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Higher Education Advisory Council Seeks Trailblazing Nominees

By June 1, 2018

By: Amjad Ayoubi, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education at Tulane University and Vice Chair, Higher Education Advisory Council

With its annual Call for Nominations, the Higher Education Advisory Council invites nominations for its 2018-19 term. As the vice chair for the 2017-18 term, I’m proud to say that the council is a community-led organization that brings together the most experienced higher ed customers and those who are inherently motivated to give back to our growing community.

A point of difference in most calls for nomination: We prefer that higher eds nominate themselves if they think they qualify for membership. Our rationale is that no one knows better how much time and effort is volunteered than the nominee does – and, because that activity is one of the biggest considerations when we appoint new members, we appreciate self-nominations. The bar for membership is set high, so be sure to check out this deck on our microsite to understand the characteristics of and expectations for members before submitting a nomination. The process is open until June 30.

Higher education technology leaders are the people who make up the Higher Education Advisory Council
Higher Education Advisory Council members enjoy representing the Higher Education Community and collaborating on innovative ideas.

Why Apply for a Nomination to Join the Higher Education Advisory Council?

The Higher Education Advisory Council members are thought leaders who advocate for and serve the Salesforce higher education community and, with so many schools adopting Salesforce, we always welcome veteran customers to volunteer to help.

Many members are long-time users. In fact, I first used Salesforce in 2001 in Career Services, and I could see the potential for Salesforce even at that early time. I could see how Salesforce makes our jobs better, gives us insights into data, and helps higher education staff and students succeed.

I was appointed to the Higher Education Advisory Council in its second year of official recognition by – it had existed for years before that – and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with other people on the cutting edge of Salesforce for higher education. There are so many creative innovators in this community who are using technology to improve universities.

Higher ed users take many paths to the council and, as the community grows, it’s natural to see more people who have experience sharing with their peers. You may see this happening in the Power of Us Hub Sector: Higher Education private Chatter group, at events like Higher Ed Summit and Dreamforce and during user group meetings. Those who are inherently motivated to help their peers are easy to identify and, with more and more activity, begin to qualify as council members.

While the council is definitely a working council, the work has its own rewards. Council members interact with the leadership team in higher ed, provide input on new functionality and products, and serve as early adopters for solutions on the platform. This ensures the community provides leadership with clear feedback from its most active customers.

Higher education technology leaders
Higher Education Advisory Council members and leadership after one of their joint working sessions

What the Higher Education Advisory Council Does

Council members are a working group of evangelists committed to helping the entire Salesforce ecosystem. We support and energize the higher ed community with:

  • Higher Education Office Hours: Council members host a monthly call-in session to answer questions from other higher ed peers. The community may call with a variety of questions or just tune in to hear what’s new or exciting in the ecosystem. Even without a single question from callers, there is plenty of Q&A…and tips, tricks and best practices…and frank opinions. The goal is to help everyone, but especially those new to Salesforce, better understand how they can be successful. Office Hours are held the second Friday of every month at Noon Eastern time.
  • Higher Education User Group: Following a regular meeting schedule, this industry vertical user group brings together higher eds nearly every week for demos of products and solutions. At times, higher eds share their own solutions but most weeks, ISVs demo products they make available on the AppExchange. With every demo, participants ask some pretty straightforward questions and really dig in to understand the benefits and challenges of products that so often purport to solve every problem we have. The Higher Education User Group also meets in-person twice per year – at Dreamforce and Higher Ed Summit and registrants have a chance to meet other user group members in a breakout session. The online sessions are held Tuesdays at Noon Central time.
  • Custom demos and referral calls: Most council members start out sharing their success individually with other schools, usually as a call or sometimes as a demo of our org. As higher eds, we all talk, right? Don’t hesitate to reach out to any member who has a use can you are interested in exploring. Many of us even host – or travel for – site visits. As a community, higher eds want to see what others have done and council members, who tend to be the most experienced in the community, are in high demand.
  • Speak at Events: Members share their knowledge at events and on webinars. Council members lead sessions at Dreamforce and Higher Ed Summit, are featured in videos and present at other higher education conferences, investing their time to make sessions both inspirational and filled with practical advice.
  • Volunteerism: Council members have the opportunity to write guest blog articles, host “birds of a feather” conversations and lead Circles of Success sessions. They also step up to serve as beta testers, to test drive surveys and best-practices content, make appearances in promotional materials and have been fortunately to serve as co-hosts of events like workshops, open-source sprints and even Higher Ed Summit!

How Much of a Commitment is Required?

Since most nominees already give back to the community, the five hours per month minimum contribution does feel like much of a requirement. However, members are also expected to attend at least one of our two in-person meetings and participate in at least 50 percent of our conference calls. The time between the conference calls often is dedicated to committee work, which can vary depending on the initiatives, products and priorities of the council.

Think you could contribute as a council member?

Take a moment to consider the requirements, check out the deck on our website and, if you determine you want to formalize your community contributions, I encourage you to nominate yourself. If that feels too uncomfortable, the council will absolutely accept nominations on behalf of others – be sure to brief anyone who submits your name to ensure all of your contributions are included. Just be sure you do all of that before the June 30th deadline!

Higher education technology innovators enjoy learning from their peers and volunteering together
Higher Education Advisory Council members are dedicated to the Higher Education Community

Nominate yourself or someone you know by June 30.

Apply to Join the Council Today

About the Author
Amjad Ayoubi, Tulane UniversityAmjad Ayoubi, Ph.D. serves as Senior Associate Dean for undergraduate education at Tulane University. He oversees Academic and Career Advising, Success Coaching, Academic Support Services such as Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction and Academic Services for Student Athletes. Amjad joined to Tulane University after Hurricane Katrina and helped rebuild Career Services operations and later helped reorganize and grow Academic Advising and develop a new Success Coaching department. Amjad is a change agent, creative thinker, effective problem solver and a futurist. Amjad first used Salesforce in 2001 in a career services function to increase the number of employers recruiting students. Amjad is Vice Chair for the Higher Education Advisory Council for