UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

Creating Solutions: UT Tyler Student Communications Team Enhances Recruitment

March 28, 2011

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769

UT Tyler Student Communications Team members pose for a photo on the main campus.

Blogging, calling, typing, tweeting: The University of Texas at Tyler’s 10-member Student Communications Team has it all covered.

From discussing vibrant campus life and the infamous parking dilemma, to study tips and where to find the best food in Tyler, the team informally communicates to prospective students through all social media channels.

Although not a new concept, having a student communications group involved with the recruitment process is a great opportunity for UT Tyler, a relatively young four-year university.

“It’s probably the second-most important strategy we have implemented – the first being the Web site redevelopment,” said Sarah Bowdin, director of admissions. “In the days of social media, it’s how students communicate. Of course, we’re still utilizing all communication forms, including personal email campaigns and advertising. I think the team addresses the need to communicate directly with and recruit the actual student. It’s a more authentic and up-to-date way to communicate to future students.”

Since its launch last November, the team has contacted more than 58,000 prospective students in East Texas and beyond through email and phone alone. Nearly 4,700 Twitter and Facebook users call UT Tyler their friend.

Led by supervisor Stacy Glover, the group provides answers to prospective students as well as a glimpse into student life.

“The team really is a valuable tool because they help give perspective students an idea of what’s going on campus. With our efforts, we hope to capture campus life from a student’s prospective and the overall essence of what it is like to be a UT Tyler student.”

Typically staffed between eight to 15 students, they work evenings and weekends, sometimes even catching at-home parents.

“By phone calls, they’ve really been able to engage with the parents as well because the parents trust the university students as being a reliable source, to give them the ‘inside scoop,’” Bowdin said.

The team can sometimes call up to 25,000 prospects weekly. Many come through the social media sites, including the university’s Schools on Facebook application. Any questions not answered by the team are forwarded to the Office of Admissions or Enrollment Services Center.

“There are some questions that should come directly to an admissions counselor. They know from experience that they’re not taught to answer the suit-type questions, they talk about their actual experiences, and so this is a great route to communicate with the parents. It’s been really helpful,” Bowdin explained.

While team members talk, type and tweet about their experiences they – in a sense – are becoming the new faces of UT Tyler. According to Glover, the student blog has 23 followers, 646 blogs posted, 15,230 page views since the beginning and more than 1,400 page views this month so far.

“With varied majors and personalities, they’re a very unique bunch,” Glover added with a smile. Aside from creating even more online connections, the team hopes to increase their video blogs usage and incorporate the Facebook pages to become a full-fledged virtual community.

For more information, contact Bowdin, 903.566.7057 or SBowdin@uttyler.edu.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,400 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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 Last Published 3/29/11