UMSocial, the University of Michigan’s central social media office, has created a program designed to promote public engagement by faculty members and enhance awareness of how their research can make a difference beyond campus.
Days of Opportunity proactively explores faculty research and expertise to be highlighted and curated in anticipation of when topics emerge in broader public discussion. It also promotes resources offered through the Office of the Vice President for Communications and the Public Engagement and Impact Initiative.
The Public Engagement and Impact Initiative was launched to ensure that U-M continues to provide an environment for faculty, students and staff to make a difference.
Days of Opportunity amplifies the diversity of thought and variety of unique perspectives across U-M, and promotes the breadth and depth of academic excellence, enabling U-M to build a vast content library that highlights public engagement activity, and gives units and featured faculty assets to help spread the word about their work.
Conducted in partnership with campus communicators, the interviews that grow out of the Days of Opportunity program are scheduled to align with trending online topics, key areas of institutional emphasis and prominent interdisciplinary themes.
Each interview is individualized to produce an environment that enables faculty to feel comfortable explaining their research. Faculty can choose video, audio and photography, or opt to participate using only one method.
The Days of Opportunity provides a full suite of content, including audio for the Michigan Minds podcast, along with complementary videos published on YouTube and Facebook, articles for LinkedIn, vertical assets for Instagram stories, animations, still images and more.
Juan Cole, professor of history, participated in the program in January to share insight on U.S.-Iranian relations.
“The team at UMSocial swung into action promptly when an issue on which I had expertise hit the headlines. The video and audio interviews they produced, with unfailing professionalism, allowed me to enter directly into the national debate,” Cole said.
Days of Opportunity events have been held at multiple locations on campus to capture an array of content, including at the School of Public Health.
“In just a couple of afternoons, we were able to capture a wealth of quality content that will be used across both University of Michigan and School of Public Health social media channels, underlining the contributions of our faculty members to the field of public health, to the university, and to the state of Michigan. The content has already been instrumental in promoting a large research project on national platforms,” said Eric Zanotti, a media and communications specialist at the school.
Plans are underway to conduct more Days of Opportunity throughout 2020 to create a platform for thoughtful insights and important contributions toward society.