Tips from the Trenches: College Communicators Converge in Staunton

November 7, 2006

These are some of the people who reallyhavebeen there and done that. Mary Baldwin University will host the fall meeting — featuring tips from the trenches of communication and marketing for higher education — of the statewide College Communicators Association (CCA) on its home turf November 9 and 10. The group is led by Mary Baldwin’s own Crista Cabe, associate vice president for communication, marketing, and public affairs, and includes all the members of Mary Baldwin’s Office of Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs team, as well as members from colleges and universities in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Graphic designers, writers, Web managers, public relations specialists, and administrators in communication positions will meet at the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel and in the William Wyatt King Building Thursday and Friday.

King Building on campus will be home to CCA eventsMary Baldwin faculty and students who are not CCA members will also be integrated into the conference. Mary Baldwin Assistant Professor of Photography Jim Sconyers will lead a session about taking and choosing images for publication, Visual Literacy: A Photography Primer. Several students will gain valuable experience and networking opportunities by helping with registration, check-in, and events throughout the conference. Mary Baldwin’s Melissa Malabad, assistant professor of business administration and marketing, is registered for several sessions for professional development. Assistant Professor of Communication Bruce Dorries had students in his course Principles of Public Relations sign up for one of the afternoon sessions in lieu of their regular class period.

Cabe and other executive members of CCA responded to members’ requests to assemble speakers and seminars that target specific needs of college communicators. Kevin Hall, press secretary for former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and current Governor Tim Kaine, will deliver the opening address, “Press secretary to the Governor: A little bit of glamour, and a lot of standing around in the rain.”

“I’m jazzed to get to spend some time in Staunton and on the Mary Baldwin campus. Many college and university public information officers are great friends and colleagues whom I hope to entertain with some ‘backstage’ stories,” Hall said.

As a first for this conference, participants are invited to attend an intensive half-day writing workshop with Anna Billingsley from University of Mary Washington. Other sessions focus on branding, Web site implementation, photography, media relations, and fundraising conversations. A stop by the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse to watch a performance of Othello is also encouraged as part of the Staunton experience. And if you see a few unfamiliar people exploring campus, greet them, as they are likely part of a tour organized as part of the conference or discovering on their own.

CCA’s Web site,, provides background information about the organization and a full conference schedule.