Working in highered means that we have many different audiences to support and dozens of stories to tell. Sitting at your desk stagnates your ability to effectively talk to these groups. Amanda Smith from Illinois State University wants highered professionals to work “Beyond The Screen” to connect better with end users.
“I’m not really in college anymore although I work at one, and I’m not a professor and I’m not a parent,” says Amanda. “But I’m supposed to be able to connect with all of those audiences. I can start with the data and my memories of college but that is so far removed from what works.”
Looking at visitor traffic and other indicators can offer some direction for content development but Amanda strongly suggests getting out into the real world. Take a class (especially if free for staff!), help at campus events, support university issues, help with search committees, attend sports, play with your co-workers etc. If you don’t understand your campus you are stuck with general ideas and stereotypes and both of those fail miserably at helping prospective students connect to your school.
“If you get to see your campus through new eyes, you can tell the story better,” she says “Be proactive. If you’re not going to try to make your content relevant to the best and brightest out there, know that I am trying to do that!”