Organizing Dynamic, Not Deadly, Retreats

Summer is retreat season — time for colleges and universities, schools, departments, and centers to go off for a few hours (or days) and plan for the future. While some people enjoy this exercise, many others roll their eyes and anticipate hours of fidgeting while surreptitiously checking their phones.

But suffering is not inevitable. Facilitated well, a retreat can be inspiring, clarifying and productive.

Find out how in Lisa Rudgers’ and my latest essay in Inside Higher Ed.

 

Penn State’s Approach to Scandal Recovery

A couple of news announcements about Penn State caught my eye this week. Both are attempts to get past significant scandals by taking policy or programmatic action.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post on recovering from a PR crisis, there is a basic formula used by most people and groups who successfully move past a major scandal. It includes:

  1. Admit the mistake or wrongdoing
  2. Apologize without excuses
  3. Explain why it happened, or what you will do to find out
  4. Take steps to fix the damage and prevent a similar occurrence in the future

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Guideposts for New Presidents

In our long-time roles as senior communications counsel to university presidents, we know first-hand that the presidency is among the most complex and challenging jobs in the country.

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The Power of Video Storytelling for Higher Ed

My film producer friend Josh Buoy and I talked recently about the power of video storytelling for universities: A well-told video story animates the discovery, learning and inspiration that happens every day in our institutions. Videography can help us connect with the subject matter in a more human and more personal way. Film shows us, not tells us about, a university’s transformational power and impact. Here are a few examples:

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Stumbling Blocks

4/2/17 Stumbling Block exhibits / Bicentennial

University of Michigan historian Martha Jones and her colleagues had a vision: As part of the university’s bicentennial celebration this year, Michigan would confront some of the institution’s most challenging issues and difficult moments.

The result is last week’s dramatic pop-up art exhibit called “Stumbling Blocks,” featuring seven installations marking less visible – and sometimes deeply troubling –U-M stories one might not expect to find during a 200-year anniversary party.
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