Isaac Thweatt—Director of Alumni Outreach
American University—Washington, D.C.
United States
Conferences & Training
Social Media and Community: The Case for Implementation

Track Descriptions

Launching Pad
You are curious and enthusiastic about social media, but you are relatively new to using it on behalf of your institution. The sessions in this track will serve as a springboard for using social and digital technologies to facilitate communications and engage your constituency.

Social Wizardry
You hold the keys to your school's social media castle and now you really want to up the ante. This track goes beyond the basic concepts and introductions of the social sphere and dives deep into the vastness of digital engagement. These sessions will open your eyes to new ways of using the same old social networks, while also presenting the exciting potential of emerging platforms.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 1, Wednesday, March 19

NOON-1:00 PM

We're Here Because YOU Are Here
Welcome and introductions

The Age of Social Disruption
The advancement industry has a long and storied history of engagement with alumni. As the world has changed, the industry has done a respectable job keeping up with the times, but the social and digital revolution has become a game changer few anticipated. As technology gives alumni access to the information we once kept under lock and key, we must learn to loosen our grip on control and instead embrace the ways we can use new communications tools to our advantage. This session kicks off our conference by examining how social media has changed advancement and how we should use it to ensure we remain relevant to our constituencies.
Speaker: Andrew Gossen, Senior Director for Social Media Strategy, Cornell University 

Adjusting to a Changing Industry
Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track
    As Easy as Herding Squirrels: Coordinating Social Media Across Your Campus

    Social media accounts are created every day by student organizations, academic departments, programs and countless other units across your campus. How do you support and coordinate all of these accounts when they're managed by dozens (or hundreds) of people scattered throughout your institution? Learn the tools and methods that William & Mary uses to tackle this challenge and find out how you can use them on your campus.
    Speaker: Tiffany Broadbent Beker, Web Programmer and Social Media Coordinator, William and Mary

  • Social Wizardry Track: Who's Driving? Social Media Governance for the Decentralized Institution
    Are there hundreds of different social media accounts tied to your university? Does each department or organization have their own social media team with the autonomy to create their own social media presence? Who's in control and how do you manage your brand? We'll take a look at the many challenges decentralized institutions face and the tools and resources that can be built to help get you back in the driver's seat.
    Speaker: Mike Takahashi, Associate Director, Digital Marketing, University of California, Los Angeles

Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track: Beyond the States: How the International Community Uses Social Media
    Hola! Ni hao! Hej! Hello! There's a great big world out there—and your alumni, students and families are in it. We'll learn from our international peers during this panel discussion. We'll discuss popular tools, dos and don'ts, and things to remember when interacting with diverse audiences.
    Panel Host: Elizabeth Allen, Director of Online Communications, The American School in London

  • Social Wizardry Track: Dropping the Silo-Buster: Why Integration is Essential to Social Media Success
    Social media is a fad. Digital is dead. Okay, not exactly, but they've matured far beyond adolescence. While you are charged with understanding and implementing social media, you are also likely charged with educating on how to thoughtfully integrate social media into larger marketing and communication plans. If not, you should be because you, the social media silo-buster, are best prepared to do so. Social media is a vehicle that should be purposefully integrated within your institutional communication strategies to create the most cohesive experience for your audiences and communities. This session will challenge you to think beyond the channels and empower you with a new definition of integration.
    Speakers: Gene Begin, Digital Marketing Director, and Vanessa Theoharis, Digital Marketing and Community Manager, Babson College

Benchmarking Your Initiatives: Findings from the 2014 Survey of Social Media in Advancement
For the past five years, CASE, Huron Education, and mStoner have worked together on the Survey of Social Media in Advancement, the only longitudinal survey of its kind. In this section, you'll be the first to learn what respondents said about their social media activities in 2013. In addition to exploring the role of social media in campaigns, this year we asked a series of questions designed to measure how senior leaders are using social media in their communications and outreach activities.
Speakers: Jennifer Mack, Senior Researcher, Huron Consulting Group; and Michael Stoner, President, mStoner

Raising a Glass to...Us!
Networking reception and recognition of social media in higher ed.

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

[Back to top]

Day 2, Thursday, March 20

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast/Roundtable Discussions

Content: Without it, Nothing Else Matters
Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track: Keeping the Social in Social Media: How Engaging Conversations can Lead to More than a Like
    Universities seem to be talking at their alumni, pushing out news, telling them about events and blasting them with donation requests. They often ignore alumni who "like" and "mention" them. And with message scheduling becoming more and more seamless, some of us have put social media on autopilot. But what if, rather than talking at alumni, we talked with them? What if the conversation doesn't end with a "like" or a request to join a group? Discuss how conversations on social media have led to higher engagement ratings and review concrete examples on ways which Boston College has engaged their alumni base.
    Speaker: Stephanie St. Martin, Social Media Manager, Advancement Communications and Marketing, Boston College

  • Social Wizardry Track: It's Not You, It's Them: Crafting the Content Your Audience Wants
    The attention economy: our content is competing with everything on the internet—which means the content we create and share has to be interesting and smart. How do you ensure your content is right for your audience, and that it is reaching them in between everything else? The mantra to repeat: We must make our content more social, and we do that by working in conjunction with our audiences to produce the best things we can—for them. Explore listening on social channels and discover how it informs your content strategy. Learn how to measure and gauge audience interaction, and review approaches for focusing on content production first, and distribution on social media second.
    Speaker: Ma'ayan Plaut, Manager, Social Strategy & Projects, Oberlin College

Using Your Connections
Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track: Co-Ed Catalysts: Using Student Generated Content
    Looking for authentic, inexpensive content? Tired of being a one-person news outlet? Look no further than your own campus: students are enthusiastic and energetic, and can create fantastic content for your online presences. In this session, we'll review examples of student-generated content—from schools, universities and nonprofits—in many forms and flavors. We'll cover some of the issues around working with students, including management, giving direction, compensation and expectations.
    Speaker: Elizabeth Allen, Director of Online Communications, The American School in London

  • Social Wizardry Track: Linking to the ROI: Engaging and Prospecting on LinkedIn
    As social media becomes more prevalent in the world of higher ed, institutions want to see evidence for why they should invest—or further invest—in social media strategy. Discuss what wealth looks like in a LinkedIn profile, learn how to engage high-capacity donors on social media, and discover how to debunk skeptical opinions such as "wealth doesn't hang out in social media" and "successful professionals don't want to communicate via social."
    Speaker: Keith Hannon, Associate Director for Social Media, Cornell University

11:30 AM-12:15 PM
Getting the Most Out of Your Efforts
Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track: Fostering Alumni Engagement Through Volunteering: How Students Learn to Give Back to Their Alma Mater by Engaging in Community Service
    It's a known fact that students who are engaged with their community while on campus are more likely to become donors after they graduate. And chances are, your campus already has thousands of students, faculty and alumni volunteering as part of a service-learning or civic engagement effort. We all know these activities are a lot of fun and beneficial for your campus, but how do you ensure you are leveraging them to support your development goals? Using case studies from colleges nationwide, we'll show you how you can recruit and maintain constant communication with your constituents through social media; building lifelong relationships between alumni, parents, and friends of the university.
    Speakers: Casey Keller, Director of Enterprise Solutions, and Jed Shireman, Business Development Executive, GiveGab

  • Social Wizardry Track: You Built it, But are They Coming? Content Creation and SEO
    SEO, or search engine optimization, is the foundation to any website. Key words, metadata, user experience, bounce rate, and even social media all affect how Google ranks your site.

    And social media and SEO are friends. Best friends. The more you focus on SEO tactics, the stronger your social media will be as a result. Does how often you post on social media affect where you land in SERPs? (Yes!) And don't worry, we will tell you what a SERP is too.

    Learn how to plan your social media calendar according to search volume. Write content that people will engage with-and find-through search. Build your website using through proper SEO functions. Start to leverage Google+.

    Join Boston College alumni social media manager Stephanie St. Martin as she discusses "SEO 101" and gives you a concrete "to do list" so you too can become SEO savvy.

    Speaker: Stephanie St. Martin, Social Media Manager, Advancement Communications and Marketing, Boston College

Lunch on your own

Post-Lunch Wake-Up Call
Your Multimedia Toolkit: Combining Old, New and Future Methodologies for Better Engagement
From handwritten notes to that hot, social-media hub that's right around the corner, there's a way to talk to everyone in your audience in a way that makes them want to tune in. This lively, example-laden talk will outline the underlying similarities across media, providing the basic understanding you'll need to select the right channel and to connect with confidence.
Speaker: Colleen Wainwright, Independent Communications/Social Media Consultant and Writer

Capitalizing on Social
Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track: Using YouTube's Free Livestreaming Platform to Expand Your Campus Audiences Around the World
    On Tuesday, Nov, 26, 2013, UCLA broadcasted the annual Beat ‘SC Bonfire & Rally live from campus through its YouTube channel. The event resulted in viewership across the world in locations as far away as Japan and Saudi Arabia. You'll learn what tools were used and how social media was integrated into this event to increase engagement across various platforms.
    Speaker: Mike Takahashi, Associate Director of Digital Marketing, University of California, Los Angeles

  • Social Wizardry Track: Digital Fundraising on the Social Web
    The giving experience continues to evolve as digital applications make their way into all aspects of our lives. Explore fundraising in a digital world from web and mobile applications that support traditional fundraising strategies to crowdfunding and grassroots social experiences that engage new and lapsed donors.
    Speaker: Ashley Budd, Assistant Director for Social Media, Cornell University

Parliamentary Speed Pitch
Faculty and select speakers take turns making three-minute arguments in support of—or against—a network, trend, app or concept with regard to social media. Speakers will have the option of "yielding time" to other attendees in the audience. Like British Parliament, cheers and jeers are encouraged.

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

[Back to top]

 Day 3, Friday, March 21

8:00-8:30 AM
Continental Breakfast/Roundtable Discussions

The Numbers Game: What to Measure and What Matters
Monitoring social media metrics is not only equivalent to drinking through a fire hose, it's a fire hose where the beverage of choice constantly changes. As social networks and digital technologies continue to evolve, so do the metrics by which we measure failure and success. This panel will give you a no-nonsense look at what numbers ACTUALLY matter, which should be ignored, and how to move the needle in the era of throttled reach and promoted posts.
Metrics panel hosted by: Keith Hannon, Associate Director for Social Media, Cornell University

Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Launching Pad Track: What's YOUR Story? Integrating Your Narrative Across Channels
    #realtalk: as institutions of higher learning, we're all the same, but we're all different. If we're not sure who we are, it's going to be even harder for our audiences to know: and lucky us, they know what we are better than we do. During this session, we'll discuss consistency in message delivery, holistic communication and customer service, and provide a series of questions to help you explore what makes your school uniquely you. Learn how to rethink your storytelling efforts based upon your discoveries.
    Speaker: Ma'ayan Plaut , Manager, Social Strategy & Projects, Oberlin College

  • Social Wizardry: Everything's A Game: How Gamification Can Improve Engagement
    Gamification is a word that has gained traction over the past five years, but it's a concept that has existed for decades. In this session, we'll take a look at how to combine the critical mass offered by social media and smartphones, with simple game mechanics to engage, entertain and educate your students and alumni.
    Speaker: Keith Hannon, Associate Director for Social Media, Cornell University

CASEX Presentations
Three 15-minute presentations will open your mind, expand your imagination and inspire you to return to campus and begin implementing the best practices you discovered at CASESMC.

11:45 AM-NOON
The Finishing Touches
Twitter Awards

Conference Adjourns

[Back to top]

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3


Help/Create Account