How to get faculty to share their best research consistently

At many schools, telling stories about the great research that faculty members are doing is essential and alumni magazines are a great place to showcase this work.

Unfortunately, getting faculty to share research papers and journal articles can feel like pulling teeth. It doesn’t have to be that way.

What it looks like when faculty are excited to share their best work with you

When I started working with Midge Wilcke at the Boston University Questrom School of Business, I was surprised and delighted by the steady stream of ideas and research papers she sent my way. (You can see a few examples of them at the end of this newsletter.)

Month after month, she sent along amazing published research papers from a diverse group of faculty.

How did she get faculty to suggest their work, often before it was even published? Did she just know everyone at the school and check in with them constantly?

image of midge wilcke


Finally, I asked what her secret was. I assumed it had to be some sort of arduous, time-consuming process.

But it wasn’t.

She told me that getting faculty members to keep her office at the top of their minds when they were in the publishing process required just two things.

She started with a simple, one-minute announcement at a faculty meeting, and she supplemented it with one-page handout that faculty could keep and refer to at any time.

She also agreed to share the script and documents she used so that you can adapt them for your own institution. (Thanks, Midge!)

The great thing is that this process isn’t just about getting research stories for your publications and website. You can adapt these scripts and documents so that faculty are willing to share their best work no matter what it is, from journal articles to interesting cross-campus collaborations to research with students.

What to say at a faculty meeting

When Midge got 60 seconds to share a few thoughts at faculty meeting, she said this:

“Promoting thought leadership is an important part of what we do we do at MarCom for Questrom and for you. There are multiple channels and multiple ways to do that. If you have a paper in an academic journal we have a seasoned academic writer who will create a research brief, and you’ll have the chance to review and fact-check every piece. If your work is included in something like HBR, we write an intro and take folks there. We can showcase your work in our news feed, our home page slider, the alumni magazine and social media. We need to work with you to make that happen.”

Pretty simple! It’s also highly effective.

What made that work?

In a very brief amount of time, she communicated that:

  • Working with faculty was an important part of her office’s mission, and this work benefited not just the school, but the faculty themselves. (Show people what’s in it for them.)
  • Faculty who participated would be working with a pro who understood the importance of getting the details right. (Show that you recognize that this is their life’s work, and you’ll treat it accordingly.)
  • The faculty members would have control over the final piece to ensure accuracy, which is reassuring when faculty work on complicated and nuanced pieces. (Lots of people have had bad experiences with the media, unfortunately. A process like this shows that they can breathe easy.)

Adapt this script while keeping those principles in mind, and you’ll be all set.

Provide a simple document for an effective one-two punch

The short announcement at the faculty meeting was smart.

Even better, Midge had a one-page handout for faculty to share a few more details about office could do and how faculty could work with her.

It’s easy to understand, well organized, and gives faculty everything they need to take action.

one page handout for faculty meetings You don’t have to pull out a microscope to read it: just click here to get the PDF.

And that’s it! Use these details to create your own short announcements and documents that help encourage faculty to share their best and most interesting work.