Washington, D.C., May 23, 2016 – The communication program at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM&BS), led by Communications Director Megan Palsa, Ph.D., has been recognized with the 2016 AAVMC Communications Excellence Award.
The six-member judging team was impressed with the strategic focus, comprehensive nature and overall sophistication of its communication program. Judges also noted the college’s exceptional engagement with the AAVMC’s 50th Anniversary celebration, which coincided with planning for the Texas A&M college’s own 100th anniversary in 2016.
“The connection between communications excellence and institutional advancement is crystal clear,” said AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We congratulate our colleagues at Texas A&M for earning this honor. Operating a communication program at this level does more than ensure their college is meeting and exceeding the needs of its stakeholders. It has a significant national impact that benefits all of academic veterinary medicine.”
The communication program played a tangible role in numerous metrics of success achieved by the college during 2015: Almost $33 million in private support was secured, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital treated 27,978 cases, $30.4 million in extramural funding and grants were logged, and 576 students applied for the 138 available slots in the first-year class.
“In a world where technology is rampant and information is a fundamental necessity, communication programs for academic veterinary medicine establishments have become an essential component to function successfully,” said Dr. Eleanor Green , the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. “Reaching a massive amount of people is no small task and keeping them engaged is another feat; however, Dr. Palsa and the CVM Communications team readily accept the challenge and continue to triumphantly succeed in shifting, progressing and impacting the realm of veterinary medicine on a global scale.”
In addition to key messages designed to highlight the essential role played by the college and the veterinary profession, program themes also focused on One Health, diversity and inclusion, and leadership.
The Texas A&M CVM&BS media relations program earned more than 3,900 hits, including major national media like ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS Frontline, the New York Times and others. The college’s Facebook page attracted 1,678 new followers during the year, which represented growth of 24 percent over the prior year.
Websites hits during the year tallied 3.9 million, representing an 8.3 percent increase over the year before. 2.9 million of those were unique views, up 11.5 percent from the year before. The website ranked first at the university for conversion, a metric that measures the rate at which website visitors either make donations or seek information from the Texas A&M University Foundation.
Judge’s also noted success in a variety of other traditional and innovative program areas. 76 press releases were distributed, which were viewed 56,751 times on the website. The college broadly engaged with key constituents such as the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, providing regular content for their Texas Veterinarian publication, as well as monthly content in other key Texas trade media.
504 tours were provided for 2,856 visitors, up 11.5 percent from the year before. The bi-annual CVM Today magazine was distributed to about 5,500 subscribers, with the online version viewed 13,255 times. A weekly Pet Talk column resulted in 18,877 views and college experts were featured bi-monthly on a local television program. They also implemented an interactive university signage program and helped support the college’s Serving Every Texan Every Day initiative.
The college also broadly engaged with the AAVMC’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration. AAVMC anniversary videos, publications, and other collateral were featured in college communication programs and at college events. Faculty and administrators included general information about the AAVMC as part of presentations at 27 meetings and conferences. Faculty members shared the AAVMC’s 50th anniversary video 103 times at academic and professional conferences around the world.
The six-member team of judges included communication professionals representing member organizations of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) in Washington, D.C., the AAVMC and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Judges scored nominations from four competing schools using an empirical process that assessed criteria such as quality and scope of the program, leadership and innovation in program development, engagement with AAVMC programs and other factors.
The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, a plaque and public recognition. It will be presented during the annual meeting of the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals (AVAP) on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. Honorees are invited to make a presentation on the winning communications program during the annual AVAP conference.
The AAVMC Board of Directors established the Communications Excellence Award in 2013 to recognize the important role of communications in advancing academic veterinary medicine and the profession, inspire higher level of performance and foster collaboration among member institutions.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
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