Two things I learned as a Girl Scout still stick with me all these years later.
- A Girl Scout is always prepared.
- A Girl Scout always leaves a place better than she found it.
These two mottos work for life, for love, and more relevant here, for those who make their living managing the web on college campuses.
We’ve all lived it. Colleges and universities are hot beds for difficulties associated with web governance, commitment to resources for quality web work, and executive support and decision making for web strategy. On the best of days, your executive sponsor refers to your website as the key element of your university communication plan. On the worst, you are saddled with a 20-person committee that is mostly interested in stonewalling progress and not convinced that standards and best practices are relevant for your campus. Sound familiar?
Web communication blogs and conference programs are chock-full of posts and abstracts that include these catch phrases:
- getting consensus
- achieving buy-in
- design by committee
In the past five years, every conference, regional event, workshop and general higher ed meeting I’ve attended has also included after-hours conversations (ruminations?) about how hard it is to do what needs to be done with the web at PutYourU here.
So what’s a web professional to do?
I say: Be prepared and leave a place better than you found it.
If you’re skeptical about this advice, stay tuned. I’ll be writing a series of posts that will offer advice, suggestions and ideas for tackling the challenges and issues faced by web professionals just trying to do the right thing in higher ed. The first post (tomorrow?) will address … identifying and training your executive sponsor. After that, web governance and advisory committees.