Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders & Scholars

Now accepting applications for the 2018 program

UF’s College of Journalism and Communications and UF Training & Organizational Development are pleased to offer a unique professional development program for faculty and staff ready to take their communication and leadership skills to the next level.  Designed for UF employees in leadership positions or for thought leaders in their fields of study, this program will help participants:
  • Build and manage relationships with the individuals and organizations crucial to helping them achieve their goals
  • Hone storytelling skills to inspire support for a department’s mission and vision
  • Develop a strategic communications framework
  • Write with confidence, clarity, and charisma
  • Create memorable and compelling presentations worthy of the TED stage
  • Facilitate high-stakes meetings with “influentials” such as high-level administrators, policy makers, and funders
  • Interact with the news media to build credibility and call people to action
  • Think quickly in challenging communication scenarios
  • Leverage social media to develop a meaningful digital network
  • Use design thinking and systems thinking to create meaningful calls to action

Program participants will meet once a month (March to November 2018) for engaging learning activities, coaching sessions with UF communications experts and professional networking. Participants will complete a final project that helps them solve specific challenges and applies what they have learned in the program.

Program Schedule

This program will meet 8 times from March to November 2018 and include half-day, full-day, and 1.5-day sessions. An individual coaching session with a communications expert is also included.  Participants are expected to attend each session as scheduled. All sessions will take place at the UF Human Resource Services Building (903 W. University Ave.) in Training Room 120 (unless otherwise specified below).

Session Topics Date/Time
The Six Imperatives for Changemakers
Introduction to Storytelling for Changemakers
March 14 – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.*
Using the Science of Strategic Communications to Develop a Strategic Communications Framework April 12 – 9:00 a.m. to noon
Design Thinking Intensive and Message Development May 10 – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Coaching Office Hours (Strategic Communications Framework) Sign up for a half-hour, one-on-one coaching session
Science of Storytelling for Changemakers (Advanced)
Systems Thinking
June 14 – 9:00 a.m.
to 4:00 p.m.
Followed by after-hours social
How to Give a Presentation Worthy of the TED Stage
Working with the Media and “Influentials”
July 12 – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Social Media August 9 – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Final Project Presentation and Graduation Sept 13 – 1:00
to 5:00 p.m.**
Followed by after-hours social

*Weimer Hall, Room 3032
*Location TBD

Ann Christiano

Program Faculty

  • Ann Christiano, MPAP
    Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications
  • Claire Baralt, M.S.
    Director of Strategy and Communications, UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute
  • Annie Neimand, Ph.D Candidate
    Communications Manager, College of Journalism and Communications
  • Ellen Nodine, MAE
    Special Project Coordinator, College of Journalism and Communications
  • Matt Sheehan, MBA
    Director of Stories and Emerging Platforms, College of Journalism and Communications
  • Scott Blades, M.Ed.
    Assistant Director, UF Training & Organizational Development

Check out the program faculty bios to learn more about this team of instructors.


  • Applicants must be UF faculty members or TEAMS staff members with at least two years in a management/leadership or decision-making role at the University of Florida or have a record of thought leadership in a given field*
  • Applicants must have support from their supervisors

* The “two years of experience” criterion is waived for employees at the assistant director level and above as well as interested faculty members.

What are people saying about events this team has facilitated? 

  • “The SCA has given me new ideas on how to communicate my program of research  to colleagues within and outside UF.”  ~ Toni Glover, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing
  • “It has been an amazing opportunity to meet and collaborate with new people around campus. I’ve been inspired by the community of brilliant people in the workshops and teaching the workshops. The learning outcomes have been extremely practical and actionable. Its also been a lot of fun!”
  • “Enthusiastic speakers; points distilled to concise, do-able items”
  • “It was interactive and engaging, hands-on training”
  • “One of the best aspects was the ability to learn theoretical concepts and then apply them to our organizations. The trainers were terrific in talking us through some great practical application”
  • “The workshop presented useful topics that I could apply and at a great pace”

Program Cost

The fee to participate is $1590.  All materials, facilitation fees, and meals are included with no travel needed for those who live and work in Gainesville.

Program Application

  • Participants are selected via a competitive application process
  • Applications for the 2018 program are due by December 15, 2017
  • Applications will be considered by the Strategic Communications Academy Selection Committee, with selection being announced in January 2018




Annie Neimand


If you have questions about the Strategic Communications Academy for UF Leaders & Scholars, please contact:

Scott Blades, M.Ed.
Assistant Director, UF Training & Organizational Development
352-273-1765 |

Ellen Nodine, M.A.E.
Special Projects Coordinator
College of Journalism and Communications
352-273-1098 |