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In the arduous and often fraught modern higher-ed environment, a university leader couldn’t do the job without your communication counsel.

But where do you turn to get perspective, swap best practices and soak in the wisdom of peers who work and live in your tight-fitting shoes?

You go to Leadership Communication Days—College & University Edition, at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Nov. 13-14.

You’ll get an intimate look at the leadership communication operation at one of the nation’s great public universities—including the view from University of Wisconsin’s Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who will join us for a breakfast conversation.

You'll have time and perspective to see the biggest picture, as the renowned University of Wisconsin political science professor Howard Schweber leads a discussion about the issues that your university president should be addressing more frequently and more effectively.

And you’ll spend two intensive days in structured, candid, confidential conversation with the top leadership communication professionals at Wisconsin and other major institutions of higher learning.

You’ll explore:

  • University leadership communication in the most hyper-political environment in modern history. It was once difficult but manageable, balancing the competing agendas of students and governance groups that make up the university, and the state/federal policymakers and agencies, alumni, foundations and corporations who fund it. At this divisive moment, how does a university leader take a moral and ethical stance on issues that splinter key constituencies? (And how does a university leader not?)
  • Communication at the speed of—what? Technology makes it easy to communicate quickly about any on-campus incident or relevant off-campus issue. And the pressure is on—from students, faculty staff, and alumni—not to mention families, media and the general public. The result is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t dichotomy: Take too long to communicate, you’re pilloried. Talk too soon, you may not have all the facts.
  • How to contend with the evolving role of university presidents and other campus leaders as “an emotional, symbolic center” of the campus community, as Swarthmore College president Valerie Smith recently described it. “When unexpected things happen in the community, people want me to say or write something that is intellectually appropriate but also heartfelt.”
  • And how, in the flash and din of current events, do we maintain our focus on perennial issues that also matter? Affordability and access to higher education. Who funds university research. Campus safety. Racial tensions. The changing expectations of parents, and the students they send to the university. Politicians attempting to influence who gets to speak on campus. The evolving role of the university, and the university leader in the social, political and economic life of the nation. To speak or not to speak? What do say, and to whom? How to say it, and how soon?

On all these issues, university leaders and their leadership communicators must decide—quickly, and correctly.

Get some counsel of your own, at Leadership Communication Days—College & University Edition.

In an agenda created by participants, you will share your best ideas for making this work more manageable, effective and rewarding. And you’ll bare your biggest problems, and get help from the only other people in the world who understand.

Over these two days, you’ll discuss all your professional issues, no matter how unique-to-you they may seem. Because here among your friends, the personal is almost always universal.

What you can expect at Leadership Communication Days—and afterward

This is the third College & University Edition of Leadership Communication Days. The first two included communicators to leaders from University of Michigan, Michigan State, University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Duke University, Stanford University, Georgetown University, The University of Delaware, Wayne State, Johns Hopkins, Seton Hall, The University of Texas, Williams College, Grinnell College and other schools large and small.

They frankly discussed every aspect of their work and their careers, from their relationship with the boss to the meaning of the work. And they made friends: Alums from those meetings are in touch with one another and compare notes and shares opportunities regularly. A number of them will return for this meeting of Leadership Communication Days.

Join them, and you’ll gain more than ideas out of these two days of meetings and coffee breaks and drinks and a sponsored dinner. You’ll gain permanent friends, helpful colleagues and a professional safety net—making a sometimes lonely and difficult business more meaningful and rewarding.


To make sure everyone has a chance to participate fully, we're capping attendance at 20.


The cost for Leadership Communication Days is $2,095—with 25% off for members of the Professional Speechwriters Association.

Register now to make sure you get your seat at what could be a once-in-a-career opportunity. (No refunds on cancellations less than 30 days before the event.)

Hotel Suggestion

We recommend the Graduate Madison, a 5-minute walk from our meetings at the Memorial Union.

Daily Schedule

Each day of Leadership Communication Days runs from 9am-5pm at the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53706. Drinks and dinner, sponsored by the University and the Professional Speechwriters Association, will take place Wednesday evening at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Register Now