A lot was going on in higher ed. in 2022. If, in the middle of it, your president, chancellor or CEO managed to pick up their smartphone and create thoughtful, entertaining, fun or compelling social media posts, well, that’s something.
Which is why we launched ED. Marketing Agency’s first annual top 10 presidents on social media list. It’s time to recognize them for what they are: higher ed. social media influencers who have a genuine ability to get your many online audiences invested in your university, college or polytechnic in a way only a real live human being, and leader, can.
Someone who, no matter their age, background, creativity or acting skills, understands that your school needs every touchpoint it can get to showcase your campus in its simplest, most human terms.
We’re not talking about a president who endlessly retweets your school’s tweets, or repeatedly posts pictures of themselves grinning beside your mascot.
We’re talking about a leader who thoughtfully and genuinely enhances your school’s recruitment, retainment and alumni and/or media relations efforts through refreshing and authentic social media material – typos and all. Now that’s top 10 material.
Nominators, thank you for your applications, and congratulations to all nominees and finalists for your enduring social media spirit and chops. We can’t wait to do it again for 2023.
We applaud you all. 👏
In order, here is ED.’s List of Top 10 Higher Ed. Presidents on Social Media for 2022:
1. Astrid S. Tuminez – Our top president on social media for 2022 is President Astrid S. Tuminez from Utah Valley University. In her four and a half years as president, she continually advocates that there is a place for everyone at her school – and this is evident in her social media posts, where she lives and breathes inclusivity. She also regularly pens thoughtful op-eds in a local newspaper that push the envelope on higher ed. issues, which she leverages on Twitter.
Her Instagram captures a variety of content, including interviews with colleagues and students that not only showcase her personality, but people who study and work at the university. She regularly comments and shows support for her community on LinkedIn, and participates in her students’ TikToks.
2. Daniel J. Myers – President Daniel J. Myers at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania not only has his own TikTok and Twitter presence, his TikToks are both fun and informational. Some of his standouts are: posing the question, “What are some college majors that are useless in real life?”, lip syncing, and being interviewed by a student while walking laps on the school’s indoor track.
We also like his potential to inspire and motivate others by sharing personal milestones such as his 11-year “runniversary.” “President Dan” as he calls himself, also gets an A for his accessibility and for not taking himself too seriously.
3. Glenn Vollebregt – Our #3 president on social media for 2022 is President and CEO Glenn Vollebregt of St. Lawrence College in Ontario. President Vollebregt has a personable, quirky approach in his videos and posts on Twitter, where there is a good balance of personal and campus content, and where he regularly engages with and elevates the efforts of students, staff and faculty. A genuine campus champion.
4. Dr. Kayse Shrum – The President of Oklahoma State University seems to be on every social platform there is, but it’s how her students show their enthusiasm for her in their comments that earns her our #4 spot on ED.’s top 2022 list. One of her Instagram reels, which shows the reaction of students to her arrival at an all-night student event, garnered 65,000+ views. Plus, we’re told the student body loves getting pictures with President Shrum at events and tagging her in their own posts.
5. Wesley R. Fugate – Wilson College’s President Wesley Fugate is #5 on the list for his online persona (he wears a bow tie in all his posts) and for his TikToks, which not only vary widely as far as content goes, but look like actual student TikToks, including this funny one about how many times he’s looked in at the college’s cat room.
Although he has fewer followers than his school, the engagement metrics on his accounts are almost on par. Pres. Wes, as he’s branded himself, is willing to break the mold, jump on trends and be vulnerable. His nominator told us, “If he thinks it will help tell the story of Wilson or make a campus community member’s day, he will make time in his busy schedule to connect with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends on social media.”
6. Terisa C. Riley – Chancellor Terisa C. Riley at The University of Arkansas Fort Smith is on a mix of channels including Twitch, BeReal, Instagram and TikTok. Some of her videos are quick hits like this TikTok where she features one of the “cool things” in her office – content that does marketing double duty as the item was made at the school’s own tech center.
Her gentle social media persona works, because Gen Z’s love authenticity, right? And she gets right in the middle of topical and timely issues. Point in case: this selfie insta reel of Chancellor Riley shows her literally getting snowed out as she mentions her campus has closed due to bad weather.
Her nominator told us, “She uses social media to gather feedback on academic programs and campus resources, she provides updates on important changes, shares resources that can help students succeed, and responds immediately to issues. When she walks through campus students run up and hug her. They stop her for selfies and beg her to do TikTok dances. They know her name (and her cat’s name) and they know exactly who she is as a person, and as their chancellor.”
7. Julia Christensen Hughes – President and Vice Chancellor Julia Hughes of Yorkville University in Ontario calls herself a higher ed. disruptor, which earns her a place on our list. Her posts are predominantly aimed at other academics, thought leaders and the higher ed. industry – with an eye to improving the overall student experience.
8. Kevin Weaver – The President and CEO of Georgian College has only been at the helm a short while, but in that time has jumped headfirst into social with his own Insta, Twitter and LinkedIn. He’s not afraid to touch on issues that impact the Georgian community, or world events, including a blog post on violence against female students in Iran and Afghanistan. His nominator said President’s Weaver’s approachable and fun style resonates with students off- and online, with students on campus calling out to him by name to talk about how much they enjoyed his latest post or reel, or to ask a question. And he’s also game for starring in the school’s TikToks and Snapchat.
9. Todd Saliman – University of Colorado President Todd Saliman may only be on one social channel, but he’s engaged with the student body, attends events and shares info about his personal life. Check, check and check. He also uplifts important initiatives happening on campus, celebrates CU and Colorado’s western culture at events, and participates in community events. Since taking the reigns at CU, he’s established a strong social presence, frequently tweeting about a wide range of topics including Black History Month, March Madness and nursing.
10. Steven A. Murphy – President and Vice-Chancellor of Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ontario is on several channels where he engages with the campus community. From giving personal congratulations on LinkedIn to students or alumni for passing milestones (where he has almost 13,000 followers), to posting photos in the stands at the latest varsity sports game, President Murphy authentically shares his passion for all things Ontario Tech to help create a more cohesive campus community. He gets major points for inserting humanity in his posts such as this tweet about mental health.