Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Office of Communications Awarded for Excellence

The Florida A&M University Office of Communications will receive an Award of Excellence and a Special Merit Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III for its work in media relations and graphic design.

“This recognition from CASE is significant,” said Sharon Saunders, FAMU’s chief communications officer and special assistant to the president. “It is symbolic of our strategic effort as a university community to positively promote and market FAMU. This award recognizes the commitment and dedication of my staff toward a common goal.”

In the category of Media Relations Programs, Division B, Total Programs, the FAMU Office of Communications submitted news articles, editorials and the Office of Communications strategic plan which included as one of its goals to reverse the trend of negative news coverage. The office received an “Award of Excellence” in this category.

According to Edwina Harris Hamby, Ph. D., judging coordinator for the media relations programs, the initiative was “right on the mark.”

“Your goal was a very unique one, but one that many institutions often face yet do not tackle effectively,” said Hamby.

Hamby also suggested that the FAMU Office of Communications develop its strategic initiatives into a workshop and present it at an international CASE and Association for Fundraising Professional (AFP) conferences.

“You have a viable ‘best practice’ from which other institutions could benefit immeasurably,” she said.

In the category of Direct Mail, the Office of Communications submitted the invitation for FAMU President James H. Ammons’ inauguration, which included an interactive DVD. For this submission, the office received a “Special Merit Award.”

During 2008-2009, the office took advantage of new media establishing MySpace, Facebook and blog pages. The office increased the number of press releases that were distributed worked to promote university achievements through special events, and developed strategies to keep FAMU stakeholders informed. Alumni also received releases and helped in the effort to spread the word about university events and achievements.

The cut off for the submission were activities ending November 5, 2008. During that period, FAMU had articles published in the New York Times, USA Today, Ebony, Diverse Issues in Higher Education and publications throughout the state and nation. In addition, the university received exposure through ESPN Game Day and TV One coverage during the presidential election.

CASE District III holds an annual conference where institutions of higher learning in Southeast region of the United States participate in various workshops, roundtable discussions and professional development seminars, in addition to the awards ceremony. This year, CASE will hold its annual conference in February in Atlanta, Ga., where the Office of Communications will be presented with the awards.

CAPTION: FAMU's Office of Communications received an Award of Excellence and a Special Merit Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III. Units in the Office of Communications include: media relations, publications and special events. (First row left to right) Angel Suri; Sharon P. Saunders, who manages the Office of Communications and serves as the special assistant to the president; and Pamela Tolson, director of Media Relations. (Second row left to right) Tawanda Green; Charles Collins, III; Sabrina Thompson; Brian Lucas; Tammy Hamlet, director of Special Events; Veronica Scott; Keith Pope; Lawana King; and Glyndell Presley, director of Publications.

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