Renewal and Rediscovery: two ideas I can get behind.

The UCDA Design Summit is scheduled for March 29-31, 2012. I feel fortunate to be participating in this annual event and, behind the scenes, I’ve been working with one of the program chairs, Christine Prado. Early on, I was struck by Christine’s description of the conference theme. Renewal and rediscovery are two ideas I can get behind.

Here’s the focus for the 2012 UCDA Design Summit:

Many of us have found our roles at our institutions to be completely different than the ones we were hired to do. How we manage to grow and change in those roles is the difference between success and frustration. But how to make that change when you’ve got a stack of projects, endless approvals and emails waiting for your attention? How can you use design thinking to help your institution rise above?

UCDA can help. Come to the Mission Inn in California for renewal and rediscovery. Learn how to harness the power of collaboration, design and inspiration to create happier teams, smarter workflows and a better future for you at your institution.

Renewal and rediscovery speak to me. First, because my background is organizational and team development and I believe strongly in the professional development that comes from work teams. The best motivation for enhancing your skills is an environment where there are shared goals, a commitment to excellence, and work to be done. For years, I’ve watched as the power of cross functional teams provides an opportunity for an individual to learn by doing. It just works. As for me, I choose potential.

If you’re interested, here are the summaries of the two presentations I’ll offer at the upcoming UCDA Design Summit:

  1. Making the case for a creative services department on your campus.
    The communication paradigm continues to shift. Essentially we’re all trying to figure out a way to get a bunch of great people with different skills on the same team doing exceptional work telling the story of our college or university. So how do you take separate organizations and merge them into one high-performance engine of creativity? What steps do you take to blend web and publications into a creative services team? We’ll talk about an approach where you forget the past, ignore the present, and imagine the future. And, we’ll walk through a case study of a prospective student mailing project that demonstrates how a medium-agnostic team can come together to accomplish incredible creative.
  2. Changing roles in communication departments: what’s social media got to do with it?
    For the best results: everything is connected to everything else. Social media is most effective when it is a part of an integrated brand strategy and tightly linked to other communication initiatives. And these days, Twitter and Facebook are not just the purview of social media strategists. More case study discussion will demonstrate how you incorporate social media channels into key communication projects. And, while you’re at it, you might as well use social media for your own renewal and rejuvenation as you meet the challenges of new roles and responsibilities on your campus.

If you plan to attend, you can early bird until February 13, 2012. But the best deal available is registration before 2011 ends. If you register by December 31, the fee is reduced by $100. Pass this on to any “designers” you know, or to your boss!


Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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