Thought leadership [gives] my scholarship and interests a platform to be heard. TWU is a special place to participate in thought leadership because it has historically elevated the voices of those who are sometimes unheard.
— Celeste Graham, Sociology, Ph.D.
Becoming a thought leader is about helping to shape public discussions about important issues. TWU provides an encouraging, energetic environment that emphasizes mentorship and creative thinking, which has not only helped me get published but also helped me grow as a writer and scholar.
— Juliette Holder, Rhetoric, Ph.D.
Graduate school can be a lonely journey...community is important. My leadership style centers both on acknowledging the humanity of the individual and the importance of community.
— Rikki Willingham, Multicultural Women & Gender Studies, Ph.D.
Thought leadership is an opportunity to introduce new ideas about women’s health issues and influence people to make informed decisions. My knowledge and expertise in this field compel me to offer guidance, inspiration, and influence to others.
— Khushali Trivedi, Physical Therapy, Ph.D.
Thought leadership, to me, is about making complicated ideas more accessible to the general public. When done successfully, we can help urge along the change we need to make our communities more equitable.
— Shannon Rose Quist, English, Writing & Rhetoric, M.A.
Building Opportunities as Emerging Scholars
Public scholars are those people in communities and organizations that others turn to for their expertise. They inspire and influence others with their grounded knowledge and innovative thinking.
Amplify Your Impact will create a bridge between scholarly/creative work, public understanding, and public trust on topics that are critical to our collective wellbeing. Public facing methods of communication include op-eds, podcasts, public lectures/workshops, videos, blogs/ essays, and/or policy document development.
The QEP will focus on graduate students across all academic disciplines and campuses as our future scholars, practitioners, teachers, and leaders. Faculty, staff, and, eventually, other graduate students, will serve as student mentors with training specific to public facing communication, technology, and student health and wellbeing, answering the call to make higher education relevant to real-world outcomes.
Graduate students represent 37% of Texas Woman’s enrollment. By building public-facing communication skills, these students will be better able to disseminate their knowledge to the public in an effort to build public trust and promote community wellbeing.
Texas Woman’s University’s 2023 Quality Enhancement Plan, Amplify Your Impact, focuses on graduate student public-facing communication skill building for the purpose of advancing community wellbeing. Amplify Your Impact will create a bridge between scholarly/creative work, public understanding, and public trust on topics that are critical to our collective wellbeing.
Amplifying the Benefits
Why is this Important?
Amplify Your Impact focuses on leadership and communication for the purpose of advancing community wellbeing. By providing our graduate students with more training and experience in public messaging as producers of knowledge, TWU will foster thought leaders who can help build public understanding and trust on topics that are critical for our collective wellbeing. Our graduate students are future scholars, practitioners, teachers, and leaders in their respective fields. Whether their studies are grounded in health, social equity, education, and/or community change, this initiative will help them learn communication skills critical to educating communities and engaging in informed advocacy.
Acknowledging that community wellbeing is multidimensional, interconnected, and nuanced across academic disciplines, Amplify Your Impact will build its framework off of the Okanagan Charter, an international charter for health promoting universities and colleges, that charges higher education to advance community wellbeing by being relevant to real-world outcomes (2015). While academic publication is an important mechanism for advancing knowledge, this QEP initiative will focus on more public-facing methods of communication, such as op-eds, podcasts, public lectures/workshops, videos, blogs/ essays, or policy document development. By fostering the communication techniques and strategies of our graduate students, Amplify Your Impact aspires to develop equitable and thriving communities through the advancement of evidence-based, publicly-available information.
Goals and Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Amplify Your Impact aims to meet two major goals over five years starting in fall 2023:
- Student Learning Goal: Improve students’ ability to impact community wellbeing by developing their public communication skills. Student learning will be measured using the following student learning outcomes (SLOs):
- SLO 1: Students will be able to responsibly extend knowledge from academic study to social issues related to community wellbeing.
- SLO 2: Students will be able to apply effective communication strategies appropriate for public engagement.
- Institutional Goal: Develop faculty’s abilities in providing effective instruction in public communication skills.
Gaining Marketable Skills Employers Want
The communication skills connected to Amplify Your Impact, including stakeholder engagement, clear language writing skills, communications, design, social media engagement, event planning and facilitation, and evaluation, are in high demand by employers.
Broaden Opportunities beyond Academia
Public-facing communication skills, such as op eds, podcasting, vlogging, and governmental policy development, are particularly important for graduate students pursuing professions outside academia because of their broader reach.
Stronger Connections within the TWU Community
The emphasis on graduate student belonging through this QEP’s focus on community wellbeing can improve student persistence and reduce imposter syndrome by emphasizing their roles as respected and important members of our campus community.
Next Generation of Teacher-Scholars
For graduate students interested in staying in academia, Amplify Your Impact will teach them value public communication as a central part of their scholarly and public identities. In addition, it will position them to serve as mentors to our undergraduate student population.
Building Opportunities as Emerging Scholars
By building public-facing communication skills, our graduate students will be better able to disseminate their knowledge to the public in an effort to build public trust and promote community wellbeing.
Training for Faculty
Each fall during Faculty Week, Amplify Your Impact will kick off with a “Thought Leadership Institute,” a multi-day event focused on public communication skill building and methods for integrating these skills in the classroom. Training expertise will come from campus partners and from drawing on existing external resources, such as the national OpEd Project, the Alan Alda Center for Science Communication, and the Center for Public Communication at the University of Florida. Topics will range from those that focus on specific genres (op-eds, public policy briefs, podcasts, etc.) to broader topics like creating a personal brand. In addition, the Health and Wellbeing Initiative will regularly incorporate training in self-care practices as they relate to public scholarship and wellbeing.
Each semester, faculty will have the opportunity to submit graduate-level courses for a QEP-certified designation.
Opportunities for Faculty Fellows
Through an annual application process, up to ten faculty fellows will be awarded by (re)designing a graduate-level course to incorporate public communication and earn QEP-designation. Fellows will receive a stipend for attending the Thought Leadership Institute and other workshops, participating in one-on-one mentorship from another faculty member, and teaching at least one QEP-designated course.
Opportunities for Grants
Funds will be available on a competitive basis for faculty to attend external conferences connected to thought leadership, as well as to give related presentations at discipline-specific/professional conferences. Faculty may also apply with a graduate student for QEP grants as a mentor or collaborator.
Amplify Your Impact will support the thought leadership of TWU community members by soliciting mainstream media publicity and supporting faculty and students in securing public outlets for their work. In addition, a robust YouTube channel and podcast focused on public scholarship in community wellbeing will provide a guaranteed public outlet for student and faculty work.
Access to Equipment and Technology via Campus Hubs
Amplify Your Impact will dedicate physical resources to thought leadership through the development of technology hubs on each campus. Equipment will include fixed items, such as a soundbooth for podcasting, lighting and green screen for video recording, and computers and widescreen monitors for collaboration and editing. Mobile equipment like microphones and cameras will also be available for check out, allowing students more mobility when possible.