Progress & the Key to Mobility Part 2


Recently I was at an advancement conference that included system advancement colleagues from all of our 14 sister institutions.  The opening night, four of the system presidents spoke about the state of public higher education in Pennsylvania.  Our president was one of the panelists.
At the end of the presentation we were asked to write a question.  Three questions would be chosen and the presidents would respond.
The third question chosen was, “How is your institution using the Web in advancement, alumni relations, public relations and recruiting?”
The first president was honest and said, “Frankly, I don’t think we’re using it enough.  We’re making little stabs . . . .”
The second president said he really didn’t know how his university was using the web in those areas.
The third to answer was my president.  She said, “I can’t tell you all the ways we’re using it but I know we are very progressive in certain areas.  We do an excellent job with podcasting and I’d like Dennis Miller, our PR Director, to talk about it just a little bit.”
I was surprised but stood up and addressed my 100+ colleagues — and the four presidents — capsulizing our efforts and putting in a plug for the presentation I would give the next day.
This story has three points:
1. College presidents don’t know much about the new technology.  I know they’re overwhelmed with issues from money to alumni to government, faculty and on and on.  I’m tempted to say they don’t have time to know the new technology.  The fact is, however, I think they should know more about it because it is the way we communicate, shop, play, research, and, increasingly, disseminate news, recruit, friend raise and fund raise.
2. However, if they don’t have time to learn more, we as PR professionals need to keep them informed, not only about what we’re doing but about trends in general.  The fact that I talk about Web 2.0 every time I have a chance, which includes podcasting, enabled our president show that her university is a leader in the field.
3. The third point?  Synchronicity is real. When it happens, make it work for you.
The question about technology–one of nearly 100 pieces of paper containing questions–was mine.

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