How to Showcase Superstar Faculty

The U.S. Professors of the Year awards program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country—those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Through a rigorous judging process we identify state winners and four national winners. The 2013 awards winners will be announced on Nov. 14.

But there are many other professors who do amazing, groundbreaking work who are not recognized through national awards programs. How does your institution bridge the gap between academia and the community to promote not just excellent teaching but novel research, surprising historical finds and breathtaking works of art?

Let’s turn to the experts:

  • Liz Allen, director of online communications at the American School in London, suggests recruiting faculty bloggers to round out your school’s story. This not only gives them a prominent outlet for their work, but advances the institution’s marketing and recruitment efforts. “Potential families and potential employees are both curious about what life is like on campus,” she wrote. “Make faculty blogs easy to find for all of your audiences.”
  • Tracy Playle, director and communications strategist at Pickle Jar Communications, recommends encouraging faculty to start using social media—but first, you have to understand their needs and show what they can get out of it. “Faculty with demanding teaching schedules might find social bookmarking a useful tool for their students, while research-intensive social scientists might find blogging…a good way to raise their profiles among policymakers.”
  • Menachem Wecker, a higher education journalist and former George Washington University writer, suggests ways in which communications departments can use new media to promote faculty research, in an interview on the CASE blog last year. “Work with the folks who are already interested in the power of social media,” he said. “And don’t be surprised if those who used to be nay-sayers change their mind when they see their colleagues’ success.”
  • Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations at Michigan Tech, and Liz Amore, executive director for alumni relations at the University of Miami, , spoke at a CASE conference earlier this year, highlighting creative ways to extend the reach of an institutions’ research—including crowdfunding, partnering with other organizations and amping up its news site so that it becomes the source.

What methods, alliances, tips and tricks do you use to build bridges between your faculty’s work and the public eye?

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