season anymore. Higher education institutions now regularly face financial difficulties, student and faculty demands,industry disruption, and other challenges that can attract negative public attention. The spotlight on colleges and universities makes it necessary for presidents, board chairs and other trustees to spend time in the early weeks of August thinking about how to best prepare for potential crises that may arise in the fast-approaching new academic year.
Here are some tips for those college and university leaders based on my decades of providing strategic and crisis media relations support to institutions, as well as on my own experience as a higher education trustee.
As a board chair, your first assignment should be a review of the probable issues your college or university will face in the immediate future, as well as what might occur two to three years out. Advance planning is a vital component of any crisis-communications strategy. Think about how effective governors and mayors plan for potential disasters. The same can be done on campuses, and it will allow your institution to respond faster and have fewer unforced errors when a challenge does, in fact, occur.