Friday Five: Best of 2012 edition

Posted on December 28, 2012

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Here we are on the final Friday of 2012. Many of us in the higher ed community are on break or are trying to catch up on work that has piled up since the start of the semester. A lot of us are ignoring our digital devices to spend more time with family and friends. And many of us, with the aid of media retrospectives and end-of-year lists (like this beaut), are looking back on 2012 and pondering its significance.

Being a lover of lists (as evidenced by the 16 Friday Five posts I created so far in 2012*) I thought I might share one of my own. So, here are my picks for:

Five of the best things I read, saw, received or did related to higher ed marketing in 2012

  1. The best new higher ed blog of 2012 award goes to HigherEdSolo, a collaborative effort by Tonya Oaks Smith (@marleysmom) and Ron Bronson (@ronbronson). Tonya and Ron started this blog last June with the idea of filling a niche in the higher ed marketing/PR discussion. HigherEdSolo focuses on what it’s like to be a one-person shop. It’s turned into a great  resource for those who may feel like they’re flying solo, because Ron and Tonya do a great job of connecting them with the larger higher ed marketing community.
  2. The best blog post about higher ed by a non-higher ed blogger in 2012 award goes to Dylan Wilbanks’ June 24 post, Why do we keep wishing death on higher ed? In this post, Dylan (@dylanw), who used to work in the higher ed web realm, summarizes much of the angst we’ve read about higher ed over the past year (the affordability issue, the MOOC invasion, disruption and the like) and ponders whether higher education has the will to change, or even recognizes the need for change. It’s a worthwhile read that should have gotten more attention last summer.
  3. The best professional development idea I stole in 2012 was the idea for something I implemented last summer under the title “TED Tuesdays.” Between last spring’s commencement and last fall’s first day of classes, I and the other communications staff at our university would meet for 30 minutes every Tuesday (or most Tuesdays) to watch a TED talk and discuss its significance. I stole the idea from Wayne State University’s Nick Denardis (@nickdenardis), who happened to mention on Twitter last spring how their communications team gets together every week to get inspired by a TED clip. I blogged about some of my favorite TED talks from last summer’s experiment. I’m planning to run the experiment again this coming summer.
  4. The best higher ed marriage of 2012 goes to … no, not Will and Kate. It goes to HigherEdLive and EDUniverse, who merged back in November. Congratulations to the happy couple — and to the many higher ed professionals who will benefit from this joining of forces.
  5. The best office product of 2012 has to be the Swingline Red Stapler I received last July from the HighEdWeb Arkansas conference. Every year, the conference organizers present the best speaker from the previous year’s conference, as determined by evaluations, with the coveted Red Stapler Award. This is apparently a common practice at other HighEdWeb conferences, regionally and nationally. It was quite an honor to be recognized last July for the presentation I delivered at HEWebAR in July 2011. But it almost didn’t happen, as the coveted office product disappeared the night before it was to be presented. Read all about it in The #hewebar Red Stapler Caper.

All in all, 2012 was a great year for me in many ways, personally and professionally. I hope your 2012 was wonderful as well. Here’s to an even better 2013!

P.S. – While I’m in the year-end list-making mood, I’ll soon be posting my annual selection of “best albums of the year” on the Higher Ed Music Critics blog. You’ll find similar lists from other music lovers in the higher ed world, as well as our collective’s consensus picks for 2012’s 50 best albums.

* Technically, I only wrote 15 Friday Fives in 2012 (up until this one). But I posted 16, because one was a reprise of an earlier post.

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