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Public Relations

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Got Issues?
CURRENTS Article Fasten your seatbelts, communicators. It's going to be another bumpy year (or five or 10). Student activism, campus protests, racist incidents, sexual assault, student misconduct, free speech, academic freedom, and data breaches are just a few of the issues that have made the past few years on college campuses challenging and sometimes exhausting. Add heightened tensions fueled by political polarization, stir in a campus population dominated by students accustomed to sharing their thoughts and experiences on social media, and it becomes clear why issues management is an increasingly critical role at higher education institutions.

The 4 Skills Every Communications Pro Needs
Advancement Weekly Article What's the best strategy to promote innovation and stay on track with existing goals? Get back to the basics, writes one expert.

Pick Up the Phone After Making a Mistake
Advancement Weekly Article Everyone has a story to share about a mistake made in the past. The story is only worth telling, however, if you can show you learned something from that glaring error, writes one leadership expert.

The Positive Influence of Negative Online Feedback
Advancement Weekly Article While some people contend that any publicity is good publicity, most organizations don't know how to deal with negative feedback, writes one workplace expert.

Public Relations Efforts Top Source for Education Journalists
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent report reveals that education journalists have high confidence in the impact of their work and that communications staff at educational institutions play a large role in their reporting.

Angry Students, Alarmed Alumni
CURRENTS Article More than 80 colleges and universities have experienced student protests in recent years. Underrepresented students have publicly called on their institutions to address the often toxic environments they face as minorities. These efforts range from the viral 2013 #BBUM hashtag campaign—Being Black at the University of Michigan, a social media tactic marginalized students adopted worldwide—to dozens of protests in 2015-16. The demonstrations have undermined advancement efforts, with alumni and donors questioning whether students have taken over. The protests are also forcing institutions to scrutinize their campus and address overt, subtle, and systemic racism. Here's how some institutions are navigating the protests.

Talking about Failure to Find Success
Advancement Weekly Article A recent movement in which nonprofits are transparent about their failures can actually be unproductive or even harmful, suggests one organizational learning expert.

The Mane Event
CURRENTS Article In July 2015, the host of the late-night television show Jimmy Kimmel Live! ranted to viewers about the death of Cecil, a beloved lion shot in Zimbabwe by an American hunter. The comedian shared the website for the University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), which had tracked Cecil, and encouraged viewers to give. In 10 days, WildCRU received £547,147 from nearly 13,000 donors. Here are some of the successes and challenges WildCRU faced.

A Checklist for Change
CURRENTS Article With campus CEO transitions on the rise, communications and marketing professionals need to be ready to drive the process.

How to Spotlight Faculty Experts and Score Home Runs with the Media
CURRENTS Article Many journalists need what we've got: Experts on a variety of topics who can provide insights and perspectives that enhance their stories and inform their readers. The trick is cutting through the clutter that's competing for media attention. Topic, timing, relationships with reporters, and name recognition help determine whether your pitch is successful, but none guarantee it. No matter the size of your communications operation, you can get your institution's faculty experts quoted in the news more often.

Office Space: The Press Release Is Dead
CURRENTS Article Should we be doing press releases? Most of the time, the answer is no.

By the Numbers: Merry Music Marathon
CURRENTS Article For a week in December, student volunteers at a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign residence hall sing carols to callers.

Big Question
CURRENTS Article Advancement professionals talk about how they describe their job.

From Campus to Congress
CURRENTS Article No matter the result on Election Day this November, a member of Randolph-Macon College's faculty will soon represent Virginia's 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

President’s Perspective: What We Do and Why We Do It
CURRENTS Article CASE's president writes about how advancement officers can explain their profession to family and friends and how to encourage others, especially those from diverse backgrounds, to enter the field.

Making the Corporate Connection
CURRENTS Article Campuses are finding increasingly acceptable and creative ways to use corporate sponsorships to bolster their budgets. Campus communications officers usually play key roles in these partnerships. The article presents examples of sponsorship arrangements at the University of Saskatchewan, DePaul University, Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, Marian College, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, American University, the University of Connecticut Health Center, and Ferrum College. A sidebar provides a glossary of corporate sponsorship terms.

Using Advocacy as a Positioning Strategy
Podcast Hear Teresa Flannery from American University talk about how institutions can demonstrate their relevance and value by having campus leaders or faculty members discuss hot-button issues—such as rising student debt, cost and affordability or public policy related to school safety and gun laws. Also, hear her discuss some of the risks involved when using this strategy.

Mascot Madness
CURRENTS Article Mascots can foster school spirit and energize sports teams but also can breed discord. Some schools have been challenged to replace controversial mascots while others have encountered resistance when introducing different mascot designs. Whether it's an adorable animal or a menacing vegetable, a mascot serves to keeps students, teachers, alumni, and fans engaged with the institution they love.

The Cinderella Effect
CURRENTS Article This article examines the effect a school's athletic success has on the institution's advancement efforts.

Michigan State of Mind
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the efforts of the Michigan Colleges Foundation, a collective of 14 of the state's small independent colleges and universities, to encourage students to stay in Michigan after graduation by educating them about the quality of life and employment opportunities in three of the state's largest metropolitan areas. After conducting market research and surveying college students, MCF plans a multiplatform marketing campaign geared to seniors.

Social Media Use in Public Relations Growing, but Gaps Remain
Article,  BriefCASE Article Twitter usage among communications professionals has jumped from 39 percent in 2009 to 76 percent in 2011-but their audience is still only using Twitter 39 percent of the time. That's one of the findings from "Social Media Reality Check 2.0," a study of social media and public relations released June 7.

Un nuevo inicio
CURRENTS Article Este artículo aborda el importante papel que desempeña un presidente interino en la comunicación institucional y el rol que juega el Staff dando apoyo al líder y llevando a cabo los objetivos de comunicación de la institución.

Clean Break
CURRENTS Article This article discusses the important role an interim president plays in institutional communications and the part the communications staff plays in both supporting the interim leader and furthering the strategic communication goals of the institution.

PR, Marketing Claim Ownership of Social Media
Article,  BriefCASE Article A new survey reveals that growth in the use of social media is driving a move toward integrating public relations and marketing functions but that “turf battles” between the two still exist.

Survey Finds Most U.S. Journalists Use Social Media for Story Research
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent survey of magazine, Web site and newspaper editors and reporters reveals that a large majority of working journalists now depend on social media such as blogs, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for background research in writing stories.

Advance Work: Grow and Tell
CURRENTS Article Oxford Brookes University in England launched an award-winning communications campaign in the midst of a years-long demolition and reconstruction project on campus.

AdvanceWork: Do-it-Yourself PR
CURRENTS Article Problem/Solution

AdvanceWork: Say No to Flack Attacks
CURRENTS Article Four effective alternatives to aggressive PR pitches

Advance Work: Promoting Health in Different Ways
CURRENTS Article A public relations campaign is helping people in Ohio understand the importance of the state's medical colleges and affiliated teaching hospitals.

Outlook: Putting the PR in PResident
CURRENTS Article The president of the University of Georgia makes the case for being the external relations officer in chief. He also enumerates some of the trends on the horizon for education.

Specific Media Relations Programs: University of Central Florida - Gold Medal
Best Practice The University of Central Florida needed to generate community support and convince the board of governors, which oversees the state’s 11 public universities, of the need for a medical college at UCF in Orlando. After a successful campaign in 2005 and early 2006, the board of governors voted 15-1 to establish the UCF College of Medicine.

PR's Dirty Secret
CURRENTS Article As budgets get tighter and the "accountability" word gets tossed around more freely, campus PR shops are reminded that they need to find better ways to stay relevant. And so the age-old conversation of measurement bubbles up again. In this article, the author addresses the measurement conversation and argues that what PR/media pros do is indeed measurable. He posits that if campus PR pros are to be meaningful contributors to the strategic direction of their campuses and are to demonstrate how PR done right can impact the bottom line, they need to embrace a set of metrics. Big clip books and ad values are impressive in girth, he says, but don't help make the case that what PR pros do is either measurable or strategic. He offers advice and strategies for measuring what matters and includes examples from his campus.

Coming Into Focus
CURRENTS Article What started as a news office/news bureau on many campuses evolved into a public relations office, which evolved into a communications and marketing operation. Many practitioners are now operating in an integrated environment. This article examines the factors that account for the change and is, in a sense, a conversation among practitioners about ways in which the profession has changed--some changes are subtle, some more a function of semantics, and others are fundamental. It explores whether the traditional role of campus PR officer morphed into a brand manager role, whether PR is an outdated term, whether media relations still the way to build (and manage) reputation, and more.

A More Perfect Union
CURRENTS Article Although communications and IT departments on many campuses may still be battling about who should own and maintain the Web site, it's important for the two offices to develop and maintain a good working relationship. In this article, the author--who previously worked in PR but now works in IT--offers an inside look at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County's successful PR/IT partnership and how to better manage the relationship for results that benefit the campus, such as a better Web site or better communication about technology issues.

Clarifying Complexity
CURRENTS Article To communicate to varied audiences about the complex effects of tough economic times on college and universities, public relations officers need to do four things: explain the benefits from and the needs of higher education; anticipate and manage difficult issues; devise coordinated communications and lobbying efforts; and connect with institutional friends, alumni, and taxpayers. A short accompanying article lists cost-saving measures. This article is of interest to advancement managers and managers of media relations and public relations programs.

A Campus's Best Friend
CURRENTS Article Though tension is inevitable between plain-spoken public relations officers and cautious lawyers, they should work together to forge an effective partnership. The author, a lawyer, proposes seven steps for a productive collaboration. This article is of interest to media and PR officers, PR managers, and advancement managers.

From the Ground Up
CURRENTS Article Three California state universities that opened in 1995, 2002, and 2004 illustrate the challenges of setting up new advancement offices from scratch. They each had to develop and implement community relations and media relations strategies; launch fund-raising programs; and build alumni relations programs even before the first class graduated. This article is of interest to managers of alumni, development, and communications and marketing programs.

All that Glitters
CURRENTS Article Profiles of selected 2001 Circle of Excellence winners, including alumni relations programs at Oklahoma State University, the University of Indianapolis, and Lake Forest College; communications programs or publications at Providence College, Hotchkiss School, Art Center College of Design, University of Natal, Carleton College, and Baptist College of Health Sciences; and development programs at Georgia State University, Lord Fairfax Community College, and the University of Utah.

Taking Issue
CURRENTS Article Every campus benefits when its senior communications officer becomes involved in issues management, but this important role often goes unfilled. Denbow explains the difference between issues management and crisis communications, identifies obstacles to PR officers’ ability to become effective issues managers, and lists basic responsibilities of issues managers. The article includes tips for PR officers who want to position themselves in this role.

AdvanceWork: It's Show Time
CURRENTS Article One university president's dual role as a local TV host

Think Strategic
CURRENTS Article In a survey of more than 600 college and university presidents and nearly 300 chief public relations officers, presidents felt that their PR officers would be more effective if they took a more strategic approach. The article explains the difference between tactical and strategic thinking, and then outlines eight steps to improve the PR office’s effectiveness along with the president’s perception of its importance.

The Court of Law vs. the Court of Public Opinion
CURRENTS Article The responsibilities of public relations officers can seem at odds with those of attorneys during a campus legal crisis. The lawyers want to limit release of information; PR staffers often need to get the story out to retain public confidence. But both groups share an interest in protecting the institution’s reputation, and can work together, starting from this common ground.

AdvanceWork: Out of the Loop
CURRENTS Article A Pennsylvania survey finds campus PR pros aren't involved in key decision making

AdvanceWork: Let Their Fingers Do the Walking
CURRENTS Article Problem/Solution

Voices That Ring Loud & Clear
CURRENTS Article Campus communications directors need to find and focus on people who have significant influence in the communities that are important to their campus' well-being. These opinion leaders can provide crucial and cost-effective influence. To maximize your efforts, decide which of your constituencies are most important; identify the specific opinion leaders in each group; communicate with these people;

Take It from the Top
CURRENTS Article Eight high-profile campus CEOs describe seven strategies of successful chief communications officers. They recommend: 1) Be proactive -- focus on strategy, not reactive tasks. 2) See issues from the public's point of view. 3) Know how to talk to the media. 4) Be a good listener. 5) Craft clearly defined key messages. 6) Know your CEO's motivations and interests. 7) See the big picture, including government, the media, and industry. In a sidebar, three PR pros share their tips for making it to high-ranking positions.

Not Just for Alumni Anymore
CURRENTS Article Campus communicators can use special events to cultivate relationships with reporters, maintain campus relations, and raise the institution's visibility. PR officers from many institutions describe their success with: 1) nontraditional press conferences designed around themed receptions or hands-on demonstrations; 2) creative groundbreaking ceremonies; and 3) thank-you events for helpful journalists.

In Advance: Beyond Wayne's World
CURRENTS Article Community access television can be a cheap, successful part of your campus PR plan

Need Visibility? Get Integrated
CURRENTS Article Campus communicators are natural leaders for integrated marketing programs. Here's why—and how to pull it off

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