Kelly earns Best in Track at HighEdWeb national conference

Oct 27, 2023 | Faculty/Staff, General News

Louisiana Tech University Social Media Strategist Gavin Kelly won one of only seven Best in Track awards in the recent HighEdWeb 2023 Conference in Buffalo, New York.

A native of Sikes, Louisiana, and a marketing major in Tech’s Class of 2018, Kelly won for his presentation titled “The troll’s toll: Identifying and managing hostile social media moments.”

“The troll’s toll” explained how social media managers from institutions nationwide can survive instances of negative social media attacks while practicing self-care, finding solutions with their online communities, and focusing on humanizing the brand that they, as managers, represent.

His presentation was part of the “Social media strategy, content and accessibility” category, one of seven tracks at the conference. Presentations were grouped into appropriate tracks covering varied areas concerning higher education and the web.

Each track produced a Red Stapler Award winning presentation, the winners chosen based on evaluations from session attendees. There were about 600 in-person attendees this year; roughly another 300 attended virtually.

A passionate supporter of HighEdWeb and a regular presenter at its annual conferences, former University Communications Executive Director Dr. Tonya Oaks Smith began encouraging her staff to get involved with HighEdWeb immediately after she was hired by the University in December 2017. Following a sudden and short illness, Smith passed away in the spring of 2023 at age 50.

“As humbling as it is to receive this recognition, it means more to me because of Dr. Tonya Oaks Smith,” Kelly said. “She was a dedicated member of HighEdWeb, a staunch advocate of the annual conference’s impact on higher education, and a firm believer that the work we do in the Office of University Communications at Louisiana Tech is worthy of being shared with the world. My involvement in HighEdWeb and my ambition to present at the conference would not exist without her.”

The award for Kelly and each of the other winners was represented by an actual red stapler with a “Best in Track” designation on it.

After the winners were announced on the last day of the conference, each winning speaker presented a final time in a Red Stapler session block, offering attendees a final chance to see the top presentations they might have missed. Here is Kelly’s:

The troll’s toll: Identifying and managing hostile social media moments

Here are the other Red Stapler Winners from the 2023 conference:

Track: OCS (Other cool stuff)
Presentation: Long time running: Reflections on a long rewarding career
Speaker: Mark Greenfield – University at Buffalo

Track: DPC (Development, programming, and CMS)
Presentation: How we built a design system storefront with WordPress blocks
Speaker: Mike Henderson – NewCity

Track: MTP (Management, teams, and personal development)
Presentation: Watering the lawn: Tips for building a grass-roots Digital Accessibility Coalition
Speakers: Darren Denham – University of Central Oklahoma, Tracy Fairless – Center for eLearning and Connected Environments

Track: AAI (AI, analytics, and integration)
Presentation: Get comfortable with AI
Speaker: Patrick Kelly – Harper College

Track: WSC (Web strategy, content and accessibility)
Presentation: What’s standing between you and a more usable website? Five minutes.
Speakers: Mackenzie Huber, Whitney Tabbert – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Track: PAR (Partner presentations)
Presentation: Unlocking the potential of AI models in higher education marketing
Speaker: Piero Tintori – Terminalfour