Strategic Communications Academy celebrates 2019 graduates, opens registration for 2020

How does a leader or scholar need to communicate in order 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 UF Strategic Communications Academy (SCA) for UF Leaders and Scholars helps faculty and staff develop next-level communication skills to build communities, communicate persuasively and drive positive change. A partnership between the Center for Public Interest Communications and UF Training & Organizational Development, the academy provides interactive classroom sessions and requires a final project.

Elvira Mercado
Elvira Mercado, assistant clinical professor of community health and family medicine, delivers a TED-style presentation as her final project for the 2019 Strategic Communications Academy.

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 media and influencers, and social media.  Information on how to apply for the 2020 Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars is now available on the SCA program website.  The application deadline for next year’s academy is January 22.

“What makes this program unique is that participants learn to apply scientific principles and recognize best practices in their communications,” said Scott Blades, assistant director for UF Training & Organizational Development.  “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.”

On September 24, the SCA wrapped up its third year with UF faculty and staff delivering strategic communications campaigns and TED-style presentations.  The evening concluded with a celebration and graduation ceremony at the Keene Faculty Center.

“The program, instructors, and personal outcomes have moved my research and extension communication to new levels,” said Raelene Crandall, assistant professor in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation. “I am now more purposeful and more effective at conveying messages and eliciting calls to action. I would recommend the program to anyone who needs to strategically communicate.”

“UF faculty and staff should consider taking this program because success is predicated on communication,” added Darcie Burde, director of fitness & wellness for UFRecSports.
“If we don’t challenge ourselves to be the best communicators we can be, our success is limited.”

Congratulations to the 2019 graduates of the Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars:

Akito Kawahara Associate Curator and Professor Florida Museum of Natural History
Alisha Katz Marketing Manager UF Health Communications
Anna Hoffman Director of Communications College of Nursing
Anthony Kolenic Assistant Dean College of the Arts
Cherise Conte-Bush Human Resources Specialist III Office of Administrative Affairs, College of Medicine-Jacksonville
Darcie Burde Associate Director Department of Recreational Sports
Deon Winchester Accountant II Dermatology
Elvira Mercado Assistant Clinical Professor College of Medicine Dept Comm Health and Family Medicine
Florencia Otegui Special Assistant UF Online
Gabriel Pena Assistant Director of Development College of the Arts
Ines Aviles-Spadoni Coordinator, Research Programs Civil & Coastal Engineering/ESSIE
Karen Thomas Community Relations Specialist Office of Government and Community Relations
Kevin Coulson Digital Communications Strategist College of Education, e-Learning, Technology and Communications
Kim Scotto Communications Specialist UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Krista Vaught Director, Academic Strategic Initiatives & Compliance College of Law
Laurel Brown Assistant Director Distance and Continuing Education
Matt Cox Associate Director, Operations University of Florida Performing Arts
Melissa L Rethlefsen Associate Dean George A. Smathers Libraries
Monika Oli Senior Lecturer Microbiology and Cell Science
Naim Montazeri Assistant Professor Food Science and Human Nutrition
Paloma Carton de Grammont Research Coordinator III Water Institute
Raelene Crandall Assistant Professor School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Sheila Bosch Assistant Professor College of Design, Construction and Planning
Tara Cataldo Biological Sciences Librarian Marston Science Library

Pictured above: Kevin Coulson, digital communications strategist for the College of Education, is cheered on by his academy-mates as he receives his graduation certificate.