Meanwhile, two new Georgia schools have joined the conference.. Coincidence?
He was hired to do exactly what he is doing. Make no mistake about that. He gives us just enough to give us hope that things are different; yet we have not achieved a single goal that he set out for us when he came aboard.
Tier 1? Nope, and no visible time line or plan to achieve it.
"We are Louisiana"? Well until some two bit jerkwater reporter, or the dipshirt president of ULmost whines in public. Then T-Joe does his best crawfish imitation.
Separate RCAF? See Tier 1.
And on and on and on.
I was tired of being in the dark about where we are with the whole Tier 1 thing, so I decided to reach out to the school for more info. I mean, for goodness sakes if that ltu can do it, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason why we can't as well, and why we haven't done so long ago.
I figured the best place to start would be the marketing dept, so have had several email exchange with Aaron Martin, the director of that dept. He was very prompt in his responses, and gave what I thought were some pretty good responses.....but I am sure not everyone here will like them, lol.
If anyone is interested I can post some of the more relevant pieces.
Please, post away!
Here goes: and FWIW, the thing I most liked hearing is that the Marketing dept has really grown since the new Admin.....we both agreed that we have done a terrible job in the past of getting the word out.....
I first asked about what was keeping us from being Tier 1, and I have his response below. Again, it seems to me that a lot of this is improving our marketing to everyone, but especially students, counselors etc., and highlighting our tremendous improvement in our grad/retention rates, the higher admission standards, etc.:
"Tier 1" is a term used by U.S. News & World Report for their college guide. It uses several indicators to rank universities: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance and high school counselor ratings of colleges."
I then asked what steps we were taking to resolve the above issues:
"The formal action plan that we work from is the University's strategic plan. We recently wrapped up a five-year plan and are developing the next one. (We hope to be able to report on the new plan this fall.) While there is not a formal plan labeled, "How to Become a US News Tier 1", the strategic plan addresses most of the criteria used in the college guide rankings. We also are planning some marketing initiatives that should improve ratings by peers institutions and guidance counselors as well as giving percentages by alumni. So, yes, there are plans in place."
I pointed out that with all the campus improvements, that I hope that new videos, etc. are made to highlight them:
"Yes, we are anxious to make new videos/commercials. We will in the fall, waiting so that Guillory, Corona and Olivier Halls are removed, the Union is complete (meaning fully landscaped and all construction complete), and the Quad is complete."
Finally, I asked about the Marketing dept in general, and if/how they oversee websites that have UL content….including RP:
"We do track our brand on various websites/social media and will make corrections and improvements to those sites as we can. Some data is deliberately behind for comparison reasons. Research and development numbers, for example, can often be four years lagging.
We've added five positions to the Office of Communications and Marketing in the last five years. While it is tremendous to add those positions, even during these tougher fiscal times, we remain understaffed compared to other universities. Two of the positions focus on the website. The website was so outdated. We've made great progress, but still have a way to go. This time we are going to maintain and improve it regularly, not letting it go as had happened before. We've also added a social media person, a graphic designer and just hired a full-time photographer. More importantly than adding positions, I think we've been successful with filling them with excellent talent."
Sounds nice, but a lot of generalities. It doesn't sound like a lot if new info, nothing specific. Hiw long have we been hearing that we are "thus close to Tier 1" and working feverishly on it? I'd say more than five years and yet we just "recently wrapped up a five year plan" and still no Tier 1 status. Not sure if we are even any closer. And the next 5 year plan addresses "most" of the criteria. So I guess that means in five more years we will be "this close" to achieving a Tier 1 status.
That's just how I read his response.
Well, I am more optimistic, and I think we have made really significant improvements in the last 5 years: our grad/retention rates have improved by ~50%, which is huge. And as I stated above, we FINALLY have a marketing dept that is going to have a great impact on getting the word out.