By: Joanna Iturbe, Director of CRM, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado and Vice Chair of the Higher Education Advisory Council
How can colleges and universities make the best use of Salesforce in higher education? That question is the foundation for so much of what is now available to higher education users. About a decade ago, this question brought a small group of users together each week to share what they learned. Those meetings led to events like Higher Ed Summit, countless webinars, blog posts and session presentations, and “asks” that resulted in the Education Data Architecture (EDA) framework, higher education user groups, and more.
That small group also led to the Salesforce Higher Education Advisory Council. Organized by higher ed users in 2012, the Council was formally recognized by Salesforce in 2014, adopting bylaws, appointing officers and putting in place a nominations process so those active in giving back to the community can nominate themselves for membership.
This year, nominations to join the Salesforce.org Higher Education Advisory Council are open between September 1 and September 16, 2019.
Unlike many advisory groups, the Council is customer-driven. It is a working group composed of volunteers who share best practices, answer questions, host events and site visits, provide demos, give product feedback, take reference calls, and connect community members by making introductions to peers and partners.
“The Council is an inspiration and a guiding force. Members generously take time to help their virtual neighbors. I have personally been blessed by advice from the council when making important architecture decisions. Members have connected me with admin friends from other institutions, and recently, the council celebrated my team’s accomplishments by featuring our school on their new podcast. We are so lucky to have this active Council who genuinely cares for their community’s success.”
– Zak Landrum, Sr. Director of Advancement Services, Westmont College
To maintain focus and momentum, the Council meets biweekly online and in person at Dreamforce and Higher Ed Summit. As the name states, the Council also advises Salesforce on higher education CRM topics. Members meet regularly with Salesforce leaders and staff, offering insight on the higher education industry and its needs. In this role, the Council represents the community and to do so effectively, members engage with their peers to solicit feedback on needs, requirements and products.
To qualify for membership, higher ed professionals must be active in the community – and Council members are among the most active in the community. They post in the Power of Us Hub and Trailblazer Community, lead webinars, facilitate birds of a feather sessions, and present at Dreamforce, Higher Ed Summit, Salesforce World Tour events, community-organized events and other higher ed conferences.
Joanna Iturbe and Florence Parodi at Higher Ed Summit (Left). Higher Ed Advisory Council members at Higher Ed Summit (Right).
Members are dedicated trailblazers, committed to helping the higher education community and the Council has specific initiatives on designed for this. These include higher ed content, open source projects, recruitment and admissions, pricing and products, and the Education Data Architecture. The Salesforce Higher Education Advisory Council also has public-facing initiatives:
- Education Empowered: a podcast by Salesforce.org where hosts Jason Belland and Haley Gould speak to the changemakers shaping education today and discuss the trends and technologies empowering both the sector and society.
- thePodCACHE: A biweekly podcast focused around an institution interview to dive deeper into real stories and successes. Co-hosted by Frank Montoya (Arizona State University) and Haley Gould (Michigan State University), it taps into the collective groundswell of knowledge from various change-makers and trailblazers at universities doing amazing things with Education Cloud.
- Higher Ed Office Hours: Held the second Friday of the month at Noon Eastern, Council members answer questions from participants and discuss best practices. While created specifically for new users, it is open to everyone and participants ranges from newbies to veterans. Partners and Salesforce staff often join in the fun as well. Join the Higher Education user group in the Hub to get dial-in details.
Council members vary in their experience and use cases as much as in their job responsibilities. They have a diverse skill-set – from technical to functional – and serve as everything from administrators and developers to executives and evangelists. What they have in common is a shared passion for leveraging Salesforce in support of higher education and in helping their peers.
When at an event, members carry a Council-branded backpack and wear a branded lanyard so peers can easily identify those who are willing to talk, help, and welcome them to the community. Many are active on Twitter and some have been appointed as Salesforce MVPs.
Members welcome engaging with the community. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself, join a user group or post in the Hub. You can also contact the Higher Education Advisory Council for details about joining the monthly office hours call.
Excited to contribute to the higher education community? Nominations are EXTENDED until September 16, so nominate someone today!