Academic journal article Journal of Research in Educational Sciences

Remodeling the University as an Institution of Choice

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Educational Sciences

Remodeling the University as an Institution of Choice

Article excerpt

Introduction

Most traditional universities need to rebrand themselves to seize opportunities or to thwart potential threats in the future. Proactive rebranding is necessary in response to expected growth and partnership opportunities. A rebranding exercise is essential for the university to appeal to a new audience who is increasingly more demanding and knowledgeable. Rebranding may not necessarily require an actual name change or logo change. It has to create an impact that competitors take note of. The exercise should help the university regain the foothold which it has lost and to give it a new facelift to react to competition.

Rebranding necessitates a new way of running the business. Appealing to a wider customer base require careful planning of marketing and promotional activities and targeting the services and product offerings across a wide market segment. Effective product positioning requires a clear understanding of the customer needs so that proper communication channels are chosen to convey the message across to them. The marketing plan has to identify the key elements that differentiate the university from its competitors' product offerings. University administrators need to understand the drivers that influence students and see how these drivers could be implemented to attract more students.

University programmes should be aligned with the economic needs of the society. This means that the programmes offered are relevant and meeting the demands of employers. While some universities may choose to be teaching universities and others to be research universities, the key to becoming a "university of excellence" is the reputation of its professors.

Rebranding of professors is a message that distinguishes the university from its competitor. It entails change not only in the identity of the university but also leads to change within the university. It will facilitate change of perceptions of the image among external stakeholders such as students, businesses and government. The exercise may incur investments in professors to participate in more conferences and conduct research projects. The university could build its brand name around a small core group of distinguished professors.

Capitalizing on skilled talent will help the university drive innovation and customer value. The branding of professors not only showcases the talents of the university but also gives the impression that the university is serious about investing in human capital and knowledge management. The concept of competency branding shows and markets the university's capabilities in certain fields where distinguished academicians add their market values to the organisation. Employee branding and positioning are closely linked when customers perceive that employees are closely connected to the product offerings.

Our proposed framework consists of four elements of remodelling (Figurel). The four elements are: 1) structure; 2) culture; 3) rebranding; and 4) growth strategies. This paper will focus more on rebranding and growth strategies as key elements to attract and recruit students to the university. The elements of Organizational Structure and Culture have been discussed by Yu (2016) in a paper entitled "Reculturing: The key to sustainability of private universities".

Literature review

Choosing a university is a difficult choice. Hossler and Gallagher (1987) suggested a three phase model which showed that at every level, the interaction between individual and organizational factors produces outcomes which affect students' choice.

The first phase is the "predisposition" phase where a student's decisions is affected by his ability, his achievement in high school, his socioeconomic status, parents, peer, education and school activities (Tillerry 1973, Litten 1982, Stage and Hossler 1989, Somers et al. 1999).

The second stage involves him finding out more information about the university and formulating a choice about the group of institutions that he wishes to apply. …

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