Well before the world moved online, Tri Delta was already looking to a digital experience as the future of our sisterhood.
With the onset of COVID-19 last spring and the implementation of social distancing, society has now shifted to a largely digital experience. For schools, workplaces and social groups, Zoom has become the new norm as everything from classes to conferences has gone digital.
Schools and college campuses might be some of the most impacted institutions. With campuses abruptly shutting down last spring, students had to quickly adapt to an all-digital learning experience. But while the jump to online learning may have seemed to come out of nowhere in March 2020, this shift is one that has been coming in higher education for quite some time
Higher Ed Goes Virtual
Tri Delta Executive Board Director Susan Woda, Maryland, is principal and managing director for EAB Global (Formerly, Education Advisory Board). She explains, “Many universities had already been putting their toes in the water of online learning, so to speak—maybe their foot was in the water. They had a growing demand for non-traditional delivery models, and many realized online learning was the easiest way to reach their students.”
However, as Susan points out, there were many reasons schools may have hesitated to take the plunge of going all-in virtually. She cites cost as one reason as well as faculty who, perhaps because they didn’t learn that way, were hesitant to take on a new method of teaching.
Then a pandemic happened.
“COVID threw that out the window,” says Susan. “In a span of 14 days, just about every institution moved to an online format.”
Like our college and university partners, Tri Delta also had to adapt to our new ever-changing environment, but we had already begun to pave the way.
In 2017 Tri Delta began exploring online, virtual learning options for our collegians, alumnae and volunteers. That vision came to full fruition this summer as we launched LEADDDer.org, an easy-to-use, online platform that offers dynamic learning and development opportunities for collegiate chapter officers and volunteers, and exclusive personal and professional leadership content for all members.
LEADDDing the Way
With support from Tri Delta’s Foundation and a grant from the Mildred Bland Miller Charitable Fund, LEADDDer.org launched in July for all Tri Delta members. LEADDDer.org empowers women to become the best version of themselves. Exclusive learning opportunities offer skills and competency-based training, designed to:
- Enhance collegiate chapter officer training
- Support the education and empowerment of Tri Delta’s volunteers
- Provide personal and professional development opportunities to all members
Tri Delta’s focus on lifelong learning, growth and development for its members has never been more relevant. Alison Griffin, Southern Methodist, serves as senior vice president for Whiteboard Advisors. According to Alison, who cites research by John Seely Brown in 2011, as skills become obsolete, students will need to continue learning more skills after they graduate from college to ensure they are relevant to the ever-evolving labor market. This means continually “upskilling” and “reskilling” through on-demand learning experiences. As Alison points out, many of these on-demand learning experiences are reliant on relationships that the learner has with the education platform or organizations—like Tri Delta.
“Just as universities are working to capitalize on building longer-term relationships with students, Tri Delta should promise a relationship to any member who joins the organization—at any stage of their life or career,” shares Alison. “Tri Deltas can derive value from staying connected to networks of other Tri Deltas over the course of their life. Tri Delta has a unique opportunity to become our members’ hub of knowledge—mentoring and networking for life.”
LEADDDer.org is one vehicle through which Tri Delta continues to provide skill-building opportunities. Along with the courses on LEADDDer.org, members also have the opportunity to engage in personal and professional development with our LEADDD Online conference and LEADDD U keynote events. These educational opportunities and events are designed to encourage our members to better their best and empower them to invest in themselves.
Our first premier course on LEADDDer.org launched this summer with LEADDD Online keynote speaker AmyK Hutchens teaching us all how to become master communicators in “GET IT! Effective Communication.” Then, following her LEADDD U keynote on Sept. 12, productivity specialist and CEO of Organize 365® Lisa Woodruff launched her course “GET ORGANIZED!,” teaching Tri Deltas how to rid themselves of quarantine clutter and make their home function for life, work and school. (You can also listen to Lisa Woodruff’s interview on the Let’s Talk Tri Delta Podcast.)
Transforming Tri Delta
This month, Tri Delta has launched a newly redesigned tridelta.org, complete with the new Trident now fully available online. This new multimedia hub is designed to meet our members where they are with multiple ways to connect and stay up to date more often with the latest Tri Delta news—whether reading, watching or listening!
The new Trident features all the things our members love about the print edition—only more interactive, with easy access to a variety of media, including videos and podcasts, and timelier with regularly updated content and stories.
And now members can access their My Tri Delta dashboard for a one-stop hub for everything Tri Delta. Once you log in, you get quick access to your personal profile, LEADDDer.org, The Trident, latest events, the reference form, sister search and much more.
While the future of Tri Delta, higher education and our world post-COVID looks different, there are positive outcomes, as industries and organizations begin to think creatively about how they engage and connect. The impact on higher education is just one example. “Everything we do in higher education is based in a system that is centuries old and favors the institution, not the student,” says Alison.
“We are now in a new century—a new millennium—and we have the opportunity to rebuild higher education in a way that serves today’s students. These students are older, attending school part-time, raising children, working and are largely not living on campus. Today’s ‘national student body’ has a need to build social capital, engage in meaningful and deep relationships with other students and have practical experiences that will translate to the classroom and into the labor market. In this context, Tri Delta is more relevant than ever.”
As the world continues to become more virtual, Tri Delta will continue to engage members in new and exciting ways.
The Tri Delta experience is no longer confined to in-person chapter meetings and annual leadership conferences. Now members can connect with Tri Delta—and each other—at any time from any location. As it always has throughout our 132-year history, Tri Delta continues to change with the times—while also remaining timeless and relevant—to meet our members where they are.
Susan says, “We are broadening the scope of Tri Delta. We are engaging our members in new and exciting ways, and we’re shifting the focus to the lifelong membership experience. It’s not just about the impact we can have with a chapter, it’s about the impact Tri Delta can have on each individual member, and then the impact those members can have in their communities and the world.”