All posts tagged “higher ed

comment 0

What Hill Are You Willing to Die on?


It’s time for me to draw a line.

Could you hear the dramatic music swell as you wondered where my line is? I could. (Yes, I have my own personal soundtrack. It’s usually in my head).

This year, in order to use our website as a tool to market better to prospective students, I’m going through a bit of a content audit. I’ve made the determination that a unified content strategy – FOR ALL SECTIONS OF THE WEBSITE – will allow us to serve an extremely important stakeholder group more effectively. Focusing on prospective students, however, doesn’t remove our obligations to current students, faculty, graduates, donors, staff, and the like, so I’ll be working on ways to help all the people use the site better.

That determination brought me to an epiphany. I’m a regular person, and reading the content on our site, I realized that much of it is lawyer-speak. Academic-speak. Professor-speak.


BAM. [Dramatic music swells]

I found my Battle of San Juan Hill. I found the spot that could be the greatest victory of my career in web work for a law school.

I declared war on obtuse, words that obfuscate our meaning, create misunderstandings, and alienate our stakeholders.

Words. Just. Like. Those.

It’s sad that – in academia where we’re supposed to be making a positive impact for students who come to us seeking fedex generic viagra to enrich themselves – we insist on using words like matriculate and promulgate and experiential learning. That’s contrary to our collective mission as higher education institutions.

So, I’m hopping up on my horse and playing Teddy Roosevelt for a bit. We’re talking like humans at Bowen – not attorneys. It’s strategic, it’s professional, and it will help even more students – and through them, more clients – access to the justice system. You see, if people can’t understand what you’re talking about, how can they take advantage of the system they’re inherently excluded from? How can students help those who are disenfranchised if they communicate in a way that’s confused and confusing, simply because they’ve been taught that communicating in that fashion is not only acceptable but expected in their profession?

Ensuring that Bowen’s website uses simpler language will, in my mind, simply be a fulfillment of all three of our core values – professionalism, public service, and access to justice.

I’ve found my San Juan Hill, and making these changes in the Bowen site will probably be a bloody battle, but I don’t intend to die on this hill.

What’s your San Juan Hill for the coming academic year?


Tonya Oaks Smith is the Director of Communications at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and co-founder of Higher Ed Solo.


comment 0

What is this #Strategycar Thing, Anyway?

If you’re anywhere around Twitter on Friday afternoons, you can’t miss Alaina Wiens and her new #strategycar. We’re all pretty excited about the things we’ve seen coming out from this real-time Twitter chat, which happens each Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

We caught up to @alainawiens to hear more about #strategycar, and we encourage everyone – but especially Armies of One – to tune in soon!

What is #strategycar?

#strategycar, as it currently exists, is a weekly Twitter chat where higher ed communicators can talk strategy. Topics might include social media, content, marketing, web, analytics, writing, or anything, really. Whenever there’s a conversation to be had about how we can better approach our jobs in a strategic way, I hope that #strategycar can be a resource for people.

Where did the idea for it come from?

Boiled down, the idea came from a conversation about social media strategy in my car on the way back from #PSUWeb13. Nick DeNardis and Ma’ayan Plaut road-tripped with me, and we had some of the best conversations on the way home. During a period when Nick was driving, I tweeted about our experience, and Ron Bronson tagged it #strategycar. I then fantasized about taking my car around the country, picking up various higher ed professionals, and picking their brains. I don’t have a budget for that, but I do have Twitter. (Full story)

How frequently do you do #strategycar? What if someone misses an episode?

So far, they’ve happened once a week on Friday afternoons, 3 p.m. EST. If people continue to participate and get value from the conversation on a weekly basis, I’ll try and keep that up.

How why are there two bath tubs in the cialis commercial do you choose your topics? Can people make suggestions?

Sometimes the topics come from a particular challenge I’m having at work. Sometimes people ask if we can talk about a topic. Sometimes someone suggests a topic and then I let them drive the #strategycar. I really do want it to be a tool for the whole community. If I’m not around to host the chat, I love that it can go on without me.

What have you learned from #strategycar?

This is my first experience hosting a Twitter chat, and I’ve been surprised at how much I’m learning by just listening. This shouldn’t be surprising to me, right? We preach this about social media all the time, that we need to be good listeners. This higher ed community is filled with some passionate, smart people. I love hearing what they have to say.

What do you hope others learn from it?

I hope others leave #strategycar chats remembering that they’re not doing their jobs alone, even if they’re the only ones in their institutions working in a particular role. Our community is an invaluable resource, and the main thing to learn from #strategycar is just how much there is to be learned from others.

Anything else you’d like to add?

In the future, I hope to have a home on the web for archived #strategycar conversations, and a place for submitting topic ideas. Until then, feel free to tweet me (@alainawiens) any time. I’m not opposed to emergency #strategycar sessions, or handing the #strategycar over to someone else when it’s needed. Also, thanks to Ma’ayan Plaut for being as excited about this as I am.

comment 0

Where Has the Time Gone?

About a year ago, we started out on the journey called Higher Ed Solo. If you want the whole story, watch our first video post. Long story short, we wanted to make a place for interviews with, resources for, and reinforcement for the Armies of One that we knew were out there in droves.

We’ve gotten a boatload of positive reinforcement in the past year. We’ve made new friends and learned that we have lots of the same problems – no matter if we’re working as a solo in higher ed or on a team of 20. We need to work on communication with stakeholders and co-workers. We need to find a quicker, more cost-effective way to do ALL THE THINGS. That’s where Higher Ed Solo has tried to fill in the holes, and we’d like to think big teams and solo practitioners can learn from the stuff we talk about here.

So, the time has come to take our little piece of the interwebs to a greater audience. That’s why we’re so happy to announce that we’ll be working with EDUniverse and Higher Ed Live on a new channel – SoloLive.


We’ll be on the Higher Ed Live network beginning in July at 1 p.m. Eastern (noon Central) on the third Wednesday of each month. Our show will air once a month to begin, and we anticipate moving to twice a month in January 2014.

That means our first show is on July 17. EEP!

For SoloLive, we’ll be running the gamut on the sorts of issues people are facing day to day generic viagra in their jobs. How to “do it all” is a common theme among the solo set, and we face it ourselves everyday. We’ll talk about how to manage these things and not just talking about them from 25,000 feet as we might do on the blog, but we’ll use the show as a way to really get deeper with guests and give people takeaways. If folks are going to join us for their lunch period, we ought to give them something they can take with them that might be useful as soon as that afternoon. It’s a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.

We envision structuring the show more like a conference session in a mini-format – with questions – than a show where the viewers sit and listen. We want you all involved because we’ve also learned that the community has lots of good ideas and resources.

We’ll talk about things ranging from how to use social media better to specific tools. We will bring in guests – from small and large teams and solo shops – who can lend expertise to the conversation. As you know, being #armiesofone is hard work and we’ll need you contributing and participating to make it a worthwhile experience. But we’re excited to bring the best of higher ed to you in this new format in the hopes of expanding the conversations.

Over the past year, we’ve met so many of you all at conferences all over the country and doing so has really inspired us. Thanks for everything and we hope you join us for this new adventure!