I remember when I was interviewing to join the Web Comm team to work on iTunes U, one question they asked me, as many employers do, was “Why do you want this job?” I responded, “You want to pay me to tell people how awesome The University of Oklahoma is. I already do this for free. Plus, it will better our students’ learning experience? What better job could there be?” (Answer: there isn’t one.)
It sounds so simple, but once that responsibility actually gets written out in a job description, becomes tied to a salary, and has some real-life expectations tied to it, it becomes a bit different.
When we are responsible for the representation of the University at an ‘official’ level, we need to be intentional, responsible, and conscious of what message it is we’re trying to express. When we hold the image of the University in our hands, that responsibility takes on a new meaning. We want to tell the WHOLE story of the University, because the whole of the University is great. Our students do amazing things; our faculty provide incredible benefits to our community through their research and through their teaching; our staff devote themselves to the development of students and to the operation of the enterprise – we need to let people know about these things!
With this responsibility in mind, here are some questions I think are useful to ask when we wish to tell our story:
What story are we telling?
This one is pretty easy: we all have amazing things going on; let’s tell the world! Did you know that we have students performing world-leading (literally) research right here on campus?! Did you know that we have faculty members who have worked for the UN?! Did you know that we have faculty and staff members who are presidentially-appointed to federal committees!? This stuff is ridiculous! If WE don’t even know this as a university community, why should we expect people beyond Norman to know? This is where we come in as marketing professionals at a university. Our students, faculty and staff deserve this recognition, and the University deserves to receive the accolades that come with such high-profile people and activities. Something is going on in your department that the world needs to know; tell the story!
Whose story are we telling?
Obviously, the university is made of numerous departments, colleges, etc., but each of these individual units are a part of the Sooner family. Our individual stories are but pieces of the whole, and they all tie back to the university. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – but the whole isn’t complete without any of those parts. As pieces of the university we should always tell our stories, but always within the framework of the university. As much as we deserve glory for the wonderful work that goes on in our units, this is all done as a part of the University of Oklahoma, an institution we’re lucky to be associated with!
Why are we telling the story?
The main reason I think we tell the story of the university is because it benefits our students, and they’re the entire reason we exist. Without our students, there would be no University of Oklahoma, and we wouldn’t be here! We tell the story because we build the reputation of the University, which opens up opportunities for our students. We tell the story because we gain more support from the community, which again opens up opportunities for our students. Our students need to know the blessing they have to be called Sooners, to understand the history of what it is to be a University of Oklahoma student, and why they should care. It’s our job to help them recognize this.
We tell the story because it’s a story worth telling. The University of Oklahoma is an amazing place, with awesome people, awesome projects, and awesome stories to tell. Let’s make sure the world knows it just as well as we do!
A man of many talents, Brandt is the member of our team in charge of iTunes U. He received both his B.A. and Masters from OU, and after a two-year hiatus, he is very glad to be back on campus!
Brandt manages the iTunes U team and continually seeks out new and interesting ways to represent the University through well-produced videos. He is very excited to showcase the many aspects of campus that make OU outstanding as an innovative research institution.
A master woodworker and lawn-scaper, Brandt is a jack of all trades! We’re very excited to have him on our team!
WebComm partnered with EduBlogs, an education-centric blogging platform, to offer a safe, secure, and well-supported blogging solution. Essentially, it is a multisite WordPress install managed by WebComm and with support from EduBlogs. The blogs are now available to colleges, divisions, and administrative departments upon request. Blogs are a great way to feature new releases, outstanding students/faculty/staff, resources, and events. Here is an overview of the tool and resources:
Here are some new, not-so-new and just plain cool resources we’ve found lately to help you be productive, promote something or just have fun. What have you seen lately that would help departments, student organizations and groups on campus? Be innovative – think about what’s already out there to meet your needs!
Web Communications and Information Technology are partners. We work to provide the resources and tools your college, department, or division needs. Here is an outline of some of our services: