Strategic Communications Academy celebrates fourth cohort and looks ahead to 2021

When the provost announced that all university classes would be moved online for Spring 2020, the Strategic Communication Academy training team knew the mandate included all leadership workshops as well. In times of uncertainty, it can be healthy to take action on the things you can control. The SCA team quickly moved the course online to offer the 30 participants, all university leaders and scholars, a chance to develop their communication skills to build communities, communicate persuasively and drive positive change.

The Center for Public Interest Communications in the College of Journalism and Communications in partnership with UF Training & Organizational Development (T&OD) offered the fourth Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders and Scholars (SCA) in an online setting. The SCA team is made up of faculty and staff with substantial experience in live online teaching and were able to incorporate important active learning methods to enhance the program.

Through interactive sessions, some homework and completion of a final project, program participants learned and applied skills in the areas of storytelling, the science of strategic communications, systems thinking, message development, TED-style presentations, working with influentials and communicating inclusively.

On September 24, the SCA wrapped up its fourth cohort, with UF faculty and staff delivering their strategic communications campaigns and TED-style presentations live via Zoom. At the graduation ceremony (also on Zoom) the cohort celebrated each other’s accomplishments throughout the 9-month long academy.

Lesa Phillips, the Guest Services Specialist in the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, was a part of the 2020 cohort. She said, “The SCA assisted me with looking outside the box of how I traditionally communicate and explore new innovative ways of inspiring the audience. The pandemic challenged us all, in the way that we were used to communicating and telling stories. The SCA instructors were able to transition, without warning and the ability to plan ahead, to an online format and give us an amazing experience. I was able to apply the skills I learned immediately. The small group sessions allowed us to exchange creative ideas and form new relationships with campus partners. I highly recommend SCA to anyone interested in discovering a new and advanced way to communicate.”

Registration for the 2021 cohort is now underway. Discounts available for three or more participants in the same department. (link:

Please join us in congratulating to our 2020 cohort.

Adams Jacob Campus Bicycle Program Manager UF Sustainability/TAPS
Aguiar Erica Assistant Director, Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program Division of Student Affairs
Avelino Alexandra Program Coordinator for Student Affairs College of Veterinary Medicine
Berube Jessica Marketing and Communications Specialist Honors Program
Boren Shaun Director Student Affairs Assessment & Research
Brzezinski Bernard Multimedia Specialist II Office of Distance Learning
Cannaliato Brenda Education Program Manager Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
Cenatus Alexandra Assistant Director for Programming and Public Engagement Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
Chavez Andrea Assistant Scientist Center for Latin American Studies
Davis Colleen Marketing Specialist Office of Distance Learning
Doty Matthew Hazardous Materials Program Manager Environmental Health & Safety
Ford Verlissa Education & Award Coordinator UFHR Training & Organizational Development
Gonzaga Erica Chemical Hygiene Officer Environmental Health & Safety
Hunt Brian Risk Coordinator Environmental Health & Safety
Jaishankar Sobha Asst VP and Lecturer Office of Research
Krumholtz Heather Communications Coordinator Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
Kruse Kim Director UFF
Lester Guy Professor and Chair Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Martinelli Amy Lecturer and Assistant Director of Forensics Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication
Palmer Darryl Editor UF/IFAS Communications
Phillips Lesa Administrative Specialist III / Guest Services Specialist Office of the Provost
Slivon Rachel Lecturer Management Communication Center, Warrington College of Business
Sykes Jennifer Communications Manager UF/IFAS Center for Land Use Efficiency
Talavera Veronica Marketing and Communications Specialist UF Innovate
Telg Brandon Instructional Designer UF Training & Organizational Development
Travis Trysh Assoc. Professor Women’s Studies/CLAS
Ulloa Hannah Design & Marketing Coordinator Office of Sustainability
Wheeler Deanna Marketing & Communications Manager Office of Distance Learning
Wolpert Andrew Director of UF Quest and Associate Professor of Classics Office of Undergraduate Affairs