New research initiative to assess SU’s higher education profile
New research initiative to assess SU’s higher education profileMarch 15, 2004Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Syracuse University faculty, staff and students will soon be asked to take part in a comprehensive research initiative via a Web-based survey. The initiative, jointly sponsored by Academic Affairs and Institutional Advancement, is a coordinated, University-wide undertaking to explore how to more effectively promote SU’s most compelling attributes and recent improvements, including the Academic Plan and comprehensive space plan. In addition, findings of the research will help inform the case statement for the University’s upcoming capital campaign.
“Academic Affairs and Institutional Advancement have pooled resources on this project, which promises to be mutually beneficial,” explains Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund. “The first phase of this process is a comprehensive market research study that will be immensely helpful as a planning tool.” The study, to be completed in April, is being conducted by Lipman Hearne, a Chicago-based consulting group with extensive experience in higher education. Their research will gauge perceptions of the University from a range of key internal and external audiences.
According to John Sellars, senior vice president for institutional advancement, the need for this kind of research has been recognized for some time. “With so many critical projects under way or about to begin, it became increasingly apparent to me and a number of others that we really needed to take advantage of this positive momentum. This research will help ensure that we’re communicating the right messages to the right people, and that we leverage these developments to the fullest.”
A Marketing Council, comprising faculty and staff representatives from the University’s schools and colleges and other key units, has been convened to advise the research phase and ensure that goals of the initiative are consistent with the SU mission. The council first met in January with the Lipman Hearne researchers to refine the project’s overall direction, then again last month to review the findings of preliminary research with SU faculty, staff and students.
“In recent years, various schools, colleges and departments have conducted research and marketing initiatives in support of their specific needs,” says Sandi Mulconry, associate vice president for university communications. “This study will assess perceptions of the University as a whole, which we have not done since the mid-1990s.”
The soon-to-be-launched Web surveys, targeting all SU faculty and staff and a representative sampling of students, will be posted on a special Web site. Those being surveyed will receive instructions via e-mail. Questions will cover a broad range of subjects about SU and competitor institutions; responses will be compiled and evaluated by Lipman Hearne. Data from other key audiences, including alumni, business and government leaders, and faculty from other colleges and universities, also will be included in the study.
Results of the study will be reviewed by the Marketing Council in late April and presented to Chancellor-Elect Cantor and University Trustees in May.