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UI takes aim at Iowans

BY MICHAEL KADRIE | JULY 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa residents will soon be hearing more from Herky.

The University of Iowa is stepping up its recruitment, especially in Iowa, to comply with rules from the state Board of Regents and bring in as many instate students as possible.

“We’re going to get back in the habit of visiting every high school in Iowa,” said Joe Brennan, the UI vice president for Strategic Communication.

The new funding model will allocate 60 percent of the state funds to Iowa State, UI, and University of Northern Iowa based on Iowa resident enrollment. 

The University of Iowa could lose millions in funding.

This past fall, Iowa State University had the most undergraduate resident students with 18,009. The UI had 10,430 resident students, and the University of Northern Iowa had 9,411.

The UI had 11,109 full-time undergraduate resident students — 54.1 percent — enrolled in the spring of 2014, according to the UI Registrar’s Office. Five years ago, 63 percent of the undergraduate students were Iowa residents.

Brennan announced at Wednesday’s Staff Council Meeting a comprehensive, statewide advertising campaign that will début on July 15.

Though he was tight-lipped about particular details, he said that the ads would appear in TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, shopping malls, and even racetracks. 

“We’re going to use every avenue available to us,” Brennan said. “Including clever ways to use social media to get a two-way conversation going.”

He stressed the importance of the university appearing to be one cohesive body that puts forth an image people can really identify with.

Improving follow-up with prospective students was another keystone of his plan.  He wants to be sure students feel that their applications to UI are important to the Admissions Office.

Traditionally, universities wait until junior year of high school, but Brennan plans to begin contacting them during their freshman and sophomore years as well.  Specifically, he wants professors and officials from specific programs in the university to begin to make these visits to engage with interested students.

Iowa Now, the official online source for UI news, will also be part of the university’s digital facelift as part of recruiting and retaining students.

In the past year, Iowa Now’s 1,542 stories received approximately 4 million views, Brennan said.

Though 90 percent of those views were from on campus, it remains a vital part of creating an atmosphere that future students will want to be a part of.

Iowa Now 2.0, a significant retooling of the site, will be online at the beginning of the upcoming fall semester.

UI staff members had a few suggestions, including proposed apps for prospective students and additional resources.

“It’d be nice if we had an easy place to get statistics,” said Hans Hoerschelman, an Information Technology Staff Council representative.

In general though, Brennan’s announcements were well-received by those present.

“Our presence across the state will increase because of Joe,” said Rod Lehnertz, the director of planning, design, and construction for UI Facilities Management.


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