Stamats Blog

Teams, Titles, and Talent

Posted by Bob Sevier

Sep 24, 2014 3:49:00 PM

I recently spent a day with Bob Smith. Bob is the retired president of Slippery Rock, a keen observer of higher education, and a great friend. While driving around the wilds of Tennessee, he offered one of those “thinking-out-loud” kind of comments that really make you think.

He asked why is it that senior teams are more concerned about the titles of people sitting around the table than the talent of people sitting around the table.

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Topics: strategic planning, Write a Plan

A New Year Resolution

Posted by Eric Sickler

Sep 22, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Most of the world’s population relegates penning New Year’s resolutions to late December, choosing to look upon January 1 as the quintessential annual fresh start. But those of us who live in education enjoy a bonus fresh start with the launch of every new academic year.

This year, rather than make a Fall Semester New Year’s Resolution (or six), I’m going to challenge you to make just one: rethink—and elevate—your school’s brand around WHY, rather than HOW or WHAT you do for your stakeholders.

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Topics: Energize Our Marketing, Mix It Up

“Ahoy, Autumn”

Posted by Joan Benson

Sep 16, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Image by paraflyerTis talk like a pirate day, me hearties, and—Avast!—t’day we recollect the scabrous treasure chest buried by t’ lubber, John Keats. Me barnacled beauty o’ a perfessor called ye, “T’Autumn.” So, just ter mix some chum in wit t’po-eh-tree, I’ll say ye t’launch o’ t’poem in pirate:

“Season o' mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-bucko o' t' maturin' sun;
Conspirin' with him how t' load and bless
With fruit t' vines that round t' thatch-eves run.”

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Topics: Marketing

Just Search Engine It

Posted by Quint Howell

Sep 2, 2014 1:14:00 PM

I love irony.

Some of the best comedy comes from it. Irony can often bring to light unexpected lessons, sometimes warm and delightful while other lessons can be piercing and cold.

While researching for my blog post about Google, what could be more ironic than googling Google? Sure, I could just go to Google’s page and click the About button, but what’s the fun in that?

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Topics: Bolster Your Brand

The other 238,894 miles

Posted by Nick Ludwig

Aug 29, 2014 10:34:00 AM

When your team of executives and board members convene to develop a strategic plan, it’s almost inevitable for someone to bring up the 30,000-foot view. The phrase was coined as a reference to what you’re able to see when on-board a commercial airplane cruising at 30,000 feet. When applied to strategic thinking, the 30,000-foot view is meant to encourage someone to think holistically and consider long-term goals.

While the view from a plane six miles off the ground can be phenomenal, imagine the same landscape seen from the moon. There’s a lot to learn from the other 238,894 miles.

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Topics: Write a Plan

Analyze this. Tweet that.

Posted by Lisa Giurato

Aug 26, 2014 9:30:00 AM


An important part of evaluating your social media campaigns and strategy is to consider the metrics. Through the metrics, you will better understand the return on your investment (ROI). Analyzing the data that certain tools for data collection can provide enables you to test how well certain content performs as an attractor to your social media platforms and your website. You can identify content to promote. You can perform tests to see which content performs better. You can use it to create polls or even to promote on-campus contests that can provide you with information to evaluate who your audience is and if they are matching up with your target audience. Perhaps, most importantly, social media can generate inbound links to your website.

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Why Tenure is a Little Like Baseball Before Free Agency

Posted by Jeff Rich

Aug 21, 2014 9:37:00 AM

Sounds like a stretch, but if you think a little deeper about it you’ll see some similarities. For those not familiar with baseball before free agency, it was like permanent indentured servitude. As late as 1969, players were bound to a team for life by what was known as the “reserve clause.” Simply put, a player was a team's property unless the team chose to trade him or release him. A player’s first big-league team would usually be his last. In 1970, Kurt Flood changed all that when he challenged major league baseball’s reserve clause, clearing the way for free agency and the ultimate bidding war for talent we find ourselves seeing today. Tenure is generally seen as a really good thing by the academic side of a university, while administrators often struggle with the fixed expense structure it creates during times of declining enrollments and revenue. Putting these perspectives aside, I offer an alternative perspective that, if accepted, may make both sides switch to the other’s point of view. If we think of tenure like the reserve clause in baseball before free agency, then administrators should love it! It keeps salaries low for professors, as they are less likely to jump ship for a higher paying position at another university unless it comes with the tenure they’d be giving up. Academics often enter the field of teaching to gain tenure and have the job security few other professions offer. Like the reserve clause held down salaries in baseball, tenure has a similar effect in higher education. Just imagine if professors who were universally loved by their students, a pleasure for senior administrators to work with, and who produced the best student outcomes could shop their talents on the open market in an industry that sought to acquire the best talent? Top educators would see their salaries skyrocket, and if economic theory held true, the entire industry would see increased wages.
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Topics: Enhance Digital and Social Media, Write a Plan

Lions and Tigers and Plans… Oh My

Posted by Cary Jordan

Aug 21, 2014 8:57:00 AM

“Oh, and watch out for the flying monkeys.”

We all know there’s at least one Scarecrow, in the long history of scarecrows, that would have appreciated that nugget of advice early on. Nothing overly specific. Wouldn’t have had to interrupt the song and dance. Just a quick heads up from one of the waving Munchkins, so that if the Scarecrow were to find himself being disemboweled by a pack of winged primates, it at least wouldn’t have come as a total shock.

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Topics: Write a Plan

“Click Here” Should Never Appear on University Websites

Posted by Jen Visser

Aug 20, 2014 11:38:23 AM

All publicly funded institutions in the United States need to conform to accessibility standards for individuals with disability (ADA and Section 508 compliance) so it’s important that content on your website be easily translated for screen reader software.  Users of screen reader software maintain some amazing skills that the rest of us don’t have, and probably don’t think about:

  • Some users can process content that is read at up to 300 words per minute.  Most of us would be hard put to comprehend audio at 180 words per minute
  • All users tend to skim headlines, screen reader users more than most – and they aren’t as likely to be influenced by visual elements like white space in your layout or intriguing images that call attention to key elements either
  • Screen readers have kept the keyboard skills that most of us lost when we got our first mouse, and they are likely to tab through content searching for active elements on the page, such as links.  And if those links say “click here” they have zero context for what that link does, which makes it useless to them

The Wrong Way to Write Links for Accessibility

Sometimes when writing web content that answers a common question we can get into the habit of directly telling people what to do, like this:

“It is important that you complete your FAFSA application to be eligible for many forms of financial aid available at My University.  The FAFSA can be completed electronically or via downloadable pdf* at the Federal Student Aid website.  To get started on your FAFSA application, click here.”

Based on screen reader skillsets, using “click here” is frustrating for the user at best, and useless in answering their question at worst, if you want to impart key information to users with vision disabilities.  This is an issue that’s easy to fix – it just requires a quick change to your perspective and sentence structure as you write your content. 

A Better Way to Write Links for Accessibility

“It is important that you complete your FAFSA application to be eligible for many forms of financial aid available at My University.  Get a head start on the process and start your FAFSA now.  Download the printable pdf FAFSA or complete your FAFSA online at the federal Student Aid website.”

Keeping best practices for users with disabilities in mind as you write your website content will improve overall usability (UX) for all users, you can learn more about how it works at the following sites.

Web Accessibility Resource Links

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Topics: Enhance Digital and Social Media

Why Are My Fingerprints on the Knife in My Back?

Posted by Bob Sevier

Aug 18, 2014 3:22:00 PM

A number of years ago, I read a book by Jerry Harvey. It had a great title: How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are on the Knife? The book centers around a series of meditations and observations on how and why individuals and organizations self-destruct.

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Topics: Write a Plan

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