There's a Reason We Call Them Institutions: Working in Higher Education Without Going Crazy

There's a Reason We Call Them Institutions: Working in Higher Education Without Going Crazy

I’ve consulted with lots of institutions of higher education. Each was convinced that they were a unique snowflake, and that their challenges could not possibly be understood by any outsider. In fact, I’ve found there’s remarkable similarity across many (though of course not all) campus teams as they strategize, design, develop, and maintain their web presence.

Five Dysfunctions of Higher Ed:
- Diffuse Authority
- Audience Ambiguity
- Content Sprawl
- Team Turnover: The Revolving Door & The Lifers
- Insufficient Training

For each we’ll talk about what the dysfunction is and what strategies you might use to mitigate its impact.

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John Eckman

July 26, 2019
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Transcript

  1. There’s a Reason We Call Them Institutions: Working in Higher

    Ed Without Going Crazy WPCampus 2019 Portland, OR John Eckman @jeckman
  2. Disclaimers: I am NOT a medical professional or trained therapist

    It is not my intent to make fun of or stigmatize people working through real mental health issues.
  3. Five Dysfunctions of Higher Ed 1. Diffuse Authority 2. Audience

    Ambiguity 3. Content Sprawl 4. Team Turnover 5. Insufficient Training https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universidad_de_Mor%C3%B3n
  4. #1: Diffuse Authority https://www.hippostcard.com/listing/switzerland-map-cantons-crests-postcard/16790820

  5. https://www.slideshare.net/AwarenessLIVE/jeremiah-owyangs-career-path-of-a-corporate-social-strategist-for-awareness-inc/ 71-62_Five_Ways_Companies_Organize #1: Diffuse Authority

  6. #1: Diffuse Authority http://vittoriobeltracchi.com/everyone-is-a-data-scientist/matrix-code/ #1: Diffuse Authority

  7. #1: Diffuse Authority - Identify your spheres of control, influence,

    and concern - Try to identify stakeholders and roles - Build coalitions of the willing - formal and informal - Document & share real goals - Shape recommendations based in data - Do great work & promote it https://www.etsy.com/listing/269967357/serenity-prayer-non-religious-printable
  8. #2: Audience Ambiguity Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

  9. https://xkcd.com/773/

  10. People go to the website because they can't wait for

    the next alumni magazine, right? What do you mean, you want a campus map? One of our students made one as a CS class project back in '01! You can click to zoom and everything! https://xkcd.com/773/
  11. #2: Audience Ambiguity • Force priorities: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Quaternary,

    etc. •Prioritize audiences and activities • Eliminate the “front door” pattern • Document, brainstorm, strategize. • Provide clear pathways for alternate audiences https://news.delta.com/delta-introduces-enhanced-boarding-process-atlanta
  12. #3: Content Sprawl Photo by Terence Starkey on Unsplash

  13. Hoarding is NOT a Content Strategy

  14. #3: Content Sprawl • Set restrictions on spinning up new

    sites & supporting them • In site refreshes, redesigns, or migrations, prune. • Content strategy driven by documented goals and analytics. • Archive / decomission old sites & content http://blog.livedoor.jp/irootoko_jr/archives/2541632.html
  15. #4: Team Turnover https://medium.com/@SenatorBaldwin/we-can-t-afford-a-revolving-door-working-in-favor-of-wall- street-796192313f9c

  16. https://i.ytimg.com/vi/iHSu7hzhE7E/maxresdefault.jpg

  17. #4: Team Turnover - Document best practices - Do lots

    of training: brown bag lunches, knowledge sharing, etc. - Form working groups - Share successes - Pair lifers with newbies - Credentialize / Professionalize - Don't be afraid to push for ownership by those who have the right skills
  18. #5: Insufficient Training Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

  19. #5: Insufficient Training

  20. #5: Insufficient Training • Insist on professional training budgets •

    Leverage communities of practice (WP Campus!) • Keep your own skills up to date and encourage the same in your colleagues • Don't be afraid to push for more authority based on more training & expertise https://aquilacommercial.com/el-arroyo-gallery-post/el-arroyo-sign-3242014/
  21. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus Q & A https://2019.wpcampus.org/feedback/the-five-dysfunctions-of-higher-ed-web-teams/