Would we consider changing our name?

QUESTION:

A recent article in the Guardian referred to us mistakenly as “Stoke University”. Most other UK universities use the name of their city rather than the name of their region. Would you consider changing our name, maybe as part of a rebranding exercise, to “Stoke University” or “Stoke City University”?

ANSWER:

Changing the name is worth considering for the right reasons. Any change should be evidence based and not done on instinct but professionally – we should consult with experts and review. We want to know what our staff and students think and whether a name change could help us build a stronger identity

What are we doing to promote the University during Clearing?

QUESTION:

Over the weekend I have heard numerous radio advertisements for three or four universities via Signal 1 and nothing for Staffordshire University. Could you tell us what we are doing to ensure that we are getting the message out to attract potential students at this time of intense competition?

ANSWER:

For this year’s clearing, a targeted “digital first” approach has been used to most effectively reach the specific target audience. Key campaign components include:

• Google Search and Display Networks
• Digital Advertisements on student websites – UCAS, The Student Room, What Uni and Hot Courses
• Digital Advertisements on local websites
• Promoted posts on Facebook and Facebook app
• Traditional advertising through national and local newspapers
• Radio Advertisements on Signal 1 and Capital Birmingham
• Direct Mail and email messaging to our enquiry database

The Press Office are working closely with the local media. Staffordshire University has been positively featured several times across the BBC and within The Sentinel. The content division have worked hard to ensure the website has valued content supporting incoming web traffic with a strong call to action, supported by our social media activity.

When will we be updated on the Estates Strategy?

QUESTION:

Following the announcement of the planned closure of the Stafford campus and relocation to Stoke back in January, there seems to have been a long period of silence on the matter since.

Can Executive tell us more in more detail the plans of when, where and how the move of everything from Stafford to Stoke will take shape. I can understand such matters are complex and nothing should be rushed, but surely some plans of how the move would take shape were made to inform the initial decision whether to move everything up to Stoke or not. And in the 6 months since I would expect that these plans have been firmed up, yet we have not heard a great deal more about it.

No communication or poor communication on such a large change will inevitably lead to rumours, concerns over job security, demotivation and uncertainty amongst staff. Worst of all is University staff having to admit “we haven’t been told” when potential students and their parents at open days, or visitors, or existing students ask; when the move will happen, where specific departments will go, how will everything fit onto one campus, if we will have new buildings, how will we manage the parking and many other questions.

ANSWER:

In March of this year, when we announced that we would be working to a September 2016 date for moving to Stoke on Trent, we said that we would provide details of our proposals in the Autumn. Therefore, in September we will be announcing to staff and students, where we are up to with the Estates Strategy.

Much work is being undertaken in order to prepare robust plans for accommodation, learning and teaching facilities and the logistics around the move itself and Deans and Directors are briefed regularly on progress. In terms of future students, we ensure we clearly state in our communications our intention to relocate to Stoke on Trent and, to date, we have not had feedback to concern us.

There will be a chance for staff to comment and provide feedback after the announcement in September.

What is the process for Ask Executive?

QUESTION:

Please confirm:

• How many questions were received by Ask Executive in the period 1 Jan-30 June 2014.
• How many questions were answered.
• What was the process for deciding which questions were answered.

ANSWER:

Thank you for getting in touch.

There have been a total of 43 questions received for publishing on the RSS Channel in the period of 1 January 2014 – 30 June 2014 (excluding those sent for inclusion in the Executive Question Time event and the Stafford Consultation meetings).

Of those received, 40 were published.

It is only myself that has access to the Ask Executive email account.  Once a question is received, I completely anonymise the email contents before sending on to the most relevant member of Executive for a response.  We always aim to have the complete post published within the week, however, during busy periods, in the event that extra advice needs to be sought from expert colleagues around the University, or the relevant member of Executive or myself is away from the University, it can sometimes take longer.

The only circumstances in which a question would not be published on the channel (aside from missing an email due to human error on my part!) is if it uses inappropriate language or may cause offensive, if it uses the names or personal information of individuals and may be deemed as derogatory, or if the subject matter is judged to be inappropriate for the the forum and could be better dealt with elsewhere.  In these cases, the individual is contacted by myself and asked to rephrase the question to protect anonymity, or they are given an explanation from Executive as to why their question cannot be published.

If you would like to discuss the process or have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch.

Regards,

Judy O’Brien, Communications Manager

j.l.o’brien@staffs.ac.uk or ext: 4345

Is this the right time for Marketing activity?

QUESTION:

Although I applaud the re-authoring of the university website, it has looked rather dull and dated for some time now, I can’t help but think that it should have been completed weeks ago.

Clearing is approaching fast, our numbers are down and it seems risky to leave it so late.

Also the ‘marketing’ people are about to shoot a new promotional video, again I question the timing of this and the fact that, once again, they are using an external company to film it when there is plenty of talent and expertise to produce it in-house.

Could I ask how much is being paid for the video?

ANSWER:

Work on the website is always being undertaken, the current work is as a result of our investment in usability testing with our core audience (prospective students rather than staff). It has been designed to be live for August 2014 in order to push two messages – Clearing and Open Days.

Much more work is being undertaken and web authors around the university will be able to take you through the changes. In terms of marketing materials produced, we do, as much a possible, utilise the skills of the university or our graduates. Indeed many of the marketing team are staffordshire graduates and we use the film and photography expertise of FACT on a regular basis. Further investigation is underway to broaden this opportunity and to have students and academics participate in work would be welcomed.

Why is our news so Stafford focussed?

QUESTION:

Why is all the news published in University News is Stafford focussed, the birthday honours list for example, what about the fact we have a Shropshire Campus with approximately 30 staff and 400 students over here?

ANSWER:

Thank you for getting in touch.  The University News, Events and Announcements is made up of a mixture of corporate information from the University’s Executive Office, and information sent to our Communications and Press teams by members of each Faculty and Service.

We are always happy to hear from colleagues from across the University with regards to promoting their good work externally, and each Faculty and Service has a ‘RSS Rep’ who is responsible for gathering and sharing news from their area to share internally.  If you would like more information please contact Communications Manager Judy O’Brien on ext: 4345 or email comms@staffs.ac.uk – thank you.

Will the signs at Stafford Railway Station be moved to Stoke?

QUESTION:

Will the signs at Stafford Railway Station ‘Home of Great Minds’ now be moved to Stoke following the announcement of the closure of the Stafford Campus? Or is this, yet another example, of short term thinking which only wasted money at a time of supposed cut backs?

ANSWER:

The University has sponsored Stafford station as a two-year arrangement (a standard sponsorship agreement with the operators of advertising at Virgin stations), expiring late 2015. We chose to advertise at the Station for two reasons. Firstly it offers a strong opportunity for both the commuters of Stafford and occupants of the trains on one of the busiest lines in the country to be exposed to our brand, and secondly, when we made the decision to sponsor,we were made aware of two competitor Universities who wanted to purchase the sponsorship.

As we will be remaining in Stafford until late 2016, we will review whether to undertake a further sponsorship next year. In terms of Stoke station, we are very keen to have a presence at the station platform, however as the building is listed we are having to work with English Heritage to find an appropriate solution, which is taking some time.

Are the University branding guidelines available on the website?

QUESTION:
It would be really useful if we could have the University branding guidelines published to the website so staff can make sure we are always following the correct branding, using most appropriate and current logos, master presentation templates, etc.

ANSWER:
The University’s branding guidelines have recently been updated on the Staffordshire University website: www.staffs.ac.uk/brand.

Although this information has been available for some time, it now includes all of the University Centenary information, as mentioned in the Vice Chancellor’s recent email. There are sections on using the University logo, the current branded Powerpoint template for staff to download, and the latest information on which email footers and templates all staff should be using during the centenary.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Brand Manager Tim Deville T.J.Deville@staffs.ac.uk.

Will the University be supporting Remembrance Day?

QUESTION:

As an ex member of the Armed Forces and a supportive member of staff of all things Equal and Diverse, can I expect to at least see poppies on sale in University outlets, this year? Perhaps it would be an idea – given the number of young people who might not know anything about Armistice Day – to bring to their attention the sacrifice our countrymen and women made and continue to make? Perhaps with films, presentations etc.?

Somehow it seems that simply advertising a Remembrance Service at church does not quite hit the mark at this most important of occasions in British history? I look forward to the panel’s comments.

I would even volunteer my services in bringing this important event to the attention of those who, perhaps, have not really thought about the subject?

 

ANSWER:

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Gunn and representatives from the University and Students’ Union will attending as part of the official party for both the Stafford Borough Council and Stoke City Council commemorative services on Sunday.

Due to a previous Ask Executive suggestion, Armed Forces Day was also on the university homepage as the first feature on 24 June with a themed image featuring as the impact panel.

This was accompanied by the following text:
We have worked in partnership with the Ministry of Defence since 2004, developing flexible programmes for service personnel. Providing flexible study routes which recognise prior learning, we also enable conversion of military training into Higher Education credits.

A news story was also produced to highlight the retraining of troops as teachers which was used as part of the promotion process: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/news/staffordshire-university-to-retrain-troops-as-teachers.jsp

This year, to mark Remembrance Day across the University, Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn will be highlighting the events in his weekly blog and encouraging staff to respect the two minutes silence which is at 11am on Monday 11 November.

Should you wish to discuss future events or awareness campaigns on campus in more detail, please contact Head of Corporate Relations Diane Crook on 4442 or d.e.crook@staffs.ac.uk