FAYETTE, Iowa (July 14, 2010)—Upper Iowa University has entered into a partnership with Stamats of Cedar Rapids to begin the first phase of a multi-year market positioning initiative that will emphasize academic distinctiveness. The project begins with research that will explore current perceptions about Upper Iowa University across a variety of publics, identify possible approaches to changing the University’s market position if desired, and ultimately result in implementation of recommendations and development of a comprehensive marketing campaign.
“Each Upper Iowa University modality – from our campus in Fayette, to our U.S. and international centers, to our extensive online and other distance education programming – has earned a reputation for academic excellence, sensitivity to student needs, and innovation,” said UIU President Alan G. Walker. “Our complexity as a university that offers a multitude of educational options sometimes is challenging to appreciate. We firmly believe in the unique academic distinctiveness that is the hallmark of Upper Iowa University, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Stamats to determine how best to position ourselves to tell our comprehensive story as a single, seamless institution of higher education.”
“Research is at the heart of this positioning initiative,” added Melik Peter Khoury, UIU senior vice president for strategic positioning and chief marketing officer. “The first phase of this project will not only look at how the UIU community views itself but examine how a broad-based audience defines Upper Iowa University. In phase two, we will compare the views of those groups and identify any gaps between how we define UIU and how others see us and determine what we might want to do to bridge those differences in perception. Ultimately, by phase three, this initiative will help us define who we are and help us clarify our message in the marketplace.
Khoury noted that the initiative incorporates a number of the University’s strategic initiatives, such as improving academic quality, fostering seamlessness across the University, and effectively communications the University’s mission to all constituencies.
Selection of Stamats as a partner follows a four-month process that included a request for proposal, reviewing responses and interviewing candidates on campus. Key UIU faculty and staff have been involved throughout the selection process.
“As a faculty member, I am particularly pleased that this initiative ties into our University’s continuous improvement process,” said Dr. Scott Figdore, professor of science and member of the initiative’s advisory group. “This initiative will reinforce our efforts to ensure academic integrity and distinctiveness. That will have a positive impact on our University’s Academic Quality Improvement Program, which is part of our accreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission. As a result, this market positioning initiative will essentially help us to focus on the heart of what we do as a University.”
“Partnering with Stamats provides an exciting opportunity to have a dialogue with the university and the community that can influence our future,” added Dr. Don McComb, professor of graphic design and advisory group member. “We will be talking with faculty about strengthening existing areas and developing new programs to better prepare our graduates. Our global mission also calls for us to expand our role in the communities that we serve, and Stamats will help us have those conversations as well.”
Khoury and McComb, who have been co-advocating the initiative across the University, noted that the advisory group will communicate regularly with faculty about progress of the initiative and solicit faculty feedback to help guide the initiative.
Stamats is a higher education marketing company that helps colleges and universities achieve their goals through research, planning and marketing.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,600 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.