Okay, I’ve been wrestling with something for months and Matthew Herzberger’s recent post really pulled things together for me. Well, actually it was the comments that brought things into focus.
What I’d like is for you to go to his post, read it and the comments. Then come back here.
(Time passes. . . .)
Okay, you’re back?
Matt’s post was a well-done rant of a passionate, frustrated Web guy who needs to reach out and share his thoughts (and despondency) with others of us who have felt the same need to find a high cliff.
Several people agreed with him.
Then Karyn entered.
Whoah! New spin on this discussion!
It was an extraordinary conversation, the kind we should be having more often.
We have stats freaks. We have Matt who likes stories and anecdotal evidence (same here, but I’m wading into the world of stats at the strong request of my boss).
But most importantly, we have actual discussion among professionals from different fields of expertise.
There are three groups today that should be merging and working as one team: The Web team, public relations, and admissions.
As PR director, I work closely with admissions to motivate students to inquire about our university. After they inquire, it’s up to admissions to lead them through the next steps.
We try to reach students through traditional advertising and, increasingly, marketing on the Web.
So I need to understand how the admissions process works. The admissions director has taken me through a full recruiting cycle. I’ve gone out on the road with them to college fairs and high schools to experience the break-neck pace, the rushing crowds, smart students and students who should pursue careers as shepherds.
I need to understand Web folks, how they think, talk, and operate and the pressures they face daily. They also need to understand my role in PR, marketing, and being responsible for the institution’s image. We need not only to interact, but to actually work together.
While each of us has several departmental goals, our common goal is to make a variety of publics aware of the university in a truthful, positive manner.
At Mansfield, the Web folks, admissions and PR have been talking more frequently with the development of a content management system. I’m sure we’ll continue working together after it goes live.
And I think discussions like the one on Matt’s post should continue.
In his comment, Kyle said : “We are the pioneers and the explorers.” Okay, that means the rules are still being formed. We’re still defining the terrain. And, hopefully, we’re coming together as a team, learning each other’s language and experimenting our way toward a common community.
The beauty of the Matt post/discussion is that the various points of view are presented in a civil, respectful way by thoughtful, passionate professionals.
It made me think.
And that’s what higher education is all about.
What are your thoughts?