Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at TVP Communications.

 

Brian Wachur

I am thankful for my wonderful family, particularly my beautiful wife, Tyler. This year has been full of exciting changes and I am thankful to be going through it all with her.

 

Teresa Valerio Parrot

 I don’t say it often enough, but I am thankful for the support Kevin and Savannah Parrot provide. I couldn’t do what I do if Kevin didn’t have the home front so well covered and I love SLP to pieces. I’m also thankful for Ben & Jerry’s, I’m grateful I don’t mind the taste of kale and brussels sprouts, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the fact that it is becoming more and more acceptable to wear exercise gear in public as if it were real clothes (yay elastic fabrics!). Also, I’m so thankful that you can buy pine nuts in bulk at Costco.

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Kyle Gunnels

I’m thankful for my friends, my family and the amazing opportunities I’ve had thus far in my life.

 

Erin Hennessy

I am thankful that my family is happy, healthy and, by the time you read this, gathered together in New Jersey. I’m looking forward to lots of turkey, some downtime with a stack of library books, and hours of indulging my nephew in, well, pretty much anything he wants.

 

Ali Lincoln

First of all, I’m thankful that we have a holiday that celebrates thankfulness with gluttonous amounts of food! I’m so thankful for my family and friends. I am grateful for a husband (and cat) who loves me and supports me no matter what. I’m very glad that there are always more books to read, that the brunch industry is booming, that national parks exist, and that joy comes from little things like the smell of the ocean, flowers in bloom, beautiful stationery, or a garden-fresh tomato.

 

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What are you thankful for today? Leave your responses below or tweet them to @TVPComms

 

Read our other gratitude posts:

Monday – Thanking Educators

Tuesday – To Our Alma Maters, With Love

Wednesday – Industry Gratitude

Industry Gratitude

Today the team is thankful for the important conversations that are happening in higher education around things like substance abuse, sexual assault, and college costs.

 

Kristine Maloney

Like so many other parents, I’m concerned about many of the issues facing higher education today. While I’m fortunate enough to work in the industry and am convinced most of higher education’s problems aren’t as dire as many believe, I still worry about how high costs and the prevalence of alcohol, drugs, hazing and sexual assaults on college campuses might impact my own children. I’m thankful for the attention to these issues and the good work many institutions are undertaking to address them and hope we’re in a much different place when my two and four year olds leave the nest.

 

Teresa Valerio Parrot

I’m grateful the industry is having some honest conversations around retaining at risk students, addressing sexual assault on campus and curbing binge drinking on campus. And I’m so proud of the work the TVP Comms team has done to share the tough work our clients have done to share solutions on these topics. For example, NASPA and Campus Labs should be everyone’s first stops when researching retention solutions; the University of Montana has done some excellent work to address sexual assault on campus and I am so proud of the work Dr. G at Frostburg State is doing to bring light to excessive drinking among college students.

 

Kyle Gunnels

I’m thankful that people, for the most part, have stopped talking about how MOOCs are going to “revolutionize” the world…

 

Ali Lincoln

I’m thankful that first-generation and low-income students continue to remain top of mind in industry conversation. Whether it’s access, quality, affordability, or degree completion, I’m grateful that higher ed continues to discuss and address the inequalities and inequities that exist within education.

 

Let us know what industry conversations you’re thankful for by leaving a comment below or tweeting your gratitude to @TVPComms.

 

Read our other gratitude posts:

 

Monday – Thanking Educators

Tuesday – To Our Alma Maters, With Love

To Our Alma Maters, With Love

We’ve already let the world know how much we love our alma maters and the fantastic experiences college gave us, but it can’t hurt to show a little more love and gratitude for them.

 

Erin Hennessy 

As the TVP Comms team knows, I bleed Drew University green and blue. I absolutely adored my college experience—not just because I got a wonderful education, but because the University in the Forest is where I found my passion for working in higher education. I was fortunate to spend more than seven years working on campus after graduation and that experience informs my work every single day.

 

Teresa Valerio Parrot 

I am thankful that 21 years ago I was selected to be in the University of Colorado at Boulder‘s Presidents Leadership Class. I was lucky enough to be part of an academic learning community that taught me how to be a better leader and how to trust myself to master what scares me most. As I travel around the country and hear institutions talk about their innovative programs to build 21st century skills in their students, I realize that I was lucky to participate in a pioneer program that accomplished exactly those goals. A special thanks to Adam Goodman, who is now at Northwestern, for seeing my leadership potential and making the most of it.

 

Kyle Gunnels

I’m just thankful for my entire college experience. I loved being a student at the University of Alabama and was able to learn a lot and make great friends. Roll tide.

 

Brian Wachur

I am thankful for the time I spent at West Virginia University literally every day. Higher education has an enormous impact on millions of lives, and my experience was no different.

 

Ali Lincoln

Dear Holy Cross,

 

I’m so grateful you hire professors who love to meet with students outside of class, like Beth Sweeney and Mathew Schmalz, professors who are working writers, like Bill Roorbach, and professionals who make great mentors, like Ferene Paris Meyer (now at UVM), Kristine Maloney, and Cristal Steuer. And I’m glad you made good on your promise for lifelong friendships with opportunities to make them through Res Life, Orientation, and Spring Break Immersion. And seriously, thank you for the academics. Thank you for letting me pursue an honors thesis in creative writing, for connecting me with other people passionate about learning, and for letting me read novels and poetry for homework. And thanks for forcing me to study abroad for a whole year—I had my doubts at the time, but I realize now what a unique and important opportunity this was in my education. I’m so grateful for all you did to help me grow as a lifelong learner. Oh, and thanks for being purple.

 

Love, aflinc09

 

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Let us know what you love about your alma mater by leaving a comment below or tweeting your gratitude to @TVPComms.

 

Read our other gratitude posts:

 

Monday – Thanking Educators

Thanking Educators

To help celebrate Thanksgiving, the TVP Comms team is coming together on the blog for a Week of Gratitude. Stay tuned for our daily dose of reflection and thankfulness as we consider our education, our industry, our company, and our lives. Today we’re grateful for transformative teachers, professors, and educators who helped shape us into the people we are today. 

 

Kyle Gunnels

I’ve been fortunate to have many great teachers throughout the years, starting from elementary school all throughout college. I will give special thanks to two, however—Ms. Mac, my high school journalism teacher, and Dr. Gower, who taught some of my favorite classes in college and who’s been a great resource ever since.

 

Kristine Maloney 

I’ve been lucky to have had a lot of truly remarkable teachers in my life, but the one that stands out above all is John Lanci, a religion professor at Stonehill College. I was fortunate enough to experience his greatness my very first semester as an undergrad in a required honors seminar. And quite frankly, he blew my mind. Within minutes of that first class, I was convinced that college was what had been missing from life.  He made me think about (and seriously question) religion in new ways—but it was more than that. He truly made me think about life in new ways. Beyond being brilliant and hilariously funny, he could make even the most mundane topics seem awe-inspiring, and even more than many of the English professors in my major, he helped me become a more thoughtful reader and better writer. He was my advisor until I declared a major, but even after that he was a mentor for me. I took courses with Professor Lanci every chance and I had. In fact, I had so many classes with him, that my parents sat me down one day concerned I might become a religion major. I didn’t! But I do count my years at Stonehill among the most transformative of my life and I know Professor Lanci played a major role in that. I am so thankful to have met him and learned from him.

 

Brian Wachur 

In high school, the two standouts were Mr. Kates, my Latin and English teacher, and Mr. Vitagliano, who oversaw the school newspaper. Both of them were excellent teachers and taught me a lot about writing, language and communication.

 

Ali Lincoln 

I have had some awesome educators in my life, in and out of the classroom, and I credit all of them for my love of learning. I’m so grateful for all my elementary and middle school math teachers, because they stuck with me during my struggles without a calculator and challenged me to be confident in my relationship with numbers. I’m grateful for all of my English teachers during my teenage years who not only read my angst-ridden poetry and assignment journals—in sixth grade I literally wrote and passed in an essay about how much I wanted my crush (now my husband) to like me…yikes—but who also challenged me to not settle for easy As and to work to my full potential. I’m grateful for my high school science teachers for opening my eyes to how the world works, literally. And while I could write an epic poem on my gratitude for my college professors, I’ll spare you for now and just thank Robert Cording at Holy Cross for helping me come into my own as a writer, a reader, and a thinker.

 

Teresa Valerio Parrot 

I’m most thankful for Ms. Fite—my high school biology and earth sciences teacher. She had a magical way of making all of her students think science was cool and we all wanted to be a part of this magical world she shared with us. And I had a great professor, Dr. Harvey Nichols, who taught me to ask critical questions about the status quo. I was also lucky enough to hear Dr. Al Bartlett‘s talk about personal responsibility to preserve the Earth.

 

Do you have an educator who you’re thankful for? We’d love to know—please leave a comment below or tweet your gratitude to @TVPComms

NOT Cheaper by the Dozen

I know I already wrote about list making this application season, but after reading this NYT article, I couldn’t help myself. In fact, I was overcome by retroactive panic. Twenty-nine schools? Seriously? How did no one stop this kid?

 

For those of you dealing with a student who wants to apply to dozens—yes, that’s plural—of schools I feel your pain. Sure, the Common Application may have streamlined some parts of the application process and made it easier to apply to more schools, theoretically. But in reality, it’s not easier—it’s more stressful for everyone involved. It’s not just more financial cost, it’s more time, more writing, more financial forms, more follow up with transcripts and letters of recommendation. Can students even come across as demonstrating genuine interest when applying to so many institutions? How do the schools not all blur together after the 15th response to why they want to attend a specific institution?

 

I’m having flashbacks to my toughest application-packaging student. My student and I went back and forth all fall about the number of schools on her list. Even though her list had 12 schools, she was worried that it wasn’t enough and that she wouldn’t be able to get in anywhere. And no matter how much I tried to assuage her concerns—she had an affordable state school that she would more than likely get into—she stood firm at 12. And of course, all but one of her schools had an institutional application component to complete and she had 26 supplemental essays to write (and writing wasn’t her biggest strength). She was my last packaging meeting of the season, on December 22, at 5pm—and she showed up late with only half of her essays written.

 

Of course, I stayed late and we got everything done. And the same thing basically happened during financial aid applications, because of course she was selected for financial aid verification, too, and again, all but one school was a CSS Profile school with extra questions. But the applications weren’t even the worst part—it was the decision making. Once she was accepted and we had analyzed her financial aid award letters, she was paralyzed by all of the choices. And I really couldn’t help her beyond connecting her with some current students and suggesting she eliminate the unaffordable schools.

 

This is why the research and list-making part of the application process is so important. Students really need to do their research and consider everything they’re bringing to the table as well as what they’re hoping to get from their college experience. Hundreds of schools probably have pre-med programs or some sort of business offering—students need to think about what else they’re really interested in and what kind of learning environment they want to be in. In the end, they can’t attend all of them anyway.

 

So to all you prospective college students, I know you’re excited about college, and you should be! Go you! But this madness has to stop. If you have more schools on your list than fingers on your hand (AND toes on your feet), you need to pump the brakes and really take a close look at what you want from college. Or at least think of your poor guidance counselor or college counselor and take some pity on them.

AMA Higher Ed Conference Recap

Earlier this week, I attended the American Marketing Association’s annual Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. The conference has been on my radar for a number of years now, but this was my first opportunity to attend and I am extremely glad I did.

 

This year’s event was held in Austin, Texas, and featured a variety of speakers including Emma Carrasco, chief marketing officer for NPR; Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation; and many others.

 

Among the standouts for me were:

 

  • DJ Stout, partner at Pentagram. This keynote session focused on the importance of place in marketing and communications efforts. It’s a topic that’s been covered before, but DJ really brought it to life by infusing his personal story and “place” into his talk. DJ is a sixth generation Texan, and his session featured photos and stories about him and his family’s history in Texas. He even had live musical accompaniment from Darden Smith, a Texas-based singer and songwriter. It was an expected twist on the typical keynote session and left the entire room with a deeper understanding of Texas’ culture and history. A really great example of the impact you can have when you show instead of simply tell.

 

  • Rob Pasquinucci, director of Marketing and Publications for the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. Rob led a session called “Know the News, Make the News: How to Use the News Cycle to Drive Content Development.” Rob’s presentation focused on ways higher ed communicators can cull interesting stories from all of the work happening on campus, as well as how they can leverage the 24-hour news cycle to “newsjack” trending stories. While this session was slightly more media-focused than others at the conference, Rob was able to bridge the gap between marketing and media in a fascinating way. The energetic Q&A session after his remarks proved that I wasn’t the only one who thought his presentation was excellent.

 

  • Kyle Gunnels and Aaron Jaco. I’d be remiss if I did not mention my TVP Communications colleague, Kyle Gunnels, and Aaron Jaco, senior media strategist at Drake University. These two brought the house down on Wednesday afternoon with their session, “Early Adoption In Higher Ed: How to Be Strategic about Social Media Instead of ‘Savvy’.” In front of a packed room, Kyle and Aaron led a fun and thought-provoking discussion about how and why to employ different social media tools. Kyle will have a full write-up of his session next week.

 

Those are only a few of the many interesting sessions at this week’s event. This was one of the better conferences I’ve attended in a long time and I am looking forward to attending next year.