A new academic year is a key time to reimagine and re-explain your mission to your faculty, staff, and students. You set the tone for the year ahead through your clear and compelling communication. In our last post , we discussed the pillars of casting vision for the year ahead. Once you have outlined your mission; made it relevant to your current context and challenges; and helped the members of your community identify the ways they contribute to your work, how do you sustain your momentum? Messaging for the academic year is not a once-and-done item that you can check off. It must be an ongoing investment. To foster inspiration throughout the academic year, ensure that you:
• Highlight new initiatives. What has changed this academic year? Inform your campus community about new ways your mission is being realized on your campus and in your community. Continue to show the development and progress of these new programs throughout the academic year.
• Share stories. Profile members of your community and how they are making a difference. How do individual student experiences illustrate the culture of your campus and the impact of your programs? Who are the unsung heroes on your campus who demonstrate commitment to your mission? Pair high quality photographs with quotes from the individuals in their own words. Integrate a variety of story lengths, from bite-sized social media posts to more in-depth interviews.
Finally, in order to create a culture of inspiration, you must not only share your message, you must listen. Seek out stakeholders at all levels of your institution to gauge morale and explain what is—and isn’t—working on your campus. Integrate their perspectives and feedback into your strategy and messaging.