Archive for October, 2009

| posted by Joe Hice |

A “Destination University”

When I was at Harley-Davidson we talked a lot about what made a good motorcycle dealer great.  It always came down to a term we coined to describe why one was more successful than the rest.  The dealership was a destination; a “destination dealership.”  That’s the kind of place you ride to because that’s where you want to go. It’s where you want to be.  Not just a stop along the way.  Destination dealerships are a hang out for riders.  Meet your buddies on Saturday morning for coffee and doughnuts.  Have a hot dog and soda at the HD cafe.  The store is Point A, F and T on a ride to Point Z.  All that fun stuff.

During the NC State Foundation Board Meeting today, one of our deans talked about the goals of his college.  “We need to become a destination college,” said CHASS Dean Jeff Braden.  What the dean was talking about is the importance of growing the humanities and social sciences at NC State to a point where students attend the university because they want to receive a degree from the college.  And where people pay attention to what’s going on at CHASS.  Yes, that does happen today, but it needs to happen a lot more often if we’re to grow this university and grow its reputation.


Marvin Malecha, Dean of the College of Design, added to the image in part because his college is already one of those destination colleges.  On par with Yale, Rhode Island, Pasadena and others, kids from across the country seek out the programs. They want to be here.  The dean went on to say that he believed Raleigh itself has become a destination and a somewhat unexpected one at that.  Returning from a trip a while back, Malecha followed a couple of Brits off the plane and heard them exclaim in the airport, “Didn’t expect this from Raleigh.”  Yeah baby!  We’ve become a destination.

Deans Braden and Malecha got me thinking…don’t we — NC State University — aspire to the exact same thing.  We want to be that Destination University for an increasing number of students.  We want to be their No. 1 choice.  We want to be the place kids want to be. We want to be that Harley store that everyone rides to, even when other options are nearby.  It’s not enough to have a handful of destination colleges is it?  We want to be the Destination University.

Now, I’ve only been on campus for 26 days, but in my eyes I think we may already be that Destination University in North Carolina.  We offer a wider variety of academic disciplines, have more students, more alumni, more faculty, and more staff than anyone else.  But we don’t always act like the Destination University we’ve become.  Looking over our shoulders at what’s happening around us.  Talking about how green the grass is on the other side of the hill.  That kind of thing. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Twiddily diddily deet, tweet tweet, or “What’s up with Twitter these days?”

My comments about students and their use of social media in yesterday’s post created some good discussion and led me to my computer files for more information. Here are some of the more interesting things I found. The information is from November 2008 so while things have changed, they should still provide a reasonable snap shot of what’s going on out there…or do they?

Here are the key stats from last year’s PEW Internet & American Life study regarding the demographic of twitter users:

  • 19% of online adults age 18-24 have used twitter or something like it
  • 20% of online adults age 25-34 have used twitter or something like it
  • 10% of online adults age 35-44   ”   ”   ”   “
  • 5% of online adults age 45-54   ”   ”   ”   “
  • 4% of online adults age 55-64   ”   ”   ”   “
  • 2% of online adults 65+   ”   ”   ”   ” (more…)

| posted by Joe Hice |

Communications in the modern age

Had a good visit with the folks in the Communications Department over at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences today.  A strong group of faculty members who are truly interested in what we’re doing from a strategic communications perspective.  Even got a few volunteers for our committees.  Kindred spirits I’d like to think.

Not surprisingly, the talk eventually led down the path of social networking.  Who uses what, when and why.  I’m sure someone in the College will be able to explain how best to use the tools that are available to us, but we all agreed it’s a work in progress.

Biggest question I have is about Twitter.  Who is using Twitter and for what purpose.  A couple at the gathering today (but certainly not all)  believe that students do not tweet.  They text.  I thought about that and went to my Twitter feed to see who is following me and who is tweeting on a regular basis.  Not a student to be found in the mix.  Recent grads for sure, but overwhelmingly, my peers and others in the mid- to later stages of their careers seem to be the ones who like to tweet.

hiceschool twitter site



| posted by Joe Hice |

Meetings and more Passion

Yikes. A busy week of meetings this…Four yesterday, four today, four tomorrow, five on Thursday (including a dinner) and one very long meeting on Friday.  Whew.  But it’s all part of learning.

Passion rules.  Yes. In every meeting this week, the week before, and the weeks before that, the passion for NC State is  palpable which is great for me.  As I like to tell people, my job is pretty simple; I’m helping create disciples for NC State.  And to create disciples, you start with the believers…that would be alumni, faculty, staff, students.  You know, those who have experienced the Wolfpack up close and personal.  It may not always be beautiful, but it’s our pack.  Our family.  We are the true believers.


Hunt Library groundbreaking

The owner of my old agency at Florida said it was pretty simple.  You want to convince people to love you…to love what you do.  Why, because when people love you they think about you first…and last.  Everyday.  They are also willing to forgive your mistakes; overlook your shortcomings.  And lord knows we all make mistakes.  They also want you to succeed.  They cheer you on, provide advice and counsel.  All that good stuff.

So when the agency asked me today what I thought we should be doing with the NC State branding campaign, I said it was pretty simple.  We should be creating disciples for the university.

We start with — no, we focus on — the true believers until we’ve got them in a position where they can go out and advocate on our behalf, right alongside those of us who do it at work.  Actually, we want them to do it at work too.  We want them to do it over the fence with their neighbors. We want them to think about NC State in the morning, at noon and at night.  It might just be a grin when we see the Wolfpack bumper sticker on the car ahead of us, or the NC State polo on the guy or girl the next table over.

We’re not asking for much, here.  We’re not selling life insurance, canned fruit or automobiles.  Just reminding people of the passion that a place like NC State creates in people.  Passion around the work we do.  Passion around the lives we influence.  Passion around…well, passion around everything NC State.

Passion Rules!

23 of 100


| posted by Joe Hice |

Good News Site up and running!


The first “Guest Blog” goes to Matt Shipman.  Matt’s work has resulted in another news  outlet for NC State,   “The Good News” Page.  Check out Matt’s post that follows and by all means, check out the new Good News page.


By W. Matthew Shipman

mattOne of our goals at NC State is to foster a sense of community among those people who care about this university. Our alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends want to be involved in the life of the university. Friends of mine who are alumni often ask what they can do to help NC State – and I always give them the same answer: help us share the good news.

Every week finds NC State in the news, with stories on the success of our faculty and students, new scientific research and the university’s role in supporting the state and national economy. It is important that people recognize NC State as the economic driver and leading research institution that it is. We need to let people know about all the great work going on at NC State – and an active NC State community is the key to spreading that good news.

The idea is simple: when you see some great news about the university, share it with someone. Tell your family about it over dinner, talk to your co-workers about it at the water-cooler, email your best friend from college. If you’re a student, tell your parents about it – it will give them something to brag about. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Knights of Ning!

No, it’s not a Monty Python skit and it’s really not funny. But cool. Yes! We’ve been talking about improving our internal communications efforts and Tim Jones and the web group have created a new “Ning” site for campus communicators.

One thing we’ve heard from campus communicators is that they’d like some kind of online community to share ideas, keep informed about what others are doing, pitch stories, get feedback on projects and ask questions. So, we’ve created the NC State University Campus Communicators social network using Ning (a free social networking platform) to encourage this kind of ongoing dialogue among campus communicators, and provide a new way to facilitate internal communications.

You’ll need to first be invited to join the site, and then setup your account and have it approved before you can access all of the features. Keep an eye on your inbox for the invite. If you don’t receive an invite in the next day or two, send Tim Jones ( an email, and he’ll get things straightened out. Also, we’re limiting members to those with an email address, so make sure that’s what you use when you setup your account.

A couple key features:


Use these forums for pretty much any kind of discussion. Share current projects, ask questions, get feedback on Websites—it’s up to you. As a starting point we’ve set up the forums with a few basic categories and some private forums for the upcoming State Comm committees. Let us know what you’d like to see here, and we’ll get it setup.


Community calendar for communicators. Anyone can submit events.


Share your expertise, ideas and experiences through your own blog. No setup required.


Upload photos and videos to share with everyone.


The Communicators Ning site also features headlines from News Services, recent posts from our esteemed CCO’s blog, a collection of recent tweets from the NC State Twitter site, and the latest videos posted on the NC State YouTube channel, all in one place.

We’re really hoping that the communications community takes advantage of this site. Like most social media tools, the quality and usefulness of the tool depends entirely on what the community puts in to it.

Take it for a spin and let us know what you think. In the next couple weeks, the folks in Web Communication will offer a quick tutorial on how to use the site for anyone with questions. For any questions in the mean time, send them to Tim Jones,

Thanks Tim and crew. This is awesome.

21 of 100


| posted by Joe Hice |

Is Body Mass Index an appropriate measure

From The Bulletin Editor.

In our Oct. 8 issue, we ran an article on changes to the State Health Plan that may reduce coverage for people who smoke or have a high body mass index, and in our Oct. 15 issue we ran the first round of letters from faculty and staff members responding to the changes. This week the conversation continues with more letters from Bulletin readers. Next week, we’ll continue our examination of this topic with a look at a wellness program developed by employees in the College of Natural Resources. And in subsequent weeks we’ll attempt to get answers to more of the questions raised in your letters.
More on BMI

BMI idex has to take into consideration bone density for some groups of people. It paints a broad stroke when that is not considered. Higher bone density means more weight or muscle.

Sakinah S Abdal-Rafi
Infrastructure, Systems & Operations
Legislature Unable to Manage Plan

Governance of the State Health Plan should be insulated from the corrupting influences of political control to the maximum possible extent. The legislature has proven itself unable both to manage the plan effectively and to resist business groups’ influence to hamstring the plan with favorable subsidies. We have a situation where employee benefits are cut to fund unnecessary fee increases to medical providers. North Carolina’s ability to compete for employees has been severely damaged by the legislature’s poor management of the State Health Plan.



| posted by Joe Hice |

State COMM Revisited

Here’s the draft outline for a slightly more directed NC State Communications Network (on the NING page). I need everyone’s input to help make this work for everyone on campus. If not everyone, at least for the largest number of people then. Please pay close attention to the committee recommendations in light of the strategic planning process we’re about to embark upon. Like I said, much of the unit planning has already been done by the communicators at the college- and unit-level and our goal will be to create a university-wide “master plan” if you will. The college and unit plans will play directly into the master plan.

I’m also interested in your feedback on the Sevier workbook around Integrated Marketing. There’s another CASE book we’re looking into as well. Let me know if you have the “perfect” solution for this. In any case, I think it’s important that we all talk the same talk so a workbook like this will help us frame our work in terms and phrases we’re all familiar with.

So, please review the plan on the NING site and comment.

All for now.

20 of 100


| posted by Joe Hice |

Testing testing

HiceSchool is now automatically connecting to Twitter and Facebook…I think


| posted by Joe Hice |

Big meeting today

The big meeting with communicators went well today.  Talked about communications in higher education now and in the future. Went into some strategic issues as well as tactical considerations.  Then we talked about the strategic communications planning process and how the NC State Communications Network can play/will play a significant role in the process.  Also introduced the group to the heavy-metal version of “Make the Logo Bigger,” one of my favorite songs (yeah, right.)

After talking for about 45 minutes did some Q&A and I felt very energized after the presentation.  The fact that so many people hung around afterwards to talk to me, and others, was a great sign.  I also saw a number of people introducing themselves to each other.  That’s a very good thing and getting to know each other while working together on the strat plan is very important to the morale and psyche of the communications network.

Also got a number of volunteers for the committees we discussed.  I hope everyone will send me an e mail message about committee work because I know I won’t remember everyone who volunteered:-)  My address, just for the record, is

Then, after it was all over, I realized I had left my apt keys in the office and it locks down at 5 p.m.  Fortunately UPD was nearby.  Final good news was from the youngest of the Hice pups who received her official acceptance into graduate school at UF! She’ll be studying Advertising and Photography.  Returning the favor as the UF television spot says.

19 of 100