Today’s higher education institutions and systems are facing increased risk and often intense scrutiny across a broad spectrum of issues and concerns related to the actions of their leadership and community members, as well as activities on and around their campuses. Many of these issues parallel challenges facing American businesses – except they are amplified and complicated by the unique dynamics and stakeholders accompanying college environments.
Administrators are challenged to maintain their commitment to fostering free speech and open inquiry, enabling vigorous debate, and encouraging a breadth of thought and expression – while also prioritizing the need to ensure physically and emotionally safe communities. On many campuses, this is becoming an exceedingly difficult balancing act. In addition, leaders are facing these difficult decisions amidst increasing expectations for transparency and access to information.
Experience and Perspective
The Colonnade team provides independent perspective and counsel to help college administrators and communications teams. Our counselors have experience working on a range of issues with more than a dozen state universities and other public and private institutions, including:
Planning, Training, and Response Services
Crisis Management Planning and Training
We work with college and university communications and risk management teams to ensure appropriate processes, personnel, and procedures are in place to expedite strategic communications responses to breaking issues and challenges. And, we help senior leaders and crisis response team members understand crisis dynamics, as well as their individual roles and responsibilities, through training and scenario-based simulations. Our team members also lecture on crisis communications at business schools.
Issues Management and Crisis Response Support
Our seasoned crisis communications counselors are available to rapidly deploy to support administrators and communications teams responding to complex and escalating internal, stakeholder, and media relations challenges. We use our frontline experience to conduct analysis and scenario mapping, help develop communications strategy and messaging, and to deliver outside perspective to the decision-making process. Often, our greatest value is providing objective and informed analysis to help clients address unfamiliar high-stakes situations in a strategic and thorough manner.
Media Training and Spokesperson Preparation
Demonstrating leadership and accountability are keys to successfully managing crises and contentious issues. Our team has prepared and rehearsed college leaders, administrators, and faculty in advance of critical media events, interviews, and public appearances.