Your vice president or dean can use your communication help to explain your research to his or her constituencies. And of course, if that administrator understands your work and its implications, you will have it easier when it comes time to decide on budgets and resources. Here are some tips, condensed from chapter 19 of Explaining Research:

  1. Without intruding on their time, schedule an occasional informal lunch or coffee to exchange news and ideas. All too often researchers and administrators become trapped in their own routines, missing the chance for useful communications.
  2. Understand their current issues. What proposals or projects are they dealing with?
  3. Ask whether there are ways you can help with these efforts.
  4. Understand their constituencies. To whom do they need to communicate research, and what do those people need to know?
  5. Find out how you can make your research resonate with those constituencies? For example, are there applications of your work that you should explain?
  6. Find out in what form your information will be most useful to them. For example, they might appreciate concise, compelling "nuggets" explaining your latest research advance, which they can easily drop into reports.
  7. Produce news releases, feature articles, video, Web content, etc. on your work that they can use in their communications.
  8. Copy them on your congratulatory notes to colleagues, as well as other communications, to keep them in the loop.
  9. If a colleague makes an achievement that the administrator should know about, encourage that colleague to communicate the achievement.
  10. Congratulate them on their own achievements, for example, getting a new grant or launching a new program.
  11. Thank them for their help.