COVID-19 & Communications: Dr. Dave Remund's Perspective

What industry do you work in? 
Higher education. 

How have things changed for your communication style or plan over the last few months?
There’s so much uncertainty with this crisis. We are all managing and adapting in real time, which requires exceptional trust, transparency and teamwork. I’m very proud of how my colleagues across the university have rallied to navigate this unprecedented and complicated challenge.    

What has been the most challenging or interesting thing you’ve encountered as you’ve shifted your communications due to COVID-19? 
None of us knows what the next few months or weeks or even days will bring. That’s difficult for any organization. However, ours is also anchored by a residential campus that is home to students from across the country and around the world. So, our challenges are exceptionally complex. We are making plans to welcome students back this fall while simultaneously planning for multiple other scenarios that could unfold, should the pandemic shift gears or escalate in the months ahead. It’s a complicated puzzle.  

What advice do you have for communicators dealing with changing communication needs or crisis communications? 
Professionally, be courageous. Ask tough questions of your senior leaders, think several steps ahead, and make certain that colleagues approach each decision with the health and safety of stakeholders and the public as priority. Personally, strive to find balance. This pandemic is not a problem you will solve alone or by burning the midnight oil. Take care of yourself, make time for family and friends (with appropriate social distancing, of course!), and find peers with whom you can talk through the challenges you face. Our profession is demanding; we need one another for support. If I can be a sounding board for anyone reading this story, please reach out to me. I’m always happy to help other practitioners in this way.

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