Blogpost: Prepping for a Successful Webinar

By Margaret Brower

I have only worked at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good for two semesters now, and yet I have learned so much.  Last week’s webinar, “Broadening Access for Undocumented Students: Federal Policy Implications for Higher Education Professionals,” has become one of many benchmarks undergirding my personal growth, our team’s progression and a new opportunity for the National Forum to broaden its network.

In regards to my personal growth, this webinar was the first project I was assigned to at the National Forum.  Our organization has been very successful in the past at hosting large convenings to disseminate information and engage institutional leaders in much needed dialogues.  Our organization had never, however, launched a webinar.  Thus, watching webinars became my new hobby.  Whether the webinar was on international relations or information similar to our own research, I watched it, took notes and brought these notes back to the team.  I was terrified that my team was depending on me to help lead this initiative.

However, one of the most unique and endearing qualities of the National Forum is our teamwork.  As I fearfully put together potential agendas and proposals for webinars, my team always came to my rescue.  Together, we crowded around our conference table brainstorming different directions, goals and ideas for our new webinar.  Everyday our webinar evolved as we confirmed our agenda, partnered with the National Association of Financial Aid Directors (NASFAA), secured experts as panelists and learned more about the technology to launch our vision.

What were the results of over six months of planning, designing and collaborating?

What began as a raw, personal vision of administrators coming together resulted in a focused, political and informative webinar to support undocumented students.  On over 400 computer screens, Deans of universities, directors of financial aid and admission offices, faculty, students and numerous other institutional leaders came together to engage in our webinar.  In between presentations by executive directors on different components of the Deferred Action for Childhood Adults (DACA) and the Dream Act, audience members were able to ask questions and engage with the information presented.  Afterwards, our webinar was posted on our uLEAD website with additional useful documents regarding these policies for our institutional leaders to access and share.

The National Forum could not be more proud of the direction we are headed and we look forward to planning future events that will continue to broaden our network and by extension our support to undocumented students across the country.

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