Meet the One: Kim Cooley
Kim Cooley is web writer and designer at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. She’s been on my radar as an Army of One since I had a radar on this kind of thing. We’ve talked about working by ourselves a lot. I’m originally from Louisiana and pretty familiar with the Mississippi Delta, so I know how being responsible for almost everything is compounded occasionally by locality.
Kim is an awesome lady, and if you don’t follow her on Twitter, remedy that now! Also, check out the Fear the Okra shorts from Delta State on YouTube (one is embedded below).
I asked Kim a few questions to kick off our Meet the One series…
Tell us a little bit about your job. What does it encompass?
That’s a tricky question. My actual title is Web Writer/Designer, and of course those are two of my primary responsibilities. I also serve as the online community manager for Delta State and administer all social outlets. Additionally, I work to maintain Delta State’s online brand image consistently across public platforms and work closely with IT on bringing over elements of Delta State’s brand to areas such as portals, mobile apps, etc. I also assist in writing policies for my respective areas.
Tell us about your school. How many students, where is it located, etc?
Delta State University is located in Cleveland, Miss., right in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and serves over 4,000 students.
Tell me how the Fighting Okra videos got started…
Our team knew we needed to bring more awareness to the University but didn’t necessarily want to do it in a traditional way per se. So, we solicited advice from our students, partnered with ad agency, Mad Genius (Jackson, Miss.), brought on a bunch of student actors and help and made it happen.
What is your biggest challenge as a solo practitioner in higher ed?
Time. Finding the time to balance between expectations, new and creative projects that I’d like to see through, and simply getting what needs to be done today (right now) which usually outweighs the former two. My partner in crime, Web Content Coordinator Caitlyn Thompson definitely pulls the load on web projects, but it’s still so much more we’d like to do, yet so little time and resources to do them.
What has been your biggest win? What resources did you bring in to help gain that?
I’d have to say our success in creating and maintaining a solid online community. Students see what we do as an additional means of service to them and a trusted space to socialize with their peers. Delta State’s really only been in the social networking game for roughly two years now, but given the amount of engagement and service, you’d think that we’d had a presence far longer than that. In fact, our online community was the driving force behind the success of the Fear The Okra videos. All of the sharing was because of them. We posted each video once, and they took it from there. As far as resources, I’d have to definitely tip the hat to our University Administration for trusting me to lead the way and dive in head first. Social networking in higher ed can be scary and while most administrators would want to keep a tight grip on it, ours at Delta State have been more than supportive. Our student body has always been involved.
The Who – Tie between the Delta State community and students in general and Dr. Michelle Roberts, my VP (University Relations). She’s the force that reminds me to not rule out projects that can really make a difference and impact the University positively simply because I may or may not be able to see the resources required to make it happen. She’s not one to let you give up easily, and will push even when you don’t want to be pushed; in fact, she’ll drag you along for the ride until you come to terms with the fact that there is no changing her mind. She has the eyes that see past the immediate future and makes sure that you do too.
The What – The annual Higher Education Web Conference in Arkansas. The encouragement and wisdom floating around is ridiculously awesome. Conversations I’ve had the past two years with my professional peers who live the life I live everyday can’t even be put into words.
What will be your next big project?
Completely (extra emphasis on completely) overhauling the Delta State website from ground up and really focus on truly selling Delta State University and working closely with the University’s newly formed Student Success Center.
Break a leg on that overhaul, Kim! We look forward to seeing what develops.