This week on the show, we sat down with RJ Thompson, the associate director of student engagement in the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburg. RJ’s career in higher education has been in an interesting one. He’s always had a passion for teaching students, and has worked as a both an adjunct and a tenured professor. We talk about RJ’s long career as a professor and why he decided to move from faculty to staff. We also chat about Star Trek: Picard, but no worries. We don’t talk spoilers.
Jenna Spinelle is the communications specialist for the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. She describes herself as a team of one, where she handles digital content and media outreach. She is also host of the Institute’s Democracy Works podcast which is produced in partnership with WPSU Penn State, Pennsylvania’s NPR station. Lougan and Jenna have a great chat about working her work hosting Democracy Works, podcasting and listening to audio books. Also, apologies for Lougan’s audio quality. We’ve had some issues with his microphone and are working to fix it.
This week we discuss the barriers faced by low-income students with Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, president of the Amarillo College. In his time as president, he’s overseen significant increases in student retention and graduation rates while also working to make his institution an economic driver for the community and region. On the show, Dr. Lowery-Hart shares how Amarillo College made such radical change happen and the many opportunities for higher education to break tradition and adapt to a changing world.
This week, Lougan talks with Brendan Foley, the director of communications for the Morehead-Cain Foundation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brendan is responsible for creating and implementing a content strategy that supports Morehead-Cain’s many goals. Whether it’s recruiting the brightest students across the globe or inspiring alumni to participate in the Foundation’s first-ever capital campaign, Brendan creates content that encompasses every aspect of student and alumni journeys.
On the show, we discuss Brendan’s work and how he made the jump from award-winning broadcast news producer and journalist to higher education. Brendan’s wife Jenna Hartwell is also an Higher Ed Social alum! Check out Jenna’s episode from October 2018!
If you can believe it, it’s the FIVE YEAR anniversary of Higher Ed Social! To celebrate, host emerita Jackie Vetrano is back on the show this week. It’s been a semester of change for her as she recently graduated with a Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications from Georgetown University. AND she started her new position as assistant director of marketing & prospect management at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Jackie and Lougan talk about the ins and outs of generating and nurturing leads and reminisce about the last five years of the podcast.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be university president? This week on the show, Lougan talks with Dr. Martha Saunders, President of the University of West Florida. In her more than three decades in higher education, Dr. Saunders has served in multiple academic and leadership roles and has led UWF a to new heights. Lougan chats with her about how she became a university president, her strategic vision and how the resources in west Florida helped drive the creation of new and innovative programs at UWF.
Kevin Singer is a PhD student in higher education at North Carolina State University where he serves as a Research Associate for the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). He also serves as Co-Director of Neighborly Faith, an org helping evangelical college students to build bridges of friendship with people of other faiths, and teaches world religions at two community colleges. IDEALS recently released a national report called “Friendships Matter” about befriending people across all faiths. Lougan and Kevin talk about consequences of online behavior as well as empathy in conversations one might disagree with. When he’s not in higher ed, he’s hanging out with his wife and their 4 kids.
We’re taking a little break from recording the next couple of weeks, so enjoy Jackie and Lougan’s episode with James Stafford!
James Stafford is the director of marketing and public relations at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. He never planned on going into higher ed, but stumbled into it by being a data nerd. James shares his love for how excel sheets can solve a lot of problems. James current tasks vary from changing the virtual tour to the military appreciation football game. The group discusses the challenges of being in university photos and hiding from 360 degree camera. James and Lougan discuss cameras and the potential of iPhone video. And Lougan pulls out his 11 year old OG iPhone and yes, it still works.
Jason Miller is the digital specialist at York University in Toronto, Canada. As part of the central communications office, Jason’s has his hands in a lot of digital work, but his primary job is to develop the university-wide social media strategy and assist various areas across campus with their digital strategies. Lougan and Jason talk about the quirks of being in charge of social media, and why we love doing what we do. We also talk about the fun little things he does outside his role, and how doing those types of things are important.