Razorbug Diploma Tour wins the Global Campus Innovation Award



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Top row, left to right: Patty Milner, Christina Smith, Vicki Martin. Middle row, left to right: Kay Murphy, Heidi Wells, Leonard Ridley. Bottom row, left to right: Kandi Buck, Yakeshia Jenkins, Caroline Chandler.

The Global Campus Marketing and Communications team received the Unity Lightbulb Award in October for organizing and leading the Razorbug Diploma Tour. This innovative promotional tour across Arkansas celebrated graduates of online degree programs by delivering their degrees in their hometowns Razorback style.

The Razorbug Diploma Tour traversed 43 counties in three weeks and delivered 16 framed degrees to graduates living along the Arkansas perimeter through the combined efforts of multiple Global Campus teams, university colleges, the Office of Admissions, Office of the registrar, university relations and hosting groups in cities across the state.

On the tour, college college representatives stood in front of the Razorbug – a converted red Volkswagen Beetle that sports a Razorback muzzle, tusks, sharp spine and curly tail – to present five bachelor’s degrees, 10 master’s degree and a doctoral degree. These graduates were among 440 U of A students who studied online and earned degrees in May 2022. The tour ran from June through August with three separate legs.

“It was a huge team effort, and it required complex coordination with senior management, faculty, staff, students, and external partners like graduate employers, photographers, and videographers,” said Cheryl Murphy, Vice Provost for Distance Education and Head of Global Campus. .

Global Campus staff who traveled with the tour worked nine and ten hour days outdoors in extreme heat, often in the triple digits, to orchestrate one-on-one graduation celebrations. Personnel who have traveled with the tour:

  • Kay Murphy, Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Heidi Wells, content strategist
  • Patty Milner, Associate Vice Provost for Student Outreach and Innovation
  • Leonard Ridley, Web Design Services Manager
  • Kandi Buck, Marketing Coordinator
  • Luke Gramlich, Video Project Specialist
  • Kati Williams, Online Student Coaching Coordinator
  • Cheryl Murphy, Global Campus Manager

“Kay Murphy did an outstanding job planning and delegating this larger than life project, which brought awareness to online programs across the state and helped students and alumni feel connected to the university. “said Cheryl Murphy. “The tour reaffirmed that the U of A serves all of Arkansas and brought joy to the entire state, as noted by Acting Chancellor Robinson and other chancellor candidates at forums in the September campuses.”

Some graduate college faculty and staff traveled hundreds of miles to participate. Degree presenters, their academic units and tour locations:

  • Sarah Bemis, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, El Dorado
  • Ed Bengtson, College of Education and Health Professions; Clarksville and Fort Smith
  • Jan Emory, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, Fort Smith
  • Michael Hevel, College of Education and Health Professions; Hope and Brookland
  • Ginger Holloway, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, Pocahontas
  • Jack Kern, College of Education and Health Professions, DeWitt
  • Roy McCann, College of Engineering, Booneville
  • Patty Milner, Global Campus, McGehee
  • Mandel Samuels, College of Education and Health Professions, El Dorado
  • Renee Speight, College of Education and Health Professions, Trumann
  • Matt Willingham, Sam M. Walton College of Business, Fort Smith
  • Megan Whobrey, College of Engineering; Earle, Magnolia and Fort Smith

Staff from the Global Campus media team provided support and guidance in capturing highlights of the tour on video. Other staff members handled travel and financial duties, gathered and loaded materials, inserted diplomas into frames, created promotional flyers and other time-consuming tasks.

In a related story, the Global Campus named Heidi Wells the Neighborhood Employee Award for her work on the Razorbug Tour. Wells wrote a story for each of the 16 tour graduates, produced and coordinated publicity, contacted local news agencies and chambers of commerce, and inspired others on the tour with her high energy.

Global Campus has instituted the Lightbulb Award to honor two or more staff members for outstanding innovation beyond their usual job responsibilities. This award is open to named and hourly staff who work for Global Campus.

Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance learning, and workforce training programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services, and assistance with marketing, recruitment, and strategic academic development.

Global Campus also supports the WE Manning Memorial Scholarship, which is open to undergraduate and graduate students studying in online degree programs.

Luz W. German