Strategic Communications Academy celebrates first graduates

Professor Amy Bucciarelli presents her final poster before giving a TED-style talk about the Innovation Academy.

2018 applications due Feb. 21

How can UF faculty and staff explain the complex work happening at UF in a way that resonates with colleagues, students, collaborators, donors and others? How can employees communicate to inspire commitment to our goals and produce action?

These were some of the many questions that were top-of-mind when UF’s College of Journalism and Communications and UFHR Training & Organizational Development teamed up to form the Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars (SCA) last year.

The program helps faculty and staff develop advanced communication skills to build relationships, inspire others and drive positive change. Through interactive classroom sessions and a final project, program participants learn and apply skills in the areas of storytelling, strategic communications, systems thinking, message development, media relations and social media.

On Dec. 7, after a series of dynamic TED-style presentations and poster sessions featuring various strategic communications campaigns, the first cohort of the SCA graduated.

“Communicating and translating our scientific findings for the greater good is one of the most important jobs of public universities; however, faculty, staff and administrators are often not well prepared to communicate effectively,” said Lisa Scott, associate professor of psychology, whose research focus is infant education. “The SCA team worked with me, helped me hone my communication skills and refine my ideas and message, and provided me with a toolset that I can apply to my research, teaching and service commitments here at UF.”

Shane Ryan, of the College of Pharmacy, celebrates with fellow graduates of the SCA.

At the end of her year in the SCA, Scott published an article in The Conversation that summarized 10 years of her research findings. Her article was republished 38 times in outlets including The Washington Post, The Smithsonian, Scientific American, Quartz, Slate and the World Economic Forum. It was translated into French and republished seven times in French-speaking news outlets and, to date, has been read more than 330,000 times.

“I would have never been able to accomplish this without the training and guidance from the SCA team,” said Scott, who credits the strategies and direct coaching she received from the SCA with her decision to publish in The Conversation in the first place.

Scott Blades, assistant director for UFHR Training & Organizational Development, said SCA organizers sought to create an experience that would support the endeavors of both faculty and staff.

“The 2017 cohort of participants brought a wide range of academic and professional goals to the table and received communication insights and strategies to assist in achieving them,” said Blades.

“It was inspiring to see how this group of leaders applied what they learned to building relationships with communities that are critical to their success,” added Ann Christiano, SCA program director and Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications.

The Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars 2017 graduates are:

  • Irma Alvarez, UFHR Training & Organizational Development
  • Tracy Bryant, UF/IFAS Communications
  • Amy Bucciarelli, Innovation Academy
  • Sara Dagen, Office of Technology Licensing
  • Luisa Dempere, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
  • Dana Edwards, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Fran Fiorello, UFIT
  • Toni Glover, College of Nursing
  • Julie Henderson, P.K. Yonge/College of Education
  • Tanya Hughes, Housing and Residence Education
  • Amy Ladendorf, Physical Therapy
  • Claire Lewis, Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology
  • Valrie Minson, Marston Science Library & Agricultural Sciences
  • Juan Nino, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Kathey Porter, Business Affairs
  • Shane Ryan, College of Pharmacy
  • Lisa Scott, Psychology
  • Whitney Smith, Levin College of Law
  • Lisa Stroud, Office of Research

For more information on how to apply for the 2018 Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars, visit the SCA program website. The application deadline has been extended to Feb. 21 to accommodate continued interest and inquiries.