What I Learned about Change at eduWeb 2014
by Lance Merker on August 20, 2014
Change is the reason we attend conferences like eduWeb. Each session is chock-full of ideas, tasks, and strategies that we can implement to improve our website. Some changes are small adjustments, while others are grander, but all change should be viewed as the momentum that carries us through to a better ending.
Needless to say, there are many things that can interfere with embracing change. When it comes to the web, change is continuous. We must be diligent to make sure our content is up to date, accurate, and serving the goals of a larger strategic plan. We must ensure that the site’s functionality is logical, purposeful, and modern. We must constantly analyze our design to make sure it’s consistent with branding and meets the needs of our website visitors. Overwhelmed yet?
It’s easy to get bogged down, unless we acknowledge that change is a conduit for improvement. No one explains the power of change more eloquently than Nathan Gerber, Director of Web Development Services at Utah Valley University. Something he said in his Keynote continues to resonate with me – It’s what we DO with change that counts. Change is a constant force in all of our lives, but we must harness it and use the energy that surrounds it in order to grow.
When viewing the change around us as an endless list of opportunities rather than relentless demands, our projects become charged with vitality while still being manageable. First, we must admit to ourselves that we cannot keep up with everything. We can, no, we must be selective. We are held to the standards of the world outside of higher education, yet we have limited resources. So, make lists, organize, plan, but don’t get so entrenched in the details that you lose sight of the true goals.
Second, we can’t go it alone. We need support systems in place not only for our sanity, but also to sustain the excitement about projects over the long haul. When I spoke with eduWeb attendee Vaughn Shinkus, Executive Consultant at Noel-Levitz, he brought the point home by reminding me that collaboration is key. He stated, “The sessions, the workshops, and the networking at eduWeb provide a great opportunity to learn from the successes of other higher ed marketing leaders and to brainstorm on the challenges we face in an academic setting.” Though we often feel alone when tackling problems, we must tap into one of our biggest resources: our higher ed community.
Third, we must be flexible. Have you ever worked on a project that shifts more than it is stable? Those are extremely tough. Reviewing Jason Cash and Andrew Meyer’s session about the Hope College’s redesign reminded me that the past can be used to face the challenges of the present in order to prepare for a better future. Wow, that’s a comforting concept! If we remind ourselves to accept that change is the constant and that we are in a continuous state of adaptation, then we can more comfortably ride the bumpy waves on the way to the end-result.
As we go back to our offices, it is so easy to return to our old schedule, our old habits, and slowly let the enthusiasm and willingness to embrace change wither into a distant memory. But, don’t do it! Don’t let go of the passion. Use change as an impetus to begin something new and exciting at your school.