Session Descriptions

Monday, June 29

12:45–1:45 p.m.
Changing Times on the Education Beat
Media representatives will discuss the impact on education coverage of social media, digital technology, and a competitive marketplace.
Nick Anderson, Higher Education Reporter, Washington Post
Libby Nelson, Education Reporter, Vox
Alan Scher Zagier, Correspondent, Associated Press
Moderator: David Henahan, Director of Communications, SUNY Empire State College

1:45–2:45 p.m.
Mastering Digital Media
College and university communicators whose digital media experience ranges from extensive to limited can pick up valuable tips and insights on how to improve digital reporting and how to develop, integrate, and repurpose content from websites, alumni publications, e-newsletters, and media releases to maximize effective communication with diverse audiences. This session, which will offer ample time for interaction, also will focus on ways to combine social media with traditional news and storytelling.
Doug Haddix, Assistant Vice President for Editorial Communications, Ohio State University
Moderator: Carol Schuler, Vice President for Development, Davis & Elkins College

3:15–4:30 p.m.
Communicating Science News
Science reporters and editors will discuss presenting science news in print, online, and on the air, with a special focus on the stories and individuals that best fit their formats and audiences.

Matt Crenson, U.S. Chief of Correspondents, Nature Publishing Group
Lila Guterman, Deputy Managing Editor for Departments, Science News
Eric Hand, Reporter, Science magazine
Moderator: Mark Zonca, Senior Communications Director, Illinois Institute of Technology

4:30–5:45 p.m.
Magazine Perspectives on the Education Story
The more expansive format of magazines allows writers and editors to examine aspects of the education story in greater detail and from original and often unexpected perspectives.

Haley Sweetland Edwards, Correspondent, TIME Magazine
Tim Goral, Editor-in-Chief, University Business
David Pluviose, Executive Editor, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

6:30–7:30 p.m.
The Sweet Briar Story: Warning Sign or False Alarm?
(Sponsored by the Chronicle of Higher Education)
This special program will be moderated by a seasoned Chronicle journalist and will feature the head of the national private college association, who will discuss how Sweet Briar’s closing could affect the independent college sector, and a public university president, who will provide an important perspective on the challenges facing public colleges and universities. An advancement vice president will describe how her college—formerly single sex and now coed, with an endowment that mirrors Sweet Briar’s—has come back from past crises and is gearing up to cope with the potential challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. There will be ample time for Q and A.

Jonathan R. Alger, President, James Madison University
Richard Ekman, President, Council of Independent Colleges
Nancy Gillece, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Hood College
Moderator: Scott Carlson, Senior Writer, Chronicle of Higher Education

Tuesday, June 30

8:30–9:45 a.m.
The Ratings Game and How It Works: An Inside Look
Gain an insider’s perspective on the college and university rankings business from three leaders in the field, who will discuss the different processes and purposes of their publications’ ratings programs.

Paul Glastris, Editor-in-Chief, Washington Monthly
Caroline Howard, Senior Online Editor, Forbes magazine
Anita Narayan, Managing Editor, Education, U.S. News & World Report
Moderator: Doug Cook, Director of News and Media Relations, Bowdoin College

9:45–10:45 a.m.
Anatomy of a Crisis: Ebola at Emory
Emory University became the focus of worldwide media attention—and social media vitriol—when two of the first U.S. citizens to be treated for the Ebola virus in the U.S. arrived at its hospital. During several weeks of the 24/7 media siege, the Emory communications staff strategically applied traditional and innovative public relations practices to change negative perceptions, practice transparency, and communicate effectively with numerous constituencies. Nancy Seideman will tell an inspiring story and share insights and best practices that can apply to any crisis situation at all types of colleges and universities.

Nancy Seideman, Associate Vice President for Media Relations, Emory University
Moderator: Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications, Middlebury College

11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
The New Era of Broadcast News
The constantly-evolving nature of broadcast news means that producers are always looking for ideas to keep their content competitive and compelling. Three professionals from radio and television will share tips on what they are looking for and how to work with them most effectively on both in-depth stories and breaking news.

Sarah Baker, Coordinating Political Producer/Booker, NBC News
Jill Chappell, Senior Editorial Producer, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, CNN
Amy Salit, Producer, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, National Public Radio

2:00–2:30 p.m.
Public Policy: Challenges on the Education Front
ACE’s public affairs director will summarize the key issues and public policy challenges for higher education in the year ahead.

Jonathan Riskind, Director, Media Relations, American Council on Education
Moderator: Lynn Womble, Director of Public Affairs, Austin College

2:30–3:45 p.m.   CONCURRENT SESSIONS
Managing and Maximizing Social Media
Two experts will share strategies and tactics on how colleges can use social media to gain exposure, engage with constituents, and amplify their messages.
Michael Kiser, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Lafayette College
Dan Zaiontz, Author of #Follow The Leader: Lessons in Social Media Success from #HigherEd CEOs, Consultant on Strategic Planning and Public Affairs, and Professor, Seneca College (Canada)
Moderator: Allyson Irish, Director of Marketing Communications, Simmons College
The Art of the Pitch
Participants can polish their media-pitching skills with advice and case studies from a panel of media-savvy communicators.

Brian Eckert, Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Washington and Lee University
Anne Marie Lauranzon, Director of Communications and Marketing, Randolph-Macon College
Jeff Wakefield, Associate Communications Director, University of Vermont
Moderator: Elizabeth Harman, Senior Director, Digital and Media Communications, University of San Diego

4:15–5:30 p.m.
The Business of Higher Education
Business columnists and reporters are among the most prolific writers about higher education today. Learn about their particular interests and how to work with them on a variety of financially-related issues, from helping parents navigate tuition and financial aid to looking at national and global business trends.

Sandra Block, Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Ron Lieber, Personal Finance Columnist, New York Times, and author, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart about Money
Janet Lorin, Higher Education Reporter, Bloomberg News
Moderator: Lisa Lacher, Director of Media Relations, Grinnell College

Wednesday, July 1 
8:00–9:00 a.m.
Continental Breakfast/Roundtable Discussions
Participants will have an opportunity to join their colleagues for breakfast and a Roundtable Discussion of their choice. These roundtables are idea exchanges (not tutorials) in which colleagues share insights and information. A partial list of topics that may be addressed includes:
  • Advancing Your President;
  • Capitalizing on Digital Media Opportunities;
  • Competing as a Small College in a Large Metro Market;
  • Cultivating International Media;
  • Designing a Strategic Media Plan;
  • Determining Web and Social Media Success with New Analytics;
  • Measuring Media Coverage;
  • Strategies for Coping with Sexual Harassment and Assault Issues on Campus;
  • Using Video and YouTube to Your Advantage; and
  • The Art of the Tweet.
(Each session is offered twice with a break in between at 10:00–10:15 a.m.)
Meet the Higher Education Press
These concurrent sessions provide opportunities to engage in discussion of higher education issues and to become more familiar with the nation’s premier higher education trade publications and the journalists who cover college and university campuses.

Conversing with the Chronicle
Liz McMillen, Editor, Chronicle of Higher Education, will lead a team of reporters and editors who will engage in in-depth, informal conversations with participants in a roundtable format. This session is designed to help participants get to know reporters, hear about higher education topics and ideas that Chronicle reporters intend to cover in the near term, and pitch story ideas directly.
Moderator: Angela Burrows, Chief Communications Officer, Susquehanna University

Meet Inside Higher Ed
Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, Editors and Founders, Inside Higher Ed, will lead a team of reporters who will exchange ideas with conference participants.
Moderator: Tom Snee, Associate Editor, University of Iowa
11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Behind the Headlines: Making Education News
Education journalists at both long-standing and new major media outlets will share insights on current and future key issues and topics on the education beat, along with tips on successful story pitching and how to work most effectively with them.

Allie Grasgreen, Higher Education Reporter, POLITICO Pro
Melissa Korn, Higher Education Reporter, Wall Street Journal
Jon Marcus, Higher Education Editor, Hechinger Report, and North American Correspondent, Times (UK) Higher Education
Moderator: Julia Ferrante, Director of News and Media Relations, Mount Holyoke College