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Communicator of the Year

The Communicator of the Year Award honors a two-year college marketing professional who has demonstrated leadership and ability in college communications. It is awarded annually in each of NCMPR's seven districts, and district recipients automatically become a nominee for the national award, which is presented at the national conference.


2017 National
Communicator of the Year

Tammy Watkins
Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations
Delaware Technical Community College
Dover, Delaware

Undoubtedly, those who achieve the title of assistant vice president for marketing and public relations and have careers spanning two decades have the characteristics to earn recognition for excellence among two-year college communicators. But there is more to Tammy Watkins that sets her apart.

Her responsibilities at Delaware Tech are multifaceted. She’s responsible for leading the marketing teams on three separate campuses, tracking her department’s budget, managing collegewide initiatives, and communicating with college administrators. Her co-workers agree that she’s a consummate professional, constantly going above and beyond to support her team and the college.

Watkins collaborates with staff and department heads to help address student needs at every level. Dr. Joanne Damminger, former assistant vice president for student affairs, shares this about Watkins: “My experience with Tammy is characterized by her willingness to brainstorm, collaborate, always do more than her share, and excel at any project that contributes to the success of Delaware Tech students. No task is ever too small or too large for Tammy to take on.”

Watkins' work with college leadership also sets her apart. As a member of the collegewide “Student Success Committee,” Watkins works closely with top administrators in academic affairs to increase student connections with the college and their overall transition into college life. She recently played an integral role in a successful “Signal Vine” texting campaign in which she personally answered hundreds of texts from potential students.

A master of “getting it done,” Watkins has earned a seat at the table when planning virtually every important initiative at the college. Stephanie Smith, retired vice president for academic affairs, says this about Watkins: “Her openness to change and ability to carefully listen, apply her expertise, and translate new ideas and plans into action have been critical to our success – and in the lives of our students.”

Among Watkins’ many achievements:

  • She commissioned an independent study to identify Delaware Tech’s market share. Using recommendations from the study, she led internal and external teams in implementing an integrated marketing campaign aimed a meeting the college’s recruitment goal of a 3.3 percent increase in applications over a six-year period. After just one year, applications rose 5 percent, far exceeding the six-year target. The market outreach components of the campaign were key in meeting this metric.
  • As the chief public relations contact for Delaware Tech, Watkins created a year-long public relations strategy, leading all social media efforts and regularly communicating with local and national press.
  • Watkins was instrumental in promoting the college’s 50th anniversary, showcasing its history and accomplishments of the last 50 years. She also helped design the “Front Door Experience” for new students, which provides an enhanced new-student orientation, welcome week and robust initial advisement.
  • She also played a key leadership role in implementing student information software and developing a communication calendar that encompasses each division's role in connecting with prospective, new and current students.

A respected member of NCMPR since 1996, Watkins has assisted with a variety of district events, presented at NCMPR national conferences and served on the District 1 Executive Council since 2012.

Delaware Tech’s PR Manager Allison Hayes says it best: “What impresses me most about Ms. Watkins is her compassion and sense of fairness. She has a positive, motivating personality and never takes herself too seriously. She’s approachable, professional and talented.”

More than that, her colleagues agree that she can always be counted on to do the right thing – even when it’s not easy or popular.

Past National Communicators


Thanks to Our Awards of Excellence Sponsor!

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