There are many great stories to be told at Duke, and university communicators were recently honored for their effective storytelling by the leading national higher education communications organization.
Duke communicators received honors in 10 categories in the annual Circle of Excellence competition held by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). While 202 institutions received honors, only Stanford University, which also received 10 awards, matched Duke’s total.
The Duke honorees were:
- General News Writing: The Office of News and Communications won Gold for its collection of stories: "Beauty is in the Ear of the Beholder Too"; "How Technological Disruption, Not Trade, Doomed U.S. Steel Jobs"; "Black-White Earnings Gap Returns to 1950 Levels"; "Slips of the Lip Stay All in the Family" and "Lemur Center Reeling From Sudden Death of Four Aye-Ayes". Judges praised the writing as “setting the standard” for other institutions and for the effective packaging of writing, infographics and imagery in the storytelling.
- Multimedia Campaigns: Duke University Development won gold for Ideas That Move the World Forward. The video campaign showcased Duke faculty at Duke Forward events explaining their research and how it was playing out in real-world situations. These videos were then shared online and through social media channels. Judges said the videos were effective and noted how the communications team “… consistently looked at its results and made changes to their strategy based on how content had performed.”
- Internal Audience Publications: Duke won two gold medals in this category, with Duke Today taking the honors in digital publications and Working@Duke winning for print publications. The publications were praised for serving their audience well and for innovative and interesting storytelling.
- Alumni Relations: Programming for Special Constituencies: Duke University Alumni Affairs received a gold for Dear Duke Alum, a project in which Alumni Affairs gathered advice from alumni all over the world and transformed it into 550 handwritten notes for graduating seniors. Judges said the project was a wonderful and highly personal way to engage both alumni and students in the institution.
- Media Relations Programs & Projects: The Office of News & Communications won a silver for Campaign Stop 2016, a website collecting Duke faculty, student and alumni voices on the critical issues that drove the 2016 election. Judges praised the website for leveraging Duke’s expertise in a critical election battleground. “Because it is a private institution situated in a politically controversial state, Duke took advantage of grabbing on to the election and using digital media to create a brilliant push/pull campaign,” one judge wrote.
- Magazines Special Issues: Duke Magazine received a silver medal for its special issue on language. The issue collected more than two dozen articles by Duke students, faculty, staff and alumni providing a multifaceted exploration of the power of language. The magazine is published by Duke University Development and Alumni Affairs. “Duke took a chance with this issue and it paid off,” said one judge.
- Periodicals Design: Duke Magazine’s special issue on language also received a silver medal for its design. Judges noted that the special issue eliminated much of the standard features of magazine publication. “The new designs are riveting and provide a great backdrop for some truly innovating writing,” one judge wrote.
- Alumni Relations: Programming for Special Constituencies: Duke University Alumni Affairs also won a silver for “Alumni Women’s Weekend, a three-day event addressing professional and lifestyle topics. Judges thought this was an important program that served and engaged with alumni.
- Design: Specialty Pieces: Duke University Alumni Affairs won bronze for its Alumni Association Trading Card Deck, which commemorated the achievements of “all-star” alumni volunteers. The cards were given to attendees at an Alumni Affairs ceremony at the Krzyzewski Center this past fall.
In addition to the Circle of Excellence awards, Duke also won the 2017 CASE Educational Fundraising Award, an honor given to superior fundraising programs at educational institutions across the country. Duke shared this honor with Harvard and California Institute of Technology. Development and Alumni Affairs previously received this award in 2014, 2012, and 2004, demonstrating a long history of fundraising success.
CASE is an international professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.