2014 Communications and Community Relations Study Tour participants

Communications and Community Relations

March 31st - April 4th, 2014

Delegation from Finnish higher education institutions explored best practices and trends in communications and university relations with constituent audiences. Participants visited institutions in Washington, DC and the states of Maryland and Virginia to discuss marketing and recruitment, information sharing, content production, promotion of science and research, brand management and related topics. The group learnt about the American system from expert speakers and through direct observation at private and public universities. The opening day seminar focused on introducing the cultural, economic and political contexts in which university communication professionals are challenged to promote and protect university interests, as well as the organizations and tools which professionals are able to utilize. There were eleven members in the delegation.

See the list of delegation members and their CV's (PDF)


The program began in Washington, DC with the opening day seminar.  In subsequent days, participants travelled to two universities in Washington, DC, two in Maryland and one in Virginia. In addition, a series of speakers representing communications and media professionals outside (but related to) American higher education presented to the delegation. Two debriefing meetings was held.

See the full Study Tour Agenda (PDF)

2014 U.S. Study Tour

Additional materials:

Read also Study Tour's Blog

Background Reading on Study Tour Themes

Articles from Inside Higher Ed

  • Experts of Engagement: about students using social media to recruit new students
  • Buy One Get One Free: discusses a novel use of social media by a university press
  • Bard’s Bet: discusses branding of a small liberal arts college
  • Making the Case: involves issues of messaging in the face of negative media narratives
  • Fireable Tweets: about faculty usage of social media and institutional social media policies
  • Logo Revolt: about the negative reaction to the U. of California's new logo
  • They Came for the For-Profits:  this has to do with the for-profit college industry, as well as some elements of higher ed advocacy and the role of the federal government and political pressures
  • Rating Alternative: discusses the public university response to President Obama’s rating plan. Not strictly communications-related, but gives some context of some of the national initiatives happening in the U.S.
  • High Noon in Austin: another article from the level of state governments on advocating for public higher ed in the face of political pressure

Editorials from Inside Higher Ed

Related Links


 Crisis communication


2014 U.S. Study Tour - 2

American University

Johns Hopkins University

 The George Washington University

University of Maryland

 George Mason University

 American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Association of American Universities

The National Science Foundation

 American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Council for the Advancement and Support of Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Washington Office

Other resources