This is post one in a series of two posts.
My role at Syracuse University as the Social Media Professor in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is changing and it has been an amazing journey. Before I share the next stage of my Digging for Worms journey, I want to share what led me to Syracuse University and a few of the successes I have enjoyed as part of the Newhouse team so far.
What led me to Syracuse University
Newhouse leadership recognized that social media is part of all aspects of business and communication and hired a professor to focus on teaching social media. I had the distinct honor of being the first. Digital and Social media rapidly changes how business is done, but employee skill sets are increasingly out of date. The digital skills gap continues to widen as the rate of innovation outpaces existing skills sets. Social media has disrupted and will continue to disrupt jobs, industries and business models. While other schools are preparing students for the jobs that once were, Newhouse is preparing students for the jobs that are coming next.
Over the past three years my Newhouse colleagues have inspired me because each is an expert in their respective field and because of a shared passion for teaching.
Having taught at the college level for 20 years, it has been a privilege to help students and industry pros to connect and learn about all forms of communication and creativity. The past seven years have been particularly rewarding, with the explosion of social and mobile technologies, and as one of the early adopters bringing it into the classroom. In 2007, my students built connections and networked internationally while attending, live blogging and tweeting from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
A few of the successes I enjoyed on the Newhouse team
The Newhouse School has been incredibly supportive over the past three years and I have enjoyed playing a role in several firsts in digital and social media education.
I have collaborated with numerous colleagues and faculty around the world to help integrate digital and social media into their curriculum. Over 250 students have received professional social media certification as part of the social media classes I taught and have gotten great jobs as a result.
I hope that along the way I have inspired a few students on how to use digital and social media for the jobs of the future just as I have been inspired by my Newhouse colleagues bridging the digital skills gap.
I also want to thank the many industry thought leaders who generously gave of their time and talent to speak with and inspire my students and I by sharing best practice.
Here are a few of the innovations at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University that I am proud to have been a part of:
- Global Leaders In Digital and Social Media Speaker Series. Featuring industry thought leaders with social, events regularly trended nationally on Twitter
- SU International Digital and Social Media Study Abroad Program at Cannes Lions. First course of its kind to study international social media
- Hootsuite Higher Education program. Piloted first integration of professional social media certification in higher education classes, now used in over 350 classrooms
- Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification program, in partnership with Hootsuite. First online industry-focused social training program with industry and academic collaboration
- Pioneered using Google Glass in class. First class using wearable tech for learning about entrepreneurship and social media
- Keynote speaker leading discussions with thousands on how to bridge the digital and social skills gap and transform organizations and education SXSW, Tedx, SXSWedu, PRSSA, etc.
Click here: to see the complete list of achievements.
The first step: developing a philosophy
When I was nine, I started my first business selling night crawlers on Cowan Lake, a small, quiet lake near Rockford, Michigan where I grew up. The spirit of learning, entrepreneurship and building realtionships that inspired me as a nine year old has inspired me throughout my career and still guides my decisions. I still sign off all of my blog posts with Keep Digging for Worms! to remind myself and motivate others to roll up our sleeves, dig in, and push forward. My 4Ward (sounds like "forward") philosophy of helping others to look ahead by connecting and learning from the best and moving 4Ward by preparing for what's next is part of Digging for Worms. Click here: to read or watch the complete Digging for Worms! story
I look forward to sharing the next stage of my journey and where I am headed next, in part two in this series: The Early Worm Joins The Nest - Digging For Worms, the DR4WARD Journey Continues (post 2 in a series of 2 posts.)
I look 4Ward to your feedback.
and as always... Keep Digging for Worms!
Dr. William J. Ward aka DR4WARD