The marketing and public relations offices at the University of La Verne have combined into a new unit: The Strategic Enrollment Management and Communications department, as part of the University’s 2020 Strategic Vision plan.
The new unit has two goals: to achieve national recognition for institutional distinction and to achieve national recognition for educational excellence.
“We wanted to bring everything under one unit, give it the same message, the same look and feel for our publications and website, so when you see something about the University of La Verne, you immediately recognize it,” Homa Shabahang, vice president of strategic enrollment and communications, said.
Shabahang, who oversees the department, said the work of the two teams was closely tied. However, under two different offices, coordination and effective resource allocation was not as optimal as it could be. The marketing department was under the enrollment management office and public relations was under the advancement office.
“If you are giving the same message, but are using a different language for the exact thing, people do not understand it as the same,” Shabahang said.
The new office moved physically and administratively to the EMC building and began working on heightening the university’s reputation, visibility and prominence on Sept. 1.
“One of the immediate benefits is we have everyone in one building and one office,” Fred Chyr, associate vice president for enrollment management, said. “It enables us to communicate much faster and accelerates the efficiency and productivity.”
Shabahang said students and alumni are going to directly benefit from the new department.
If the university’s name and the value of education is displayed better, the value of each degree goes up.
“You really want to move the University forward by showing people the quality of education,” Shabahang said. “Showing 10 people and showing 1 million people makes a difference.”
The new unit is made up of existing resources; a small amount of money was used to create three cubical offices.
Now, EMC has a bigger budget because both teams brought their own and created one. Before the change, both teams were working on the same projects and often created duplicates.
“Change is always difficult,” Judy Smith Asbury, special assistant of EMC, said.
“There is a lot of anxiety. Everyone feels that with the unknown, but this new team has been phenomenal to work with everyone.
They have embraced the opportunity and have just put their hands together and asked, ‘How can we make this better?’” Asbury said.
Alejandra Aguilar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.