The culture of our Publications Division has been moving in a very positive direction for some time. The most recent evidence is the Division’s annual report, which Katrina Hunt emailed to everyone a couple of weeks ago. I encourage you to check it out.
I mention the Division’s culture because it is one reason why our publications process over the years hasn’t always met our expectations for efficiency and effectiveness. Good people have been involved in the work, but something in the culture prevented them from offering the highest quality service. Lots of factors go into producing the secret sauce that ultimately becomes your organizational culture. One of those things is leadership.
One of our best decisions was to make Katrina Hunt the Manager of the Publications Division. You have to love an annual report that quotes Miles Davis. “I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning . . . Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” Katrina lives that sentiment and she brings enormous positive energy and a customer-service orientation to all of her work. She begins the annual report by talking about the Division’s continued focus on improving and streamlining our editorial and design service for print publications, along with several new endeavors. “Expanding services in these areas energized the team and contributed to our productivity.”
Katrina would be the first to say that the credit should go to others in the Publications Division, which is true, but her leadership has been instrumental in shifting the culture to one that accepts challenges and sees change as positive. It also is important to acknowledge the effective job that Todd Nicolet has done in mentoring Katrina in her new role.
The report recounts challenging projects that different staff members completed under difficult time frames. Dan Soileau and Melissa Twomey worked with the IT Division and an outside consultant to produce our first dynamic, web-based publication―North Carolina Crimes. They had to clear many hurdles in the process.
Nancy Dooly, Dan Soileau, and Kevin Justice helped produce a complicated report and issue brief for a public health study comparing different models for delivering public health services at the local level. The materials were needed for an upcoming legislative session and for a webinar, and the lead time for getting them done was short. The Publications Division received the report draft in mid-April and it was delivered to legislators by May 25. It is a fantastic piece of work.
“The team worked long hours, communicated daily with Aimee [Wall] and IT staff, and stayed flexible, responsive, and efficient throughout a compressed timeframe with a tight deadline. This multi-faceted project serves as a model for how faculty, external authors, and multiple support staff can successfully collaborate to deliver high quality, effective research of significant impact to state policymakers.” Amen.
There are other examples in the report of the Division’s flexibility and its willingness to offer new services, like Melissa Twomey’s volunteering to offer cite-checking services in addition to performing her other editorial responsibilities.
Kudos to Katrina and all of her colleagues in the Publications Division. They “enjoy being challenged and learning new skills that will contribute to the evolution of the School’s written presence.”
The other thing that comes through strongly in the report is the extent to which all of our staff divisions regularly must collaborate to do their work. A project may belong primarily to the Publications Division, but it also often requires working closely with many other divisions, including IT, Library, Business and Finance, and Marketing and Communications, as well as with outside consultants. Our professional staff must communicate and collaborate effectively to deliver the highest level of service, and they do it regularly. We have raised the bar and they are clearing it.