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Student Affairs Marketing and Communications: Potential with Purpose

I might be biased coming from student affairs, but I see so much potential in student engagement, retention, and recruitment when it comes to higher ed marketing and comms. But overall, efforts are segmented, stretched, and many times misunderstood.

So in the spring of 2022, I kicked off an inaugural benchmark research on the state of student affairs and marketing communications. In this episode, I share some of my preliminary findings, especially digging into staffing, funding, and centralization.

At the end, I also dig into the partnership (or lack thereof) between Student Affairs and MarComm divisions or offices. So, I’m giving three ways each of these areas can better collaborate in 2023.

Tune in to hear my updates for the start of the year, including what made my In list vs Out list! 

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Josie and the Podcast is produced in partnership with Alumni FM, a podcast agency dedicated to higher education. Alumni FM works with leading colleges and universities to tell stories on campus that build branding, drive engagement, and connect communities. Reach out to  to connect on podcast strategy, production, and growth. We look forward to talking with you!

Campus Sonar offers unmatched insights and expertise that build client capabilities, transform campus goals, and support higher ed community learning and networking. They use digital and social intelligence to help campus partners understand and implement meaningful change.

Notes from this Episode:

[00:00:00] Before we get started, a quick thank you to our sponsor and partner, Alumni FM. They are a higher education podcast agency specializing in working with education institutions to make informative and entertaining podcasts. It’s pretty darn easy to work with them. And if you’re wondering about the quality they produce, well, look at this very podcast.

In this episode, we’re diving into the state of student affairs marketing communications, and I want to mention something pretty cool that the team over at Alumni FM is putting together. We all know how powerful user-generated content is. And Alumni FM is providing a new service to help schools create student podcasts.

I love this. This includes teaching students podcasting 101, supporting staff with managing logistics, and helping edit for consistent quality. If you’re thinking about podcasting for yourself, your students, or your team, I highly recommend connecting with them. Send a message to robert@alumni.fm or visit Alumni FM. Links are all in the show notes.

[00:01:23] Hello and welcome to Josie and the Podcast. I’m Josie, and I’m so happy to have you here with me today. What does it mean to lead in the digital space with heart and humanity? On this podcast, I spend time answering this question with all kinds of goodies like heart, soul, and lots of substance. My goal is to share conversations that encourage you, empower you, and also a little bit of entertainment for you to rethink your digital strategy for yourself and the organizations you support.

You all, today, I’m digging into my most recent research on marketing communications in student affairs, from patterns in centralization, resources staffing, and the critical role of senior student affairs officers in the success of those marketing strategies, both short-term and long-term sustainability.

At the end, I’m also going to dig into my thoughts on the partnership, or sometimes lack thereof, between student affairs and divisions or offices that are primarily tasked with marketing communications. Maybe this is university relations, marketing communications, many different titles that we see. I might be biased coming from student affairs, but I see so much potential, from student engagement, retention, and recruitment.

But unfortunately, I hear from both sides attention and frustration, and I wonder if maybe we’re not speaking the same language. So, at the end of this episode, I’m offering a few icebreakers, as we do in student affairs, to get us working better together in 2023.

Before I dig into any of that, let me give you a little status update, as these shorty episodes are also meant to give little insight there.

[00:03:21] I want to give another Happy New Year into 2023, here we go, ready or not, and wish a very special guy in my life, Lloyd, a very happy birthday. The day this episode comes out on January 18th is his birthday. Related to Lloyd, him and his partners, which also means me too, open a new bar in Burbank, California called the Inkwell Tavern.

If you are ever in town or live in the valley, please go check it out. By the time this episode comes out… actually, no, it’ll be just a couple days later on. January 21st is going to be the official grand opening. I’m so proud of, everyone that’s been part of that project. And they have yummy drinks and a new menu. And it’s going to be good stuff.

[00:04:16] Talking about a new year, the podcast has a new Instagram, so come find us at Josie and the Podcast. We’re going to be sharing when episodes drop, highlights from episodes, resources, so you can quickly grab and go and, you know, just all the goodness that Instagram can provide. As we also talk about the new year, and hopefully, you checked out my shorty episode in late December, Creating Goals with Soul, I gave lots of resources and frameworks and suggestions. One of them, YearCompass, has you think about your word for the year. And I got pretty hung up on this one. And no surprise, I was kind of judging myself for it, thinking maybe the context wasn’t right.

But the more I thought about it and when I went on a little holiday break to spend time with my family in South Dakota and Wyoming, we came upon this creek in Ice Box Canyon, which is on the border of South Dakota and Wyoming, and I’ll link to the reel that I posted. It really affirmed it. Amidst the snow and the freezing creek bed, this water continues to flow and go forward and is free. And so, my word for 2023 is “free,” but I’m also inspired by words like “flow” and “moving forward.” So, curious if you have settled on or thinking about any kind of words or phrases, or even in the Renew retreats, I have people think about maybe you have a song for the year,, whether it’s one that’s going to pump you up or calm you down. We can think about all kinds of different ways we can apply it.

And then, as I think about what’s in store for me this spring, well, there’s going to be a lot of consulting, which I’m very excited about. Some of that isn’t so public, just based on the nature of it, but I’m working with community colleges, pretty large campuses in Texas, a medical program, another community college district — oh, gosh, I’m like running through my Rolodex — private college in California. So, yeah, those are just some hints.

And then, of course, you have heard me talking about the cohort, which if you’re listening, you still have time to sign up. We start February 1st. I love this program so, so much. It, for me, feeds my love of teaching, of coaching, and guiding people through a process to learn social media strategy. And this is great for people that might be brand new into higher ed, but have been doing social media or just got the keys to the accounts and/or we have a lot of people who are mid-level and director-level who are just like, ”I just finally need to really have some skill sets around this or how to support my team better around digital strategy that’s focused on the community first.” And so, again, make sure go check that out. I’m so excited about it.

[00:07:35] One last thing, as I think about coming into 2023 a little bit differently and talking about Instagram, is I was recently influenced, it was two podcasters who I religiously listened to their show, Forever35. Super, super fun. And they both posted on Instagram these outlets and these endless things that are going to be out, they’re not going to do anymore in 2023, and what they are, what they’re bringing into the year. And I recently included these in a newsletter episode that I put out. And then I was like, you know what? I probably should put these on Instagram, too. So, I thought I would share them just really quickly here in the podcast and, again, get you thinking, what is going to be out for you this year versus what you are attracting, manifesting, what’s your intentions? And as you will see, some of them are silly, some of them are more substantive, some of them are like, you know, like hopes and to-dos.

But, no surprise for me, my outlist, my very first thing is stop making overflowing daily to-do lists. I don’t know of anybody out there. You just, it’s almost like an inspirational to-do list. I kind of feel like though I can set myself up to be like, oh, I didn’t get through it all. So, I want to be really strategic in what I actually write down.

[00:08:57] The next one is, I’m trying to not listen to a news podcast first thing in the morning. I might still listen to one in the morning, but I don’t want it to be my first one. Second inner critics, sorry you all. You gotta go. You’re not welcome here anymore. Late-night online shopping. My husband even nudged me on this one because I was, I was looking at some Amazon last night. Playing small. This, uh, I might be a small fun size person, but that mindset and, honestly caring what other people think. I need to kick that to the curb. Center parts. I know TikTok and all the youngs say you got a part in the center with your hair. And I’m sorry, I just like my side part better. You all can just deal with it.

True crime anything, I need to stop watching scary movies, real things that have happened, unsolved mysteries. Like, stop it, Josie, which relates to the next one, Netflix and binge. I don’t want to just be watching TV a whole bunch every night or every weekend. I want to really stop that. And the notifications, I’ve been slowly turning off certain apps that I won’t get a notification from. This probably explains me watch or listening so much to Forever35, which is about how we take care of ourselves, but also about a lot about skincare. And I’m trying to not invest in so much expensive skincare in 2023.

[00:10:28] Okay. But so, in for 20, uh, things I want to do this year. Walk, jog. I have been starting to run and jog more. I actually cut out running for a long time because it hurt my knees so much, and I just love my Peloton. But, with my arm injury that I’ve had this last four or five months, I have been taking up running a bit more, but even, you know, like that in moderation. So, walk, jog. The second one is meditation teacher training. And I’m honestly a little terrified to do this. I’m worried I’m not going to complete it or… but I’ve been integrating so much of this work in my personal life, as well as work. And so, I would really love to gain more skill sets in it.

The next one is girls trips. And specifically, I have a couple friends I’m really nudging to do kind of like a retreat center, or maybe it’s related to meditation or yoga. And so, hopefully, that comes to pass. Lexapro is on the list, look it up. But it relates to the very first episode I put out, “Hey, Higher Ed, Are You Okay?” Ways of taking care of my mental health.

Also taking care of my mental health, the next one is steamy romance books. I am not ashamed to say it. Actually, just yesterday, I blew through a book, “Love and Other Words.” It wasn’t super steamy, but it was a easy read and, um, very fun. Handwritten letters is on the list for ‘23. Fancy candles, one person, when I posted this, already reached out to ask which ones I’m currently burning, Hotel Lobby candle, the holiday edition, which I don’t think this sale will still be going on, but they were on sale right now, if you want to grab them. Water in all forms, whether, if it’s that drinking, getting around water, rivers, ocean, lakes, all of the sorts. I also got to get more veggies in my life.

And then, finally, ember mug. I got this as a Christmas gift from my husband, and I am in freaking love. These are not cheap mugs. And I’m terrified I’m going to drop it and break it, but it basically keeps your warm beverage warm for, like, a wild amount of time, but the perfect temperature. It’s like The Santa Clause movie where they keep the hot chocolate warm somehow magically, like the perfect temperature, the perfect taste, this thing is… it’s my Santa Clause gift.

Okay, so back on to today’s topic, what you came for is about student affairs marketing and communications. So, real quickly, my background in student affairs, and specifically marketing communications, came in very early. As I moved through my early days as a new rambunctious and energetic new professional, social media was entering the scene without any toolkits or YouTube videos or blog posts on what the heck to expect. And even today, I found myself quite open, interested, and exploring these tools for myself, but also how I could integrate them into my work. I have never received formal training as in my undergraduate, my master’s, certification in marketing communications.

I have cut my teeth on my own time and experience, and honestly with tools like social, you kind of just got to get in there and to experiment and see for yourself. But what my perspective has always been, even today, is, for example, in higher ed, it needs to be student-centered. In any other industry, it would be audience-centered, whoever your people really are in order to build community. And what was the big outlier that I had was I wanted to give students the keys right away to all of our accounts. And this was within a department, within student activities, I had a programming board. So, we were hustling to get students to events, literally, every single day. I built a street team where we were handing out flyers and did tabling, like all the things you would normally do.

And so, when I saw tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and then Instagram come in, I just wanted to eat them up, train students the best I could, and coach and guide them along the way. And some of those accounts are still very, very much thriving today and set some really great practices. The last year that I was in that position at that institution, I created guidelines, best practices, and training for the Division of Student Affairs. And then I started my doctorate program.

[00:15:14] So, fast forward today, which it’s been 10 years this month that I left that full-time role. It’s pretty wild. But last spring, 2022, I kicked off an inaugural benchmark research on the state of student affairs, marketing communications. Because even today, things are scattered. They, many times, are unstructured and lack clarity. And so, I wanted to at least start the process to better understand and also for how are ways that I could support and create supplemental materials over time. So, this survey went out anywhere that I could post about it. Hopefully, you saw it at some point. And it was clear, though, that I was only looking for people who had at least half of their position managing marketing communications within a division of student affairs, not just kind of one bullet point amongst many in a job.

And in total, I had 25 institutions that participated. They range, primarily, a four-year large residential and non-residential universities and some medium-size residential and non-residential campuses.

Unfortunately, there were gaps in participants of those 25 institutions. There were no small colleges or two-year colleges. Diversity was also significantly lacking. The majority of participants identified as white and were women. As you expand looking at the industry at large, both in higher ed and in other industries, marketing, unfortunately, has a long ways to go, as it relates to diversity. But I wanted to give you that background, just so you knew who was part of this research. But it still was important and I do think astounding.

Those that participated, they had quite a bit of years of experience. Some had less than two, but some had more than 16 years. There was also a pay gap, no surprise, specifically for those that… and I’ll talk about it a little bit that were director level.

So, I may not have all the answers, but when I couple my experience and what I see with actually some research that will continue on, I hope this will provide you listening, understanding about what I see happening in student affairs, marketing and communications, and what we can do about that from here.

So, number one, and I alluded to it already, there is a lack of staffing structure and resources, specifically some salary stuff. So, more than 90%, espondents indicated they have no part-time staff. This is actually fairly common. In student affairs, we don’t have a ton of just part-time. We use way more students. So, there was 35% that said they don’t have students, but all the others said they are getting by because of their students. And again, this is very common, divisions of student affairs where we have students, whether if it’s leaders, assistants, work-study, interns, all the like, we couldn’t get by without them.

[00:18:31] And I think, in marketing and communications, this is also really critical. Just make sure you actually are compensating them and you make sure that it is a developmental experience. But the issue in, maybe, not having some staffing in place, because even a number of the participants said that they would soon be moving on from their roles, it keeps them from advancing strategy. One director of student life at a large residential institution in the Midwest said some of our regular maintenance type work needs to be done, like updating the websites, design for newsletters, regular maintance get missed. Because I get busy just trying to keep up with the latest fires that need to be doused. And these fires are not necessarily new to anyone that does marketing and communications. But what was new was this little pandemic and this constant crisis has continued, that hasn’t just gone away with a vaccine. We are at a heightened state, always. And so, even doing that maintenance work again has suffered.

Talking about compensation, so there is compensation that is there, but one thing that was really interesting was the gap, specifically as we think about directors. And this was most likely directors of MarComm that have centralized departments, basically. And I’ll talk about that in a minute. The pay range was wide, starting at 66,000, all the way up to over 100,000. And both those things considered both of those, all those individuals had around the same years of experience. Again, once the benchmark for job descriptions pay rate, that might very, very much based upon what state you were in, and other duties that are assigned. So, just kind of starting to pay attention to things like that.

One participant specifically said the challenging component of who they report to can be another big gap. Many times, these individuals are reporting to people that don’t know marketing and communications. What I asked them, “Hey, what kind of training would you want? How can I support you?” they said, “Can you better support and train the people that we report to?” Their supervisors, vice presidents, their deans who don’t come with that background. And that was really eye-opening for me. And what’s going to be connected to that is making sure resources are allocated properly, as well as expectations.

So, that leads me to a finding, number two is funding. One participant said there is no budget. As spending is necessary, I made a request, or a business officer who usually uses student fee money. 62% of respondents said they had no budget or were unaware of their budget for their work or needs. And this doesn’t include salaries. Another participant, associate director, said, “We request our VP’s office at budget call and hope for the best.” And for me, no wonder that we can’t do maintenance work, that things might feel like quite the spaghetti factory in student affairs is the unknown. That having to…

And I don’t even think we need a ton of money, I’m sorry, in marketing and communications in student affairs. But how can we strategically plan when we don’t know our resources, even if it means professional development and advanced training for full-time staff as well as students? So, what does it look like when some departments have funding but others do not? You could think of the same thing when certain departments have highly skilled graphic designers or web people and some do not. I guarantee those that have resources like that are probably not only better positioned to tell their story and communicate what’s going on but are also getting more people in their office at their programs, and we start to address a equity issue.

I’m not saying every Department in Student Affairs needs the same amount of money, but a triple-down effect can start to be seen again. We don’t need a ton, but we do need to at least address, for me, what’s the elephant in the room. Because what we also started to see, and I think is starting to be addressed, is whether a division should stay decentralized or centralized. Now, a centralized model — and there is a variety of tiers of this would — be to start to move some resources that, for example, everyone in the division uses. Everyone needs a photographer, a graphic designer, web, printing, a variety of different things versus having every single department try to be every single thing and some, you will quickly find, are the haves and have-nots.

And what breaks my heart is you start to see those areas that are serving the most needed, and students don’t have some of those resources, whether if it’s veteran affairs, the diversity offices, first-gen programs, start to look out there and to see, well, who actually has those skills and resources? And that may help start to explain things. Is there somewhere in between? Absolutely.

But I first want to tell you where the patterns of where centralization is happening in student affairs, because you all, it is coming. So, there were 13 campuses out of the 25 that already have a centralized model. Many of them, it took up to two years. I want you to hear that, two years, that’s a long process, when you do it strategically. And it can have a high payoff. You might wonder why it takes so long, but no surprise, sometimes this work can get political if you physically need to move offices, budgets, and just the overall change process.

Build in the time for buy-in, but also for research. There’s a variety of things that I work with divisions to do leading up to a process of any kind of movement, whether if that’s going to be something large or, you know, even improving decentralized from market research, benchmarking, auditing to understand what’s happening first, and getting that buy-in so colleagues can feel like they’re part of that collaboration.

I would also say this is where the role of the vice president, whoever the senior student affairs officer is, and/or management team, they play a critical role in moving forward, whether you’re going for a full-blown centralized model or something in between. One participant said, my VPSA champion centralization, and made it clear it would happen.Then the conversation shifted to how we can make this happen smoothly.

I wouldn’t say that if it’s you that are shepherding the centralization, you as in, if you’re not a vice president, that it won’t happen. But the majority of respondents said that if it wasn’t the vice president’s idea that they were very much the chief spokesperson and cheerleader that this would be moving along smoothly.

[00:26:25] Josie and the podcast is also sponsored by Campus Sonar that offers unmatched insights and industry expertise to build client capabilities, helping you transform campus goals into reality. Partnerships support your team with community learning and networking, ensuring your campus stays focused on what matters: your audience and strategic vision. Campus Sonar recently hosted a webinar on audience-centric strategies to increase brand cohesion. Go visit Campus Sonar at campussonar.com to catch the recording and learn more from Dr. Liz Gross and Rebecca Stapley.

[00:27:10] So, as we think about what does success look like in student affairs, marketing, communications, we also have to think about how our goals are the same or different than our main university or college marketing and communication departments. Where does it make sense, streamlining things in student affairs? Where do we start to feel tension, and one could say, even conflict with central marketing? And what gets centralized and what doesn’t? And so, I’ll share in the show notes some things that got more specific in what got centralized and what didn’t.

It actually wasn’t a lot of social media. We’re talking more about crisis communication, newsletters, photo video, physical resources, again, like a camera, editing software, websites. This list was pretty extensive, but it’s also strategy. One respondent said it’s turning down the volume of messages to better allow for priority messaging to come through. Another says centralizing has helped reduce waste and resources and staff deliverables. Because from my perspective, student affairs, we overall we try to do a lot. Our heart is in the right place, but sometimes we actually might overproduce. And that production might be less quality than necessary, both in the amount of social media, emails, surveys, programs. But again, our heart is in the right place, if we could actually get to the same page in the same place and let down a little bit of what I’ll talk about in a little bit is our egos. Talk critically about funding. What’s really important is where we can start to think about what is our division as a whole really need to be successful.

And again, I am not advocating for we need to wipe out all social media accounts throughout student affairs and only have these centralized ones. Some of my favorite accounts are in department accounts. I’ve seen campus police, Instagrams that just like light me up. Campus Rec has a lot to teach us about doing video and some great TikTok stuff. I see, even in academic affairs, some vibrant Twitter accounts that are highlighting faculty scholarship and resources. And so it is not an all-or-nothing, absolutely not.

As I start to think about student affairs and marketing, again, you cannot not equate what’s happening in the larger scheme of things throughout the university. And so, as I promised, I want to talk about collaboration and communication between these two areas and three tensions that I want us to address and release in 2023.

This would be, you could say, my wishlist, my ins-and-outs list, for this as a collective. Because we have to address this tension. And it doesn’t happen at every single campus, but I’ve heard it enough from both sides of the room, whether if it’s at a student affairs-specific gathering or a client I have, or a marketing communications conference, or colleagues I’m connected with on that side. I also know those humans on both sides care deeply about the work, the students, and the campus as a whole. And I’m not just talking to those right now who are doing the daily grind of MarComm (marketing and communications). The executives need to hear this, too, because sometimes we are influenced by the leaders. We get reinforced, maybe messages, we hear about different divisions. And that can further stick our heels in the sand.

[00:31:21] So, number one, we need to address a skills gap. I’ll first talk to Student Affairs. You need strategy, not just more accounts. You need advanced skills, not just another student affairs conference. Don’t give MarComm to an undergrad, a grad student, or even a new professional who enjoys writing,social media, orgraphic design and expect them to represent the brand of the campus or know how to build strategy or evaluate it. They can be coached and they can definitely be part of the advising process. But in student affairs, we have to get better at telling our story, not just on the screen with output, but in the data afterwards.

All those learning outcomes, assessment, and scholarship you do in programs you got to do for your marketing methods, too. And no surprise, this is why I created the Digital Community Building Cohort, don’t hope that your next national or annual conference in student affairs is going to give you a robust toolkit to effectively and efficiently manage social media. I’m sorry, it’s just not. I’ve gone to enough of these conferences, and it’s usually me that are doing the sessions. You might see a cool session on TikTok or maybe like one that I’m doing about centralizing marketing and student affairs, but what you really need is hard skill sets and support, and it’s going to take more than a session or conference to do it. So, go check out the program, learn more. Registration closes the end of January.

Okay. Marketing communications. I’ve got a message for you too. This isn’t about who has more education or not. Chances are high. You have had advanced training and things like web, design, social strategy, probably the list goes on and. But I do doubt that you’ve had the opportunity to learn about student development theories, human development, adult development, social justice frameworks, y’all. These are like the requirement for anyone that went through a master’s program in student affairs. I could recite from memory Chickerings checking vectors and many others. But not just memorizing. That’s not necessary. I think there’s a huge gap in opportunity. If marketing professionals knew more from a developmental angle what teens and young adults are going through mentally, physically, and psychosocially. It would greatly aid your communication strategies, holistically. I’ll drop a couple links in the show notes. Heck one’s even a fun graphic where you can start to dig in. All right. Number two, is letting go of you all’s egos, student affairs. The brand is not student affairs. In the end, it’s the university or college. Take a breath with me. I’m not talking about fundraising or development here.

I know you may need a different approach and I’m also not talking about logo and approved colors or fonts. I find student affairs can get pretty territorial cause it sucks, but there’s a lack of resources. And I get it. You may feel felt burned or judged by central marketing, or maybe you’ve been intimidated to reach out. You may not attend the same meetings. Your offices are on opposite sides of campus. But what I know about both you all is your experienced relationship builders. Take this episode as your challenge. Reach out to just one person that does something similar to you in campus marketing and communications.

[00:35:19] Finally, my loves, student affairs. You all don’t need another account, especially not a TikTok, especially if you live in a state where it’s banned, or your campus already has a central account. And please do a huge favor to marketing colleagues and train your students, including clubs and organization on best practices. I even get people to set up approval processes , for social media, just like you do when a club or, or has to register, make it a requirement in order for them to get funding from student government. Just blend it in to other processes you have and apply something like that for your departments and programs too.

Does each residence hall really need their own Instagram or could one that was tasked to a full-time pro in residence life who’s consistently posting and trained reach even more people and make an impact? And to my friends in marketing communications, I need to ask you, are you exhausted? Are you tired? Are you frustrated and overhunting down people for their marketing mistakes., Tthe new accounts that are created, and watching their every movement, making these people close accounts? It sounds kind of aggressive and exhausting. I want you just to ask, is this actually your job or did you put pressure on yourself to be this brand police?

[00:36:54] I want to add a new item to your to-do list in ‘23. I-R-L Relationship builder. Do you know the org chart or various departments of student affairs? And trust me, I get it. Every division I work with, I have to take a look at it cuz they’re all different. But there is a lot of different departments and programs and probably with a lot of confusing acronyms. I would encourage you to meet with one person each month in 23 from Student Affairs and just go in asking lots of questions, what they offer, maybe how you collaborate or share their good work. And if they happen to have social accounts or marketing strategies, you could give them a little coaching, suggest some simple stuff at first, how to improve their Instagram bio or a trick that you just learned on Canva.

And then, if there is something more significant that they really are, maybe aggressively going against brand guidelines, mention it with kindness in how to improve it and how you could help.

Okay. Last one. Is share your secret sauce. Student affairs, you know, students intimately, maybe more than you want to. You were there in the middle of the night in an emergency. A late-night event. You’ve seen a student from the day that they came to orientation until they walked across that stage. You have the in-person pulse at scale, and there is actually a gap for marketing and communications at the centralized level.

They may not be at all events, meetings, or have student engagement advanced training like you have. How can you embrace and educate your colleagues? To help them improve their communication strategies in real-time. And my marketing and communication fam, I need you all to teach social listening at scale. Because you all know it. You have the pulse of the online community. You know how to cut through the clutter when not to get heightened by a couple tweets versus when something does needed to be learned from and acted on.

Sometimes in student affairs, we see one thing, and we want to jump in right away. But beyond just crisis, collectively, how can you work together to build digital community, whether if that’s on Instagram, a Discord server, or any other tool that’s coming, we want to connect student engagement strategies and outcomes in a marketing and communication strategic plan that goes into any division. A and you can be coaches and mentors in this process for staff and for students and not just the brand police. So how can we start to have strategic conversations that integrate the student life cycle into the marketing cycle? If your are primarily marketing and social channels are for recruitment, well, then we need to talk about how, after we recruit all that amazing class and people, how we can then connect them to student success, engagement, and activity accounts. And don’t forget alumni affairs in that student life cycle too. In close. No. No matter what pocket of campus your current position is housed, we are all meant to be community builders. Don’t let your title or the name of your division get in the way of.

[00:40:33] While I started in student affairs and endure my colleagues and even those associations and conferences I’m part of, I am very thankful for the relationships and skills I’ve developed because I’ve stepped outta that bubble of student affairs. And to that, I would offer that same guidance to both student affairs and central marketing and communicationn. pPros listening. Don’t keep insular, tap into knowledge, experience, skills, and honestly, the huge hearts of people in other divisions. And I know my student affairs colleagues sure have them. And if I can connect and be a connector for anyone on any side of the aisle, please let me know. It’s one of So what are my favorite things to do.

And one of the easiest ways to do this is by subscribing to some podcasts from colleagues in other divisions. And so I want to leave you today with a few to get started of course, these are linked in the show notes. So student affairs, we’ve got SA Nowessay now with hosts like my friend Keith Edwards and Heather Shea and their newest host who was a guest on this podcast early on Mamta Accapadi.month to Akapati.

There’s NASPA, SA um, essay Voices from the Field hosted by Jill Creighton, and then student affairs.com has the One Thing Ppodcast, and those podcast episodes are like eight minutes. So, those are quick. But no surprise, marketing Communications has a law of podcasts, and so let me drop a few of that Thought Feeder with Joel Goodman and John Steven Stanszel.

JS was on this podcast, Ttrusted Voices with Theresa Parrot and ErinAaron Hennessy. Confessions of a Hhigher Ed, C M O withat Jamie Hunt, servant marketer with Jenny Petty. Also, a previous guest. Tthe Application with Corynn Meyers and Higher Voltage. But there’s also podcasts in all other pockets from academic affairs, admissions, teaching, and learning. A couple to drop Admissions Leadership podcast by Ken AnsSelman and then teaching in higher ed. Again, find all of those in the show notes.

[00:42:43] So what’s next for marketing and communications, whether you’re student affairs or in those central offices? Overall, the data shows that it can be segmented. Everybody’s feeling stretched, and I do find we’re kind of misunderstood.

Maybe that’s where I feel like my role is sometimes trying to communicate and clarify. Aacross all divisions w. We’re going to need higher level of from senior administrators to help us focus on retention resources and overall support. Taking it back to my research on student affairs marketing, my research has just begun. Next, I’m going to be creating a benchmark rubric, creating a job description database and toolkit for centralizing in student affairs. And I’m hoping to make this an annual benchmark. Don’t be surprised if you hear on a podcast episode later this spring when I’m launching the 2023 study, and I would very much appreciate your support.

[00:43;45] All in all, no surprise, I’m here to help. I can educate divisions, whether it’s marketing communications or student affairs, executives, and I do more than just keynotes many times or full days or multi-days coaching behind the scenes. And then, of course, semester and year-long consulting. And don’t forget about that cohort, did you cohort mastermind class to advance your social media strategy and we start February 1st.

[00:44:14] Thank you for joining me in the shorty episode of Josie and the podcast. Join the conversation online. You can find me at Josie Ahlquist and the podcast on Twitter. Is Josie at podcast and now on Instagram at Josie and the Podcast. Remember, show notes can be found. Josie ahlquist.com/podcast. Make sure you are subscribed.

Share it like it, love it, and pretty please drop a number of you. I would appreciate it. If you’re interested in learning more about my speaking or consulting work on digital engagement and leadership, or my book Digital Leadership in Higher and Education, check me at josieahlquist.com. Thank you again to a podcast sponsors Campus Sonar and the producers of the show, Alumni FM.

I’m sending digital hugs, loves and waves to whatever corner of the world you’re listening in from. This has been Josie and the Podcast.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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