Virginia Commonwealth University (Summer 2015)

Thursday, June 11, 2015


1-4 p.m.

Pre-Conference Professional Development Workshop: "What I Wish I Knew When I Was New to Higher Ed"

A background in communications or journalism is a plus when hiring a college communicator. But the world of higher ed can be different from the professional experiences of these new hires. Whether you are transitioning from another industry or are fresh out of school, this session will help you learn the ins and outs of being a college communicator. Before joining the University of Richmond last year as Director of Media and Public Relations, Cynthia Price built a career in public relations and journalism. Price will share lessons learned from her first year on the job, and afterward, attendees will have the opportunity to network with experienced higher ed professionals in small groups.

John Larrick Student Center (900 Turpin Street)

Cynthia Price (Twitter: @PriceCynthia) is director of media and public relations for the University of Richmond. The former newspaper reporter also launched a business magazine for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and spent a decade as spokesperson for an urban police department with high-profile cases. She also traveled the globe for ChildFund International, including a trip to Zambia with supporter Gene Simmons of KISS. Price is past president of the National Federation of Press Women and the Virginia Press Women (now Virginia Professional Communicators) and has been recognized by both as a Communicator of Achievement.


Friday, June 12, 2015


8 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Commonwealth Ballroom


9-10:15 a.m.

General Session & Keynote
Coming Soon to a Campus Near You: Generation Z

Marketers have coined a variety of names for post-Millennials: the iGeneration, the Swipers, the Tweenials. Born after 1995, they are the most diverse generation in history. They grew up with an expectation of immediacy and interactivity. What makes them tick, and how are they different (or not) from previous generations? Caley Cantrell, head of the Communications Strategy track at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, will present her take on Gen Z's characteristics and implications for communications.

Commonwealth Ballroom

Caley Catrell (Twitter: @CaleyCantrell) was bitten by the advertising bug while studying marketing at the University of Virginia. After agency gigs in New York and San Francisco working on major accounts like Colgate, Sprint, and Kraft, she came to Richmond's Martin Agency. As their group planning director, she led teams on such accounts as Kellogg, Olympus, US Trust, Chase, and the Ad Council project for Homeland Security. As head of strategy at the Brandcenter, Cantrell says she has "the best job in advertising." She was one of two key faculty members who led student teams to develop the highly successful RVA campaign for Venture Richmond.


10:30-11:30 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Coordinating Campaign and Communications Strategies

Campaign communications play a large role in the success of our institutional fundraising efforts. Colleagues from Virginia Tech and Reynolds Community College will discuss how their University Relations and Development teams worked together to create and execute successful integrated communications strategies. Hear how Virginia Tech seamlessly integrated messaging from the university's successful Invent the Future branding campaign into its $1 billion capital campaign.

Virginia Rooms A&B

Larry Hincker has been leading University Relations at Virginia Tech since 1989, with responsibilities for all communication activities of the university. He also serves as the university spokesperson and senior communications official responsible for marketing, public relations, issues management, and institutional positioning. He was the spokesperson and public face of Virginia Tech as it dealt with the largest media gathering on any university campus after the horrific murders of April 16, 2007. Hincker previously worked 14 years in various corporate communications positions. He holds a B.A. from Brooks Institute and a MBA from Virginia Tech.

As vice president for marketing and communications at Lafayette College, Michael Kiser (Twitter: @one_lucky_man) oversees brand identity, digital and print design, content strategy, community and media relations, social media, web development, and athletics communications. He previously held a similar position at Colby College. From 2005 to 2011, he was director of development communications at Virginia Tech, chief communications officer for the university's 130-person development division and for the school's $1 billion comprehensive campaign. He earned a B.A. from Wabash College and an M.A. from Purdue University.

Marianne McGhee has been director of development at Reynolds Community College Office of Institutional Advancement since December 2012. Her work includes oversight of donor relations, stewardship, and fundraising activities. McGhee previously served as director of public affairs for the Virginia Department of Social Services and she managed communications and television operations for Henrico County Public Schools for 13 years. McGhe holds a B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a MLA from the University of Richmond—but she credits much of her success to the solid foundation she received while a two- year student at Reynolds.

Steve Vehorn has served as assistant director of communications at Reynolds Community College for the past 10 years. His responsibilities include communications with the media, internal communications, crisis communications, and creating content for the college's social media platforms. Vehorn previously was the director of public relations at Special Olympics Virginia and the Colonial Athletic Association. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he earned a degree in Public Relations prior to serving in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer.


Media Panel

Come talk with reporters who specialize in covering higher education. Discuss best practices on everything from pitches to working with reporters during breaking news situations and sensitive stories. Bring all your questions on how best to get noticed by local and national media.

The panel will be moderated by Brian Whitson, a former higher education journalist and current associate vice president for communications at William & Mary.

Richmond Salon I-II

Brock Read (Twitter: @bhread), a senior editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education, oversees a team that covers state and federal policy, leadership, finance, research, and academic labor. Previously, he created a news-and-advice portal for Vitae, The Chronicle's career hub for academics. As web editor, he led development, design, and management of The Chronicle's online properties. Since joining The Chronicle in 2001, Read also has served as the newspaper's first web producer and as a reporter covering campus technology. He holds a B.A. in art history from Williams College.

Karin Kapisdelis covers higher education for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A former reporter for The Columbia (S.C.) Record, she came to the Times-Dispatch in 1981. Previously she worked in the Features Department as editor of the Home & Garden, Sunday Flair, and Tuesday Flair sections.

Technology reporter Carl Straumsheim joined Inside Higher Ed in 2013. He got his start in journalism as a video game blogger for Norway's third largest paper, Dagbladet, at age 15, and has since dabbled in media criticism, investigative reporting, and political coverage. Straumsheim boasts that he once received a perfect score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which enabled him to pursue a B.A. in English from LaGrange College and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.


Hands-on Video Production: People, Stories and How-To's

Now that you've decided to make a video, here's how you do it. Learn the basics and practice, using compact cameras or even your phone. We cover how to shoot an interview, how to add supporting video, and how to produce a short demonstration video during this workshop. You'll take away skills and resources to help you communicate your messages through video.

Virginia Rooms C&D

From stink bugs to robots (and many topics in between), J. Scott Parker produces videos on all that is colorful, dynamic, and inspirational at Virginia Tech. Parker has worked as a web video journalist at the university for the past two years. Prior to coming to the land of Hokie Stone, he grappled with ice giants as a producer for Mountain Lake PBS in far upstate New York. Parker earned an MFA in film and video production from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Virginia Tech video producer/director Jarrad Henderson is an Emmy-award nominated videographer, award-winning photographer, editor, and filmmaker. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in photography and the University of Missouri with a master's in journalism, his passion for storytelling soon earned him a staff position with the Detroit Free Press, where he worked for three and a half years. For his excellence in the field of photojournalism, Henderson was named the 2014 Multimedia Photographer of the Year by the Michigan Press Photographer Association.


11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Lunch and Networking

1-2 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Communicating Sexual Assault

Reports of sexual assaults are increasing on university campuses. This means communicators are on high alert, struggling with what to communicate and when to communicate. A highly charged regulatory environment coupled with increased media scrutiny is forcing communication practitioners to reexamine their approach before a reporter calls. At George Mason University, the Police Department, University Life, and University Communications and Marketing partnered to create proactive strategies when reporting cases of sexual assault.

Richmond Salon I-II

Eric Heath career began at the University of Arkansas Police Department, and he has served in leadership positions at Vanderbilt and the University of Chicago. As Mason's assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police, Heath leads an accredited law enforcement organization with over 125 staff who provide public safety services to a community of some 40,000. He earned a master's in sociology from the University of Arkansas and also attended the University of Tennessee Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy and Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command.

Renell Wynn, vice president for communications and marketing at George Mason, has more than 15 years of executive experience as a communications and marketing professional in higher education. Wynn has created, planned, and implemented strategic communication strategies, as well as managed a range of communication programs. Wynn previously was assistant vice president for development relations at William & Mary and director of communication services for the Florida State University Foundation. The former journalist holds a bachelor's degree from Spelman College in Atlanta and an MBA from William Woods University.

Rose Pascarell, vice president for university life at George Mason, has worked on campus climate and multicultural/diversity issues for the last 15 years. She has held several leadership positions in the university, including serving as associate director of the Women's Studies Research and Resource Center. Pascarell's leadership has focused on increasing student engagement and academic success, and the building of just communities. She earned a B.A. in sociology, criminology, and conflict analysis at the State University of New York at Albany, and an M.A. in sociology from George Mason.


Visual Identity: Protecting the Brand

Enforcing brand standards and visual identity at a college is akin to herding cats. Playing with the logo, using the wrong colors, creating unauthorized wording—it's amazing how many ways a school, office or department can violate visual standards. Mary Beth Apperson, visual communications manager at Tidewater Community College, will share her approach to managing visual identity across four campuses and five regional centers.

Virginia Commons A&B

Mary Beth Apperson is the Manager of the Office of Visual Communications and serves as the "keeper of the brand" for Tidewater Community College. She has served the college for over 17 years in a variety of capacities, including multi-media manager, senior graphic designer, and designer. She previously worked in publishing and advertising. A resident of Norfolk, she is a graduate of Old Dominion University.


A Hashtag is Much More than a Symbol

You can find hashtags on more than just Twitter nowadays: Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook all have jumped onto the hashtag bandwagon, and for good reason. More than just a # symbol, hashtags can create conversations and buzz long before an event starts and help them continue after the last guest has left. Are you using this marketing and social media tool effectively for your organization and its events? In this presentation Tiffany Broadbent Beker, Web Developer and Social Media Coordinator at the College of William & Mary, will explore how to create a great hashtag, how to publicize it, and some of the best ways to showcase it before, during, and after your event.

Virginia Rooms C&D

Tiffany Broadbent Beker (Twitter: @tb623) is the social media coordinator for the College of William & Mary and a web developer with the Office of Creative Services. Her duties range from developing for the university's web presence to managing W&M's Facebook page and leading W&M's Social Media Users Group. She was the technical lead in W&M's responsive website redesign and has created sites ranging from an aggregator and directory for social media communities to an interactive viewbook for incoming students.


2-2:30 p.m.

Networking and Snack Break

James River Terrace


2:30-3:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions


Becoming a Supercommunicator: Distilling Complex Ideas

We are often tasked with communicating a variety of complex issues, ranging from the latest research of our faculty to an updated community relations initiative. To be effective, we must deliver meaning when explaining complicated issues. Frank Pietrucha, a communication advisor to dozens of tech start-ups and a consultant to NASA, will share advice from his book "Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated so Anyone Can Understand" about how to distill complicated ideas for nonspecialists. He will walk us through de-geeking, un-intimidating, and embracing digital tools to get our messages out.

Richmond Salon I-II

Writer, consultant, and trainer Frank J. Pietrucha Writer, consultant, and trainer Frank J. Pietrucha is passionate about communicating complicated subjects. Author of Washington Post bestseller Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated so Anyone can Understand, he helps clients turn hard-to-grasp ideas into concepts nonspecialists can embrace. He has been “translating” on behalf of the academic, scientific, and technological communities for over 25 years. President of Definitive Communications since 2001, Pietrucha earned a B.A. from Cornell and completed coursework at Universidad Iberoamericano, University of Bath, and the School of Visual Arts.


Talkin' Shop About Enrollment Marketing

While the big schools receive many more applicants than they need, others, especially smaller schools and community colleges, are struggling with an enrollment slide. Come to this roundtable discussion with samples of your work and hear what others are doing to stem the losses.

Virginia Rooms A&B

Led by Marian Anderfuren (Twitter: @manderfuren), associate vice president for interactive communications at Tidewater Community College


Talkin' Shop w/ Social Media: A Roundtable

Tiffany Broadbent Beker of William and Mary and Megan Donald Hughes of Virginia Tech moderate this social media roundtable. Bring your ideas and samples of your successes—and a few of your flops.

Virginia Rooms C&D

Led by Tiffany Broadbent Beker (Twitter: @tb623), web developer and social media coordinator at the College of William & Mary; and Megan Donald Hughes, marketing manager for rec sports at Virginia Tech.


3:30 p.m.

Conference Adjourns