some videos to YouTube might be enough. Your Vice President may not interested in social media and that’s ok because you don’t have the time or the staff for it. I would make an argument to that group that you are really missing opportunities.

But for those of us that have truly invested time, staff, resources into social media Charlie asks some really great questions. How do sustain the program past a student intern or staff members with an interest? I think there is another blog post on that topic but I am interested if people have opionions on the topic? Thoughts, comments, suggestions…

100 Miles an hour

March 4, 2009

jsI often listen to Joe Scarborough MSNBC’s Host of Morning Joe. He made a statement the other day on his show and then repeated it on “Meet the Press” this Sunday that made me think about how I approach my work in higher ed.

They were having a discussion about all of the priorities of the President and all of the different projects and proposals he is pushing through with his proposed budget. Joe made the comment that it’s really hard to stop him when he is coming at you 100 miles an hour with 12 different cars each filled with a different program or proposal.

I thought this was really interesting. I compared it to my own work where I often have lots of projects but only one or two big ones at a time. I often find myself pulling back and trying not to take on so much. Should I take another approach?

Strategically should we in higher ed be taking the Obama approach and driving 100 miles an hour with web 2.0, Facebook, Flickr, videos, news, twitter, LinkedIn, print to digital, online magazines, brand, e-communications…

Can we sustain this kind of model? Do we just take too much time to getting everyone’s buy in at a college or university?