Eastern to put more weight into marketing

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CHARLESTON — University officials at Eastern Illinois University are continuing on their path to make more substantial pushes toward improving and bolstering its marketing across the state and surrounding states.

Friday, the Eastern Board of Trustees authorized the purchase of marketing services exceeding no more than $500,000 from an agency or agencies.

The marketing agency or agencies involved will be tasked with helping the university create and brand for itself and nail down the university’s target audience in the Illinois and fringe states, David Glassman, EIU president said.

The outside marketing help will not only help create a brand but also develop print and video materials to go out to specific marketing.

Glassman said while the current EIU marketing department currently does this type of work, the marketing services the university will be getting externally will be on a “grander scale.”

“They will be helping us with making these media buys, these media purchases that will give us the best return on investment,” Glassman said. “When (students) come here, most of them enroll. But, there are a lot of students, high school graduates, across Illinois and Missouri and Indiana that don’t know us.”

Glassman said this additional help marketing the university will go toward fixing that issue. Currently, three are under review. The administration will be deciding between one two or all of them in the coming future.

A bolstered marketing team for the university has been a focus of the university president since he came to the school a couple of years ago. He has mentioned his interest in aligning the university’s marketing resources with other competitors.

Glassman said that often, marketing makes up 1 percent of a school’s budget, however, Eastern’s marketing makes a smaller portion of their budget, even now.

Recommendations made by those involved in the Vitalization Project also called for an increase in marketing resources for the university. Glassman mentioned this as one of the several positive initiatives that have started as a result of the Vitalization Project.

However, university president and Faculty Senate Chair Jemmie Robertson painted different or selective pictures of the Vitalization Project at the board meeting that day.

While Glassman touted the work being done as a result of the recommendations, Robertson pointed out issues faculty have with the specific calls for academic program deletions and how they came to those conclusions.

Criticism around the Vitalization Project, notably from faculty, has been on what academic programs were mentioned for deletion or consolidation in the list of recommendations made and the information they based off of which faculty has claimed was inaccurate.

Robertson addressed philosophy specifically as one program he believed should not be on the chopping block, largely because of its importance to the university. Robertson suggested some money used for recruiting athletics would be better suited toward recruiting for academic programs like philosophy.

Glassman said no one wants philosophy courses to not be taught, however, there is a question of whether there is a need for a major in the field.

Recently, Western Illinois University removed its philosophy major, and philosophy and its future status at the university are currently being reviewed by several parties on campus.

Other actions made at the board meeting:

  • Housing and Dining rates for the next school year were increased by 2 percent
  • Grant-in-aid fees were increased for the next school year by 2 percent
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice major was approved.

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Eastern to put more weight into marketing

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