Conferences are a key part of higher ed professional development. Higher ed marketers rely on them to keep their industry knowledge current and to connect with colleagues. The lectures and breakout sessions are just part of the learning – the hallway conversations, elevator chats and happy hour drinks forge bonds and add incremental learnings, too.
So what do we do now that the pandemic has scrapped many of the usual conferences, and pushed others online? How are higher ed leaders connecting with and learning from one another, and redefining professional development beyond the boundaries of the traditional conference? And, when we’re all able to get together again, how different will those conferences look from how they did just a few months ago?
- Gail Towns has worked in university marketing and communications for nearly 20 years. Following stints in Atlanta, Kalamazoo, and Cincinnati, she now leads the marketing team at Georgian Court University, a Catholic college in New Jersey.
- Catherine Feminella is the associate dean of students at Widener University. She is a founding member of the Women of Widener: Women’s Leadership Forum and is currently the state chairperson for the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Pennsylvania ACE Women’s Network.
Here are some notes and links to items referenced during the show, or relevant to the conversation.
- mStoner’s digital panel on Covid-19 higher ed marketing adjustments
- Campus Sonar’s “The Kids Are Not Alright” webinar, from April
- Allied Pixel’s checklist for creating virtual campus tours
- The Volt article about the Covid-19 admissions cycle that Heather wrote and for which Gail was a source
- Catherine loves a good walk-and-talk
- Gail’s least-favorite conference icebreaker: Any icebreaker in the 4:30, end-of-the-day session.
- Catherine’s least-favorite conference icebreaker: The ones that don’t account for logistics, like when they ask participants to stand up or move about in packed rooms where any movement is difficult.