2012 Communications Conference

Think Creatively web banner

Monday, March 5, 2012 to Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Washington, D.C.

Do you feel like your creative side needs a boost? Have you become more administrator than creative communicator?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you should plan to attend the 2012 AASCU Senior Communicators Conference, Think Creatively! Solving Communication Challenges by Embracing New Ideas. Given the challenges your university is undoubtedly facing, your creative, innovative leadership is needed more than ever before.

About the Conference

Set aside two days to spend time with your peers from around the country discussing how you feed your creative side. Learn from colleagues how to develop creative collaborations on your campus. Spend time networking and discussing your challenges and successes. You’ll leave the conference renewed and inspired!

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.

comm12 - Special Opportunity call out  

Schedule top


8:15 a.m.– 9 a.m.

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

9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Creative People Must Be Stopped
Everybody wants innovation—or do they? In Creative People Must Be Stopped Owens will discuss how individuals and organizations sabotage their own best intentions to encourage "outside the box" thinking. It shows that the antidote to this self-defeating behavior is to identify which of six major types of constraints are hindering innovation. Once innovators and other leaders understand exactly which constraints are working against them and how to overcome them, they can create conditions that foster innovation instead of stopping it in its tracks.

Presenter: David A. Owens, author and professor for the Practice of Management and Innovation, Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

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

10:45 a.m.-Noon
Creative Collaborations
How can collaboration between communications professionals and other departments on campus assist in effectively telling your college or university story.

Presenters: Shari Ellertson, Director of Policy Analysis and Planning, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Stephen Ward, Executive Director of University Communications, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Noon-1 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Energizing Your Personal Creativity
Ready to burnish your creativity and discover strategies to enhance your work performance? This session features: 1) insights and methods on how you can develop a framework for energizing personal creativity, and 2) specific actions to nourish your creative wellspring and position it to enhance your contributions as a university leader.

Presenter: Donna Vincent Roa, Managing Partner & Chief Strategist, Vincent Roa Group

2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
Video: Moving Beyond the Basics
Learn how to tell your story in a way that makes an emotional connection. A multi-talented videographer and director with both television and film experience will show you how to improve your messaging and story telling through video. (Conference participants will be asked to send clips to be included in his presentation.)
Presenter: Jeff Pohorski, video producer, UW-Whitewater

4 p.m. -5:30 p.m.
Network with colleagues, make new friends and participate in the gift drawings.

Dinner on Your Own


8 a.m.-9 a.m.
Moderated Roundtable Discussions & Buffet Breakfast
  • Hosting Political Candidates on Campus: Good for Public Profile or Potential Boondoggle?
  • The Role of the University Marketing Department in Prospective Student Outreach
  • Utilizing YouTube: Navigating the Middle Ground Between Amateur and Slick
  • Creative Ways to Bypass Traditional Media to Promote Your Institution
  • Under Pressure: Best Practices in Crisis Communications 
  • Stakeholders and the World of Digital Outreach
  • Barraged! Tips for Discovering, Learning, Using and Managing the Technological Tools that Inform Our Work
  • Strategies in Integrated Marketing and Communications
    Learn about and discuss the strategic tools put in place at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and hear about the ongoing on-campus collaboration that is keeping their brand consistent and relevant, and earned them the AMA Higher Education Marketer of the Year – Team award
9:15 a.m. -10:30 a.m.
Unleash Your Creative Potential
The faster things change the stronger your creative thinking and problem-solving skills need to be. Grivas will discuss the
FourSight approach that will help you learn how to focus your creative thinking in order to respond to situations that have no easy answers or immediately apparent solutions. It will help you and your team to under-stand your unique patterns of thinking and give you the ability to manage themselves more deliberately toward accomplishing a goal. Implementing this field-tested framework demystifies the process of creativity and innovation so that any team can achieve performance breakthroughs.

Presenter: Chris Grivas, organizational and leadership development consultant and author of “The Innovative Team”

10:30 a.m. -11:45 a.m.
Building and Staffing a Strategic Social Media Program
There’s a lot to consider when planning for a strategic social media program. Venturing into new territory can raise a lot of questions:

Where do I begin?
How many hours should I allocate?
How many people will be needed?
What skills do I need to hire?

Social media is a relatively new addition to the ongoing communications programs for many organizations and the management of resources is an important part of ongoing success. This presentation will provide big picture information upon which to build a successful program that will include social media and will offer important insights to help you to determine how you will maintain your efforts over time.

Presenter: Sara Meaney, partner, Hanson Dodge Creative.

Noon-1 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Inspiration 101
Where does your inspiration come from? This will be an interactive session between panelists and conference participants.

Bob Caswell, Executive Director of Public Affairs, University of Southern Maine; Arlethia Perry-Johnson, Vice President, External Affairs, Kennesaw State University; Marc Whitt, Associate Vice President for Public Relations & Chief Communications Officer, Eastern Kentucky University; Cora Zaletel, Executive Director of External Affairs, Colorado State University - Pueblo

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

2:45 p.m. -3:45 p.m.
Social Media Measurement and ROI

With the growth of digital and social media communications comes challenges for understanding and measuring the true impact of your efforts. While social media platforms are inherently measurable, knowing what to measure and how to evaluate success requires a new level of understanding for many marketers. During this information-rich session you’ll learn how to:
  • Define what ROI really means for your specific campaigns
  • Become more exact in how you identify measurement goals and determine success
  • Utilize free online tools that can be tailored to measure your digital campaigns
  • Be an ROI reporting hero to the C-suite
After this presentation, you’ll be empowered to speak and report confidently to CFOs and Controllers about specific analytics that give you a precise ROI for your online initiatives. This presentation will give you the edge you need to move forward more powerfully into the complex world of digital marketing, analytics and ROI calculations.

Presenter: Sara Meaney, partner, Hanson Dodge Creative.

3:45 p.m. -4 p.m.
Conference Wrap-up



Special session with editors of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and Diverse magazine is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Registrants will have the option of signing up for one of these editorial visits.  

Fees top

Early registration fee for the conference is $475. Cost covers all conference activities including a buffet breakfast, two lunches and the reception.

After February 15, fee is $525.


Registration Information top

How to Register
Please select among the two options below:

  • OPTION 1:
    Express Online Registration.
    NOTE: 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

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

Conference attendees will stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, a less than 5 minute walk from the AASCU office building.

***Rooms are no longer available at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Contact Shirley Docket for information about alternative accommodations at docketts@aascu.org or call her at (202) 478-4663***

Please note: Make your hotel reservations through AASCU. As a member service, AASCU will make conference attendees hotel reservations and pay the hotel for the nights of March 3-March 7, 2012. This means attendees will pay AASCU and avoid taxes.(Individuals must pay incidentals.)

Room Rate: $279 single or double occupancy
Download hotel registration form (pdf)

HOTEL CUT-OFF: Your hotel reservations must be made by February 3, 2012 to insure the conference rate.

Hilton Garden Inn
815 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 783-7800

comm12 - Hotel Map  

Cancellation & Refund Policytop

Cancellations received in writing by noon, February 25, 2012 will be fully refunded. After February 25 a $150 cancellation fee will be charged and deducted from all refunds. Cancellations received March 2 or later will forfeit the entire registration fee.