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The role of communicators and marketers on campus has evolved and expanded exponentially in the last 15 years or so -- the people in these important roles now interact with and impact every department, division, and unit across a campus. The shift happened fairly quickly and as higher education itself continues to adapt to new technologies and high-stakes realities in the areas of enrollment and fundraising, our jobs will continue to change. 

As professionals, we are tasked with sharing the most positive and the most difficult news, work that is done best when we are transparent, focused on strategic initiatives, and aligned with best practices. And yet, I have heard for years from my colleagues nationally who are hungry to know more about the experiences -- both good and bad -- of their counterparts at other institutions and to do so in a shared space. In these conversations, our peers have described a lack of opportunities for us to share information and gather feedback on our observations and approaches.

For this reason, I called Doug Lederman about two years ago. We talked about my perception that informative and constructive posts about communication and marketing in higher education were significantly outnumbered by the pieces that were disparaging toward our professions. I asked why Inside Higher Ed didn’t have anyone blogging about the field of communications and marketing like it does for so many other professional areas within academia.

Doug patiently listened and then challenged me to do something to fill this void. He also suggested the name of a colleague who had expressed similar observations about the need for thoughtful and insightful coverage of marketing and digital communications. And so at his recommendation, I reached out to Michael Stoner to ask if he would join me in creating a space to discuss the ways in which we market and communicate about higher education and the collegiate experience.

Two years later, I am proud to say Michael and I, along with our colleagues Kristine Maloney and Mallory Wood, are joining together to co-author and manage a new blog featuring the perspectives of higher ed marketing and communication professionals. These roles are more consequential on campus than ever before and we are proud to provide an online space to talk about our initiatives like our academic, student affairs and faculty colleagues.

We wouldn’t represent our industry well if we didn’t share our elevator speech for the blog:

In higher education, we love to discuss the good, the bad and the forward thinking, but current conversations about marketing, branding and communications are written about us and not by us. Communications and marketing professionals need a space to share opinions, highlight successes from across the industry, hear from peers and receive feedback from those on campus. The Call to Action blog, featuring a slate of industry-leading voices and welcoming guest bloggers, provides us with the opportunity to define our profession for ourselves.

We’ve already recruited some of those industry-leading voices from a variety of institutions to share their thoughts and observations and those pieces will be posted in the coming weeks and months. Collectively, we look forward to facilitating the conversations among our peers and learning from each other. We’re ready for the exchange of ideas and eager to hear constructive feedback from our faculty and administrative colleagues. And we hope you’ll join us in this conversation -- our call to action includes asking you to share your comments and guest posts. And I’m hopeful this space will thrive. After all, I’ve had pretty good luck thus far when asking for this space and the participation of others, and issuing a broad call to action. Michael, Kristine, Mallory and I look forward to having you join us.

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