An authentic brand: Annual Board of Trustees meeting blends marketing strategy with college goals

Photo by Thomas Maxwell.

With discussions of an updated curriculum, the science center reaching completion and new marketing strategies changing the face of the college, the Franklin College Board of Trustees had a full slate of points to address at its annual meeting Oct. 27.

Below are the top five things you need to know about last Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting:

  1. Re-branding not only set to continue, but also move to centralize all aspects of the college

When entering the Henderson Conference Room, the college’s 40 elected trustees were greeted with an array of T-shirts, bags and photos of decorations on campus.

Each displayed the college’s new brand in action, developed in partnership with marketing company Ologie over the last year.

Trustee Robert Brown presented the same plan shown to the college’s faculty and staff at the year’s opening luncheon to encourage investing in the re-brand.

“Brands that are successful are honest in what they are, and we have a brand here that is very authentic,” Brown said.

Trustee Sam Bush said he was pleased to see the college begin this development.

“I love it when we get to explore these different topics beyond general committee topics,” he said. “It’s nice to finally see the branding efforts come to fruition—this is such a great institution, but more people need to know it.”

  1. Student curriculum changing, going public in February

Provost and Dean of the College Lori Schroeder confirmed an updated curriculum will be voted on by the board in December, though few details were made public.

“We want to incorporate branding, responsibly, with high-impact learning, and communicate this both internally and to external markets,” she said.

President Thomas Minar said the change is necessary for effective branding and attracting academically prepared students.

“Curricula need to change over time,” Minar said. “We’ve just reached a point where it became unclear what differentiates the kind of liberal arts education that we offer from that of competitor institutions.”

Minar said the Strategic Planning Around Reorganization of the Curriculum (SPARC) task force is not ready to unveil a timeline, but anticipates a public reveal at the February 2018 board meeting.

  1. Admissions sets four initiatives for the upcoming recruitment year

Trustee Natalie Roberts, the board’s enrollment management chair, noted four goals for recruiting new students.

The primary goal is to reduce summer melt—the rate of students who enroll in the college but never register—from its current 20 percent rate and continue to recruit quality students.

“We’ve always had more melt than peer institutions,” Minar said.

Roberts and the committee are combatting this trend by doubling the enrollment deposit from $100 to $200.   

Roberts also said the committee would like to see more out-of-state and international recruitment efforts, which includes the development of a formal international recruitment program.

The college admitted 304 students this fall—a 10.5 percent increase from the last academic year.

Minar said there is a long-term goal of reaching 1,130 total students enrolled, which would meet the college’s current capacity.

  1. Science center on track for completion

The board’s development committee is “closing the gap” in funding the science center, said Devin Andersen, trustee development chair.

The committee needs to raise about $1.1 million in philanthropy to meet their goal, he said.

Board members were invited on a hard-hat tour of the facility-in-progress while on campus last week.

The center is still set to open during the 2018-2019 academic year. 

  1. Student Affairs wants to increase on-campus involvement, invite alumni engagement

Trustee John Auld, chair of the student affairs committee, supported efforts made by Keri Ellington, assistant dean of students for student involvement, to motivate students—particularly the 75 percent of students who have a car on campus—to spend their weekends at the college.

The college’s 33-member alumni council also proposed projects to branch connections between current students and alumni. One such proposal includes the construction of the “Griz Paint Pit,” an outlet for the now-prohibited painting of the historic Ben Franklin statue.

The project comes at the suggestion of Minar, who described the approximately $20,000 project as a six-foot grizzly bear statue for students to paint.

Alumni Council representative and trustee Carol Tumey said the group has plans to invite alumni to send around 300 handwritten notes to students considering the college and to host a “Life After Graduation” presentation in the spring.

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About Erica Irish 17 Articles

Erica Irish is a reporter and photographer for The Franklin. She is a double-major in Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations and plans to minor in Political Science. As a lifelong writer and observer of the world, Erica spends most of her days wandering local cities while taking photos and listening to the stories of those around her. A coffee connoisseur and vegetarian, Erica balances a lack of physical activity with a healthy love of needless food-based aesthetics and competitive library scouting.

This is Erica’s first year on The Franklin staff.

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