Washington, D.C., May 21, 2018 – The communications program at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS), led by Director of Communications Kristen Browning-Blas, has been recognized with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ (AAVMC) 2018 Communications Excellence Award.
Colorado’s communication program was praised by judges for the portfolio of fresh and engaging communication products and content it has created to advance the college’s strategic plan and institutional advancement goals. Judges were also impressed by the college’s creation of compelling video products for use in conventional and social media channels, the image-rich, online newsroom component of a new website, new publications, and various community engagement programs.
“Communications excellence is fundamental to institutional advancement,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We congratulate our colleagues at Colorado State University for earning this distinction, and appreciate the role their work is playing in advancing the overall interests of academic veterinary medicine.”
A recently redesigned website includes a continuously updated online news room called “CVMBS Source” that has resulted in millions of page views. Introduced in September 2017, Source features a variety of content that portrays the modern profession’s breadth of impact. A story on Lyme Disease research elicited global coverage through 300 media outlets, with an estimated readership of 407 million. Another on cross-species viral transmission, which examined lentiviruses in mountain lions, reached 325 million readers and viewers.
National media hits have included Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, ABC News, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Wired, U.S. News and World Report, and numerous others.
Stepped-up social media programming through 11 different accounts helped grow the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s social media audience by 132 percent year-over-year. Their engagement with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s “Girls and Science” program helped introduce an estimated 15,000 girls to opportunities in veterinary medicine and their lead sponsorship of the City of Fort Collins’ annual “Pooch Plunge” program attracted 1,250 participants and media coverage.
A new college magazine called “Impact” has been created to support institutional advancement goals of raising $300 million by 2020. The magazine, which is being enhanced to serve as an overall college magazine, has earned honors from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and constituents alike: college staffers were recently stunned to discover a check for $25,000 returned in one of the giving envelopes routinely distributed with the magazine.
A compelling video called “Make a Difference,” as well as a portfolio of new admissions and recruiting materials, has helped elicit record numbers of applicants. Judges also noted the college’s efforts with intra-organizational communication products to support “town-hall” meetings.
“Kristen has refined our communications goals to correspond with strategic priorities, fostered supportive relationships with central and college units, and maintained ongoing projects upholding the excellent communications standards established by the college,” said CVMBS Dean Mark D. Stetter, who stressed the overall group effort provided by the communications team, nick-named ‘CommSquad.’ “This college dedicates resources and support to communications, and it pays off in publicity, recruiting, research, legislative efforts, international collaborations, and overall advancement of the field of veterinary medicine and education.”
Communications and advertising initiatives have helped contribute to substantial progress in several areas at CSU since 2013: The number of hospital patient visits at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital was 40,462 in 2017, up 45 percent. Sample submissions at the Veterinary Diagnostic laboratories were 229,000 during that same year, representing an increase of 20 percent. And laboratory procedures at the Bud and Jo Adams Equine Reproduction Laboratory were 19,000 in 2017, up 46 percent.
The six-member team of judges consisted of communication professionals representing member organizations of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) in Washington, D.C. 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, strategic orientation and other factors.
The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, a commemorative, and public recognition. It will be formally presented during the annual meeting of the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals (AVAP) on Thursday, July 12 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown Convention Center.
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, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
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