2021 Big Ten+ News & Marketing Conference

Thank you for joining us for the free, virtual Big Ten+ News and Marketing Conference on June 22 and 23, 2021! Two tracks of discussion-centered sessions focused on lessons learned from the pandemic and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Note: The title of each session links to a video recording of the session. The password for each video is BigTen (case sensitive).

Please fill out a brief post-conference survey.

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, June 22

Scientists on the Front Line: Combating Misinformation in a Pandemic

9 am Central / 10 am Eastern

Mask confusion, wacky remedies, killer vaccines. The need for accurate scientific information grew considerably in the last 15 months as COVID ripped through the world. Two researchers and a national health and science reporter discussed the unrelenting demand for scientists to step up and help slow the flow of misinformation, some of which could lead to deaths.

  • Laura Lessnau, News Director, University of Michigan
  • Aubree Gordon, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Maggie Fox, science and health editor, CNN
  • Dietram Scheufele, Professor of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Caring for Campus during the Pandemic and Beyond

10 am CDT / 11 am EDT

Staff and faculty from Indiana University and the University of Iowa shared strategies they’ve used during the pandemic to bolster mental health, from a prominent study of how the pandemic has affected parents, to a campaign to end stigma around mental health, to checking in on students’ well-being where they are (on Instagram).

  • April Toler, Senior Associate Director of Communications, Indiana University Research
  • Jessica Calarco, Associate Professor of Sociology, Indiana University
  • Rebekah Tilley, Director of Communications at the Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa

Leveraging Influencers in Pandemic Communications

11 am CDT / 12 pm EDT

Higher ed communicators were faced with the need to share unprecedented amounts of ever-changing information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Communicators from Purdue, Penn State, and Notre Dame shared their successes in mobilizing student ambassadors and other influencers.

  • Katie Weismiller Ellis, Assistant Director of Marketing Strategy
    Purdue University
  • Kati Pratt, Director of Brand and Marketing Strategy, Purdue University
  • Erin Colbourn, Director of Media Strategy, Penn State University
  • Andy Fuller, Director of Strategic Content, University of Notre Dame

Big Ten Network Update

12:30 pm CDT / 1:30 pm EDT

Erin Harvego, Vice-President of Marketing at the Big Ten Network, will provide an update and answer questions on Big Ten collaboration plans for BTN, including LiveBIG.

Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices in Photography and Video

1:30 pm CDT / 2:30 pm EDT

Faces and Beyond: How university photographers and videographers can accurately include underrepresented populations on campus.

  • Dennis Brown, Assistant Vice President for News and Media Relations, University of Notre Dame
  • Beth Grisoli, Producer and Director of Multimedia Services, University of Notre Dame
  • Matt Cashore, Senior University Photographer, University of Notre Dame

Wednesday, June 23

Digital Accessibility in Higher Ed—Why Does it Matter?

9 am CDT / 10 am EDT

Why is it important for cross-functional teams to collaboratively create accessible content on the web and social media? What structures or resources can help?

  • Cynthia Martinez, Director of Brand Marketing, University of Maryland Office of Strategic Communications
  • Sandi Arendalkowski, Digital Accessibility Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin–Madison Center for User Experience
  • Josh Harless, Chief Digital Strategist, University of Maryland Office of Strategic Communications
  • Philip Voorhees, ATAC; Manager, IT Accessibility Team; Penn State University

Building a Diverse Group of Expert Voices

10:15 am CDT / 11:15 am EDT

University media relations professionals spoke with NPR’s Chief Diversity Officer, Keith Woods, about advancing diversity in expert media sources.

  • Veronica Rueckert, National Media Relations Specialist, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Keith Woods, Chief Diversity Officer, National Public Radio
  • Nardy Baeza Bickel, University of Michigan, Sr. Public Relations Representative and Hispanic Comms Manager

Responding to Racial Crises in Your Campus Community

11 am CDT / 12 pm EDT

The University of Minnesota was in a unique position in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the events that followed. University Relations communicators shared their approach over the past year and highlight what worked well and lessons learned.

  • Chuck Tombarge, Chief Public Relations Officer, University of Minnesota
  • Christie A. Wells, Internal Communications Director, University of Minnesota
  • Jake Ricker, Public Relations Director, University of Minnesota

Keynote: Dr. Lisa D. Cook, Professor of Economics at Michigan State University

12 pm CDT / 1 pm EDT

Dr. Cook spoke about diversity and innovation.

Lightning Round: Sharing Successes in Three Minutes or Less

1:30 to 2:45 pm CDT / 2:30 to 3:45 pm EDT

In spite of—or in response to—the pandemic, we had some hard-won successes in the past year-plus. Staff from a variety of campuses shared their best stories in a few minutes each.