Posted on August 10, 2019
By Courtney Borchert – email@example.com
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin has their sights set on churning out more graduates to fill regional workforce gaps and locals are their target demographic.
Officials hope to attract and retain a larger student body, and reshaping public opinion is one of the first items receiving attention as part of a larger strategic vision.
“We’re trying to change the perception of the university to make this a first choice and not a back-up plan for people,” UTPB Communications Manager Tatum Guinn said.
More than 600 students crossed the stage this spring, the largest graduating class in the university’s history. Leadership hopes to double that number and bring the total amount of degrees earned at the university up to about 2,400 annually during the next 10 years.
A new image campaign was launched this summer and includes commercials on cable TV and streaming platforms like YouTube in addition to print marketing materials.
“We’ve invested in recruiting tools and data and marketing to increase awareness of how great UTPB really is,” UTPB President Sandra Woodley said. “We’re doing a better job of getting the word out and we’re working on improving every aspect of this enterprise.”
She said growing demand for employees with degrees in fields such as engineering, management and education is driving the institution to step up their offerings.
“We want to be a part of making sure that the people of the Permian Basin can participate in this fast-growing economy,” Woodley said. “We’re in a region with very low baccalaureate educational attainment. Our primary goal as a university is to make that opportunity available to the people who live here.”
Higher education officials like Woodley and Odessa College Vice President for Instruction Valerie Jones have estimated the baccalaureate attainment rate in the area falls between 11 percent and 16 percent.
Woodley said UTPB will not rely solely on marketing to achieve enrollment, retention and graduation goals.
“In order for us to recruit and retain a more traditional student body, we’re going to have to pay attention to everything that makes us competitive,” Woodley said. “We have to make progress on all fronts in order to continue to grow.”
The university has assembled a draft strategic plan that will include the macro framework and major objectives the campus will focus on for the next decade to advance education, research and quality of life initiatives.
The draft places emphasis on five pillars covering student success, serving the region, creating new knowledge, operational excellence and return on investment.
Woodley said the plan will be brought to the University of Texas System Board of Regents for approval as soon as mid-August and she hopes to have more micro pieces like metrics and annual target goals in place by January.