Banner graphic with text, "FIONA LYTLE, Chief Government and External Affairs Officer of Colorado Community College System" and "Navigating The Horizon Of Possibilities: A CALL TO UNLEASH THE POWER OF CURIOSITY AND COLLABORATION". Featuring Fiona Lytle's headshot.

Original article published in the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR) Spring 2024 Counsel Magazine.

As we stand on the precipice of a new era in higher education, the landscape of two-year college marketing and public relations is undergoing unprecedented transformations. The dynamic interplay of evolving technologies, shifting societal norms, and the relentless pursuit of academic excellence propels us forward into uncharted territory. In these times of challenge and opportunity, we find ourselves not just campus leaders or marketing professionals but navigators of change, architects of perception, and champions of the transformative potential inherent in our institutions.

In our shared journey as members of the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR), we are bound by a common purpose—to elevate the narrative of two-year colleges, to amplify the voices of the students whose dreams we nurture, and to sculpt a future that radiates with the brilliance of accessible education. It is in this spirit that I invite you to embark on a collective reflection on the trends, innovations and issues that shape our professional landscape.


We are bound by a common purpose—to elevate the narrative of two-year colleges.
Fiona Lytle, Chief Government and External Affairs Officer at CCCS


Technological Evolution

One of the paramount trends demanding our attention is the accelerating pace of technological evolution. The digital realm has become a playground of possibilities, offering us innovative tools to communicate, engage and inspire. Our challenge lies not only in adopting these technologies but in harnessing their potential to forge genuine connections with our diverse audiences.


1. Continuous Learning Platforms: Encourage your teams to enroll in online platforms like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, or edX, which offer courses on digital marketing, social media strategy, and emerging technologies. Many of these courses are self-paced, allowing professionals to balance learning with their demanding schedules.

2. Industry Webinars and Workshops: Attend webinars hosted by industry experts and thought leaders. These sessions often provide practical insights into the latest trends and technologies. NCMPR frequently organizes such events, providing a convenient avenue for professional development.

3. Internal Workshops and Knowledge Sharing: Foster a culture of continuous learning within your institution. Organize internal workshops where team members can share knowledge and insights gained from external courses or industry events. This not only enhances individual skills but also promotes a collaborative learning environment.

The rise of social media, virtual reality and interactive content provides us with an unparalleled canvas to paint the narrative of our colleges. Let us leverage these tools not merely as instruments of dissemination but as channels for dialogue and understanding. By embracing the interactive nature of these platforms, we can invite our communities to actively participate in the co-creation of our institutional stories. In doing so, we don’t just communicate; we build relationships, fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose.


Innovation and Adaptability

Innovation, however, extends beyond the digital frontier. The very essence of our institutions lies in their ability to adapt and respond to the ever-changing needs of our students and communities. It calls for a mindset that embraces curiosity and experimentation, and views failure not as a setback but as a steppingstone toward progress. As two-year college marketing and public relations professionals, we are the vanguards of innovation, architects of narratives that mirror the spirit of adaptability that defines our sector.


1. Innovation Incubators: Establish innovation hubs within your institutions where marketing and PR professionals can collaborate with faculty and students. These spaces encourage cross-disciplinary creativity, fostering a culture of innovation.

2. Cross-Departmental Training: Facilitate training sessions that bring together professionals from different departments. This cross-pollination of ideas can lead to innovative approaches in marketing and public relations.

3. Encourage Experimentation: Create a safe space for your team to experiment with new ideas. Recognize and celebrate not just successes but also the lessons learned from initiatives that may not have gone as planned.


The Power of Collaboration

The power of collaboration emerges as a potent force in surmounting the challenges before us. As members of NCMPR, we are part of a community of like-minded professionals, each contributing a unique brushstroke to the masterpiece we collectively create.


1. NCMPR Networking Events: Actively participate in NCMPR events, both at the national and regional levels. These events offer unparalleled opportunities for networking, collaboration and knowledge exchange.

2. Inter-Institutional Partnerships: Explore partnerships with marketing and PR professionals from other two-year colleges. Collaborate on joint initiatives, share resources, and collectively address challenges faced by the sector.

3. Community Engagement Initiatives: Extend collaboration beyond institutional boundaries and engage with the broader community. Partner with local businesses, nonprofits and governmental organizations to amplify the impact of your collective efforts.

In the spirit of collaboration, let’s transcend institutional boundaries. Our collective success depends on our ability to unite under the banner of common goals.

As we confront these trends and innovations, let’s also reflect on the profound responsibility that rests on our shoulders—the responsibility to shape perceptions, to break barriers, and to champion the narrative of inclusivity that lies at the heart of two-year colleges. Our institutions are sanctuaries of opportunity, where every student, regardless of background or circumstance, can find a pathway to success.

May this be a recharging moment for you, the dedicated professionals shaping the narrative of our two-year colleges. In the spirit of unity, let’s chart a course toward a future where the possibilities are as vast as the horizons we dare to explore.



Fiona Lytle oversees the CCCS System office of public affairs and manages the system’s legislative initiatives. She brings more than 15 years of experience developing and managing successful community and marketing initiatives in academic, government, business, and nonprofit settings. Fiona is the NCMPR District 4 state representative and the 2023 NCMPR National Communicator of the Year.