Strategic Communications Academy celebrates graduates, opens registration for 2019

How does a leader or scholar need to communicate to make a difference? What does it take to be a “changemaker” — someone who can build relationships and influence others for the greater good?

With these questions in mind, the College of Journalism and Communications formed a partnership with UF Training & Organizational Development (T&OD) to launch the Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars (SCA) in 2017. The program helps faculty and staff develop next-level communication skills to build communities, communicate persuasively and drive positive change.

Through interactive classroom sessions and completion of a final project, program participants learn and apply skills in the areas of storytelling, the science of strategic communications, systems thinking, message development, TED-style presentations, working with the media and influentials, and social media.

On Sept. 18, the SCA wrapped up its second year with UF faculty and staff delivering strategic communications campaigns and TED-style presentations. The evening was capped with a celebration and graduation ceremony at the Keene Faculty Center.

“The Strategic Communication Academy was a career-changing experience,” said Melissa Armstrong, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and director of the Mangurian Clinical-Research Center for Lewy Body and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia. “This was a very practical program; each session included approaches of immediate relevance to my work. Skills learned through the academy impact how I approach creating and sharing vision and also my presentation style. I implemented the project developed through the class within a week of my final presentation. I strongly recommend this course to my colleagues. I also enjoyed meeting a diverse group of individuals from across campus.”

Chandra Hardy, director of Admissions & Student Services in the Warrington College of Business concurred: “The SCA is the single-most beneficial professional development experience I have participated in during my 18 years at the University of Florida.”

“It’s exciting and deeply rewarding to watch the participants in this program grow in their ability to apply scientific principles and recognized best practices in their communications,” said Scott Blades, T&OD assistant director. “Faculty and staff bring a wide range of goals to the SCA and all leave with a solid skillset for being a more strategic and influential communicator and leader.”

Here are the 2018 graduates of the Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars:

Mustafa Ahmed Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, Cardiovascular Medicine
Melissa Armstrong Assistant Professor, Neurology
Michelle Cardel Assistant Professor, Health Outcomes and Policy
Kat Carter-Finn Assistant Director-Finance, IFAS Dean for Research
Deborah Dilbone Clinical Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Restorative
Dental Sciences
Chelsea Dinsmore Chair Digital Production Services, George A. Smathers Libraries
Cynthia Futral Associate Director, Accounting, College of Law
John Gums Professor and Associate Dean, PTR/College of Pharmacy
Chandra Hardy Director of Admissions & Student Services, Information Systems and
Operations Management
Daniel Herman Assistant Professor, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
Beverly James Director of Public Relations, UF/IFAS Communications
Kristin Joys Director, Social Impact & Sustainability Initiative and Social
Entrepreneurship Lecturer
Joe Kays Director of Communications, Office of Research
Kathy McKee Talent Consultant, Human Resources
Guy Nicolette Director, UF Student Health
Thomas Nordlie Public Relations Specialist 2, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, UF/IFAS Communication Services
Mary O’Loughlin Operations Manager, Facilities Services
AnaLee Rodriguez Marketing Specialist, Transportation and Parking Services
Leah Shelley Assistant Director, Fitness Programs, Student Affairs
John Sun Assistant Director of Recruitment and Staffing, UF Human Resources
Laurie Taylor Digital Scholarship Librarian, Smathers Libraries
Ashley Weser UFIT Education and Training Program Manager, UFIT: Academic Technology
Karen Whalen Assistant Dean and Clinical Professor, College of Pharmacy

For more information on how to apply for the 2019 Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars, visit the SCA program website. The application deadline is Jan. 18.