2013 Communications Conference for Senior Professionals

2013 AASCU Communications Conference for Senior Professionals

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 to Thursday, April 4, 2013
Washington, D.C.

The new normal is upon us! Budgets are down but expectations to effectively “tell our story” remain high. Pressure is building to improve legislative relations, promote the institutional brand, and assist in fundraising. All the while, social media is growing, changing and demanding attention to protect and integrate our messaging. How can we elevate our role as the chief communicator for our institution? How do we ensure that we're included in conversations and strategy sessions at the highest levels?

About the Conference

This conference is designed especially for senior public relations and marketing professionals at schools that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Schedule top

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions

9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
The Storytelling Animal

In this talk, Jonathan Gottschall leads a guided tour through the literature library and the science lab to show why storytelling is such a uniquely powerful form of persuasive jujitsu. This talk zooms out to reveal the big picture of story’s role in human life, and then zooms in on specific communications challenges, and how thinking like a storyteller can help us solve them. How can stories be used to rivet attention, rouse emotion, and influence behavior? What lessons can we learn from the masters of world fiction? Why are fact-based stories more persuasive than facts alone? People are storytelling animals, and the surest way to change one mind or the whole world always begins with “Once upon a time.”

Presenter: Jonathan Gottschall, Author, Literary Scholar, and Adjunct Professor at Washington and Jefferson College

10:30 a.m. -10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m.-Noon
You and Your President

What makes and effective relationship between you and your president or chancellor? Does he or she view you as a strategist? Do you have mutual expectations? A panel of campus CEOs and their chief communications officers will talk about these and other aspects of their relationship that can make a significant difference for your college or university.

Presenters: Daniel S. Papp, president, and Arlethia Perry-Johnson, Vice President for External Affairs, Kennesaw State University (Ga.); Richard H. Wells, Chancellor, and Jamie Ceman, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Noon-1 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.
The Role of Communications in Relationship Building

Building relationships has increasingly become an important part of the portfolio for communications officers. How do you build effective relationships with crucial stakeholders on behalf of your institution? In the age of social media are there new rules? Bob Garfield, one of the premier thought leaders in marketing and advertising, will talk about the human element in the work of the chief communications officer.

Presenter: Bob Garfield, Marketing and Advertising Analyst, and Blogger and Editor-at-Large for Advertising Age

2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
The Rock Star Communicator

What makes an influential communicator? What are the characteristics of a “rock star” chief communications officer? Learn more from someone who makes these assessments on a daily basis and find out from a “coach” how you can take your game to the next level.

Presenters: Matthew J. Kilcoyne, Vice President and Senior Consultant, R.H. Perry & Associates: Search Counsel to Higher Education; Dr. Jennifer Wyatt, President, Her Executive Coach

4 p.m. -5:30 p.m.

Network with colleagues, view the “best practices” showcase, and interact with the editors of Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Dine with other attendees at Old Ebbit Grill or have dinner on your own

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Moderated Roundtable Discussions & Buffet Breakfast

Discussions will focus on the following topics:
  • Managing Up – A Must for Influential Communicators
  • Student Outreach – What’s Our Role?
  • YouTube – Friend or Foe for Universities
  • Traditional Media Is Dead. Now What?
  • Integrated Marketing – Sharing Best Practices
  • Help! We Have a Crisis! – Sharing Our Stories
  • Digital for Dummies – Sharing Our Tech Expertise

9:30 a.m. -10:45 a.m.
Crisis Management: A Leadership Challenge

The Columbine High School and Virginia Tech tragedies shattered the perception that violence against students and staff was limited to urban school settings. Now, in the wake of another series of horrible school and university incidents, we are faced with the challenges of ensuring our students and staff are safe and our facilities secure. When a crisis hits, senior communications staff are often the voice of reason in navigating the university’s response. Rick Kaufman speaks from experience having dealt with the Columbine High School crisis. This fast-paced presentation provides leaders with practical knowledge to improve their communication skills in building relationships within their work environment and communities.

Presenter: Rick J. Kaufman, APR, Executive Director of Community Relations and Emergency Management, Bloomington Public Schools

10:45 a.m. -11:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m. – 12:15
Reputation Management and Social Media

Social media has interjected a new—and challenging—element into the practice of reputation management. How do your protect your university’s reputation when an unfavorable post pops up and perhaps goes viral; do you step in or let it run its course? How do you respond if your president or chancellor tells you to take it down? This session will offer a case study and guidelines for best practice.

Presenters: Lori Croy, Director of Web Communications, University of Missouri – Columbia; Kyle Lacy, Principal, Marketing Research & Education, ExactTarget

12:15 p.m.—1:15 p.m. p.m.
Networking Lunch & Discussion

1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Facebook: Beyond Friends and Family

Facebook can be an effective communications tool to help you achieve your advancement and advocacy goals. Learn how to spur action and build a following through effective use of this social networking website.

Presenter: George Alafoginis, Client Partner, Facebook

2:30 p.m. -2:45 p.m.

2:45 p.m. -4:15 p.m.
Social Media and Crisis Communications

This session will focus on case studies of campus social media incidents: how were they handled; what worked, what didn’t; how to prepare for social media crisis. Session will also offer social media tips in dealing with other crises.

Presenters: Jason Simon, Director of Marketing and Communication Services, University of California; Jim Coll, Chief Communications Officer, University of Southern Mississippi; Walter Kraft, Vice President for Communications, Eastern Michigan University

4:15 p.m.
Conference Wrap-up

Thursday, April 4

Visits to media outlets covering higher education and national news will be scheduled between 10-11:30 a.m. This is an optional activity and conference registrants will receive more information about the process for participation after January 2013. There is no additional registration fee required.


Fees top

AASCU Members:
Early registration - $495
Registration after March 20, 2013 - $540

Early registration - $640
Registration after March 20, 2013 - $685


The conference will be held at the AASCU office building, 1307 New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Registration Information top

How to Register
Please select among the three options below:

  • OPTION 1:
    Express Online Registration
    NOTE: The discount for AASCU members is automatically applied once they proceed to checkout.
    Please click this LOGIN HELP if you have trouble using the online registration form.

  • OPTION 2:
    Register via the downloadable registration form, to be mailed or faxed in.
    Download Form (pdf)

    Email Shirley Dockett at docketts@aascu.org or call at (202) 478-4663

Accommodations top

March 19, 2013 UPDATE:

The deadline to register at the Henley Park Hotel was March 5. Attendees who still need to book rooms will not be able to do so at the conference rate. Attendees who need a hotel room should contact Danita Young at youngd@aascu.org.

Alternatively, attendees may book a stay at other local hotels (prices will vary hotel to hotel). Please note that AASCU has made no agreements with the following properties; they are provided as a resource only.

Click on the hotel name to visit their website.

Located two blocks from AASCU's offices.

Hilton Garden Inn:
Located two blocks from AASCU's offices.

Hamilton Crown Plaza:
Located three and a half blocks from AASCU's offices.

Sheraton Four Points:
Located three and a half blocks from AASCU's offices.

Marriott Metro Center:
Located two and a half blocks from AASCU's offices.

Grand Hyatt
Located four blocks from AASCU's offices.


Conference attendees will stay at the Henley Park Hotel, a 10-12 minute walk from the AASCU office building.

Henley Park Hotel
926 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 638-5200

Room Rate: $189 (Plus 14.5% tax)

Cutoff for conference rate is March 5, 2013

Make your reservations directly with the hotel by calling
(202) 414-0503 or 1-800-222-8474; or

Reserve online by going to henleypark.com and enter the group code AASCUSS 


Optional Activities top

Thursday, April 4

Optional Event:
Visits to media outlets covering higher education and national news will be scheduled between 10-11:30 a.m. This is an optional activity and conference registrants will receive more information about the process for participation after January 2013. There is no additional registration fee required.

Cancellation & Refund Policytop

Cancellations received in writing by noon, March 22, 2013 will be fully refunded. After March 22, 2013 a $150 cancellation fee will be charged and deducted from all refunds. Cancellations received after March 29, 2013 forfeit the entire registration fee.


Planning Committee

2013 Communications Conference - Planning Committee