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Communications Plans

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Into the Storm
CURRENTS Article Within hours of the June 2016 Brexit referendum in which 51.9 percent of voters in the United Kingdom opted to leave the European Union, many U.K. universities created special teams to address their most immediate concerns: student and staff recruitment and retention. University College London convened a Brexit planning group, chaired by its president and provost, with top representatives participating from offices such as communications, development, international, education and student affairs, the registrar, and human resources, as well as the college's unions.

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.

Outlook: Meet Your New Marketing Team: The Faculty
CURRENTS Article Faculty are essential to your institution's marketing efforts. They are on the front lines delivering the school's mission, interacting with students, and, particularly in the case of independent schools, having conversations with parents and demonstrating that the institution delivers on its promises. All of these daily interactions can increase positive word-of-mouth marketing of your institution.

Don’t Wait to Communicate about Sexual Assault
CURRENTS Article Students and their families have grown increasingly worried about campus sexual assault. According to the National Institute for Justice, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college; more than 90 percent of campus sexual assault survivors do not report it. In this tense and complex environment, what's a higher education communicator to do? For answers, CURRENTS interviewed campus communicators, media relations consultants, Title IX coordinators, student affairs leaders, and sexual assault experts.

Fundraising During a Crisis
CURRENTS Article A controversial decision or scandal can cause donors and alumni to revolt and withhold gifts. Mix a volatile situation with social media chatter and emotionally attached alumni, and a reputational crisis can hit any institution. The key to keep a catastrophe from harming fundraising is to maintain donors' trust by knowing what, when, and how to communicate with them.

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.

Refresh the Brand Without the Fight
CURRENTS Article NC State created an effective communications and marketing operation that unified branding operations across the decentralized campus.

Talking Points: Sensitivity Training
CURRENTS Article University communicators must know how to discuss campus sexual assault in a way that supports prevention efforts on campuses, respects students, and adheres to civil rights law.

The First 180 Days
CURRENTS Article Advancement is essential in preparing the president and institution for a successful transition, but the new leader must adopt and fine-tune the plan. Five years into her presidency at Montgomery College in Maryland, DeRionne P. Pollard and her advancement chief, David Sears, talk about the tactics they used to introduce her to stakeholders, communicate her vision, and ease her into fundraising.

New Dimensions
CURRENTS Article Communications offices that understand the value of shifting from tactical to strategic create initiatives and outreach efforts about ideas and values--more purposeful messages--and have expanded the definition of "constituent" to include legislators, editorial page writers, and corporate leaders, just to name a few. This article examines the strategic shifts and related communications and marketing efforts of several campuses. Included is a sidebar about one British institution ("You've Got to Play to Win").

Office Space: Star Search
CURRENTS Article The Missouri University of Science and Technology created a system to identify students who could be the faces and voices of the institution's brand story and ended up with a winning ensemble and hundreds of narratives that embody the university's brand.

Content Marketing in Focus
CURRENTS Article This article clears up the confusion about content marketing and explains how it works versus traditional advertising. Oregon State University integrated video content marketing into its recent “Powered by Orange” campaign, and the university’s web communications director explains that it’s possible to create effective content marketing in house, but it’s not simple or cheap—two common misconceptions.

Go Viral
CURRENTS Article Zookeepers post a YouTube video of a baby panda sneezing, and it goes viral. But what does “going viral” mean, and how can educational institutions produce viral content? Griffith University recently conducted a survey on viral marketing and communications practices in higher education that addresses those questions. One of the study’s administrators highlights results from the survey, clears up misconceptions about viral content, and offers tips on how institutions can create compelling content.

Weathering the Superstorm
CURRENTS Article This article looks at how some colleges and universities in New York and New Jersey communicated with its stakeholders during and after Hurricane Sandy in late 2012 and briefly discusses some of the advancement issues they had to address as communities dealt with the superstorm's aftereffects.

Outlook: Just Do It
CURRENTS Article Social media is a tool in an organization's communications arsenal, not the sole means of disseminating a message.

Talking Points: Road Map to Campus Calm
CURRENTS Article The potential H1N1 crisis presented public relations practitioners with perhaps their first opportunity to use their full arsenal of communications tactics to reach and influence key audiences.

Hiding in Plain Sight
CURRENTS Article This article, a complement to "User Generation," examines how, with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, crises can blow out of proportions in a matter of minutes. The author outlines strategies for preparing, managing, and surviving a crisis in a hyper-connected, always-on news world.

All Along the Watchtower
CURRENTS Article PR professionals are confronting a new breed of problems with rogue Web sites and damaging e-mail messages. Campuses must deal with these unconventional attacks on a case-by-case basis. But they should also adapt their issues management and crisis communications plans and techniques to include online responses to known and anonymous critics. This article is of interest to PR professionals and Web managers who handle issues management and crisis planning and management.

Cultural Awakening
CURRENTS Article This case study from a British university traces the development of a comprehensive communications strategy. Among the steps are achieving university-wide buy-in, developing and implementing a strategy, and conducting evaluation. This article is of interest to PR managers and marketers who want to develop a campus-wide culture of communication.

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