Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Should UCLA Market Itself?

I opened the New York Times this morning and on the backpage of the News Section was a picture of Richard Ziman. Mr. Ziman's investments have greatly improved my intellectual quality of life (see www.zimancenter.com). He has been a great friend of UCLA. On the backpage of the Times, he talked about why he loves UCLA. I liked what he had to say but it got me wondering; "who paid for this advertisement? What is its purpose?" Today's UCLA Bruin newspaper explained it to me. As undergraduates choose what university to attend, we are trying to make the case that we matter.

I certainly support this effort but I would like to see some of other important past students involved. Jim Morrison and the Doors could record a new version of "Light my Fire", "UCLA: Will Light your fire" or "UCLA Woman" instead of "LA Woman" or instead of the "The End", "None of Lectures Make you feel that they will Never End".

Kareem could teach new 18 year olds how to dunk and Bill Walton could teach all of us some of those wacky things he says during basketball broadcasts and explain his Laker son's weird tattoos (Luke W).

Personally, I believe that each faculty member should give a technical summary of his/her research on the backpage of the Times.

Ads give face to UCLA

By Constance Dillon

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Full-page advertisements featuring prominent UCLA alumni appeared in several large publications over the past few weeks in an effort to garner attention and support for the university.

The ads, which were printed in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, featured explanations by individuals as to why they thought UCLA was a pre-eminent university and included titles such as “Welcome to the Capitol of Now” and “Access or Excellence?”

Among other well-known Los Angeles business officials and public figures, UC Regent Sherry Lansing and U.S. House Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles, lent their names to the campaign, titled “UCLA, Unabashed.”

The campaign cost approximately $670,000 and was in the works for over a year and a half, said Lawrence Lokman, assistant vice chancellor for university communications.

The ads were timed to run as incoming freshmen decided which university to attend in the fall, Lokman said. Many university enrollment decisions were due May 1.

“We felt that the series of messages could be very helpful and encouraging to the wonderful students that have been accepted to choose to attend UCLA,” Lokman said.

Officials said they hoped the ads would provide positive exposure to incoming students that have to choose among several universities.

“Our objective was to help ensure a successful yield, particularly of the most promising students, many of whom are sought after by other elite institutions,” said Rhea Turteltaub, vice chancellor of external affairs, in a memo to UCLA faculty.

Publication was also timed to coincide with advocacy efforts currently underway in Sacramento as state officials prepare the revised state budget for next year, Lokman said. The new budget will be released later this month.

“We believe that public institutions have a responsibility to tell members of the public what they are getting for making an investment in an institution,” said Brad Hayward, a University of California Office of the President spokesman.

Hayward said while members of the public often recognize the educational excellence of the UC, they are unaware of the broader benefits the university offers, including community involvement and contributions to the state workforce. The “UCLA, Unabashed” ads help explain the ways UCLA has impacted the Los Angeles community that people might not know, Hayward said.

History professor Norton Wise said he liked the ads because they discussed issues the media doesn’t usually address, specifically UCLA’s efforts to increase programs that work across departments. Wise is codirector of the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics, which gathers its research from several departments at UCLA.

Wise said he thinks the ads are important because they raise the issue of UCLA as public property, which requires support from the public community.

“I think we need to have a lot more discussion about the university as a public institution and its products as the common,” Wise said. “We need to be protecting that role.”

While it’s too early for UCLA to know the impact of the ad campaign on enrollment, UCLA’s alumni and state have responded favorably to the ads, Lokman said, though much feedback has been word-of-mouth. Formal surveys will poll responses over the next several months, he added.

“It’s been really great to see the pride with which people have reacted (to the ads). People in this city take a lot of pride in (UCLA) and they find the information fresh, new and interesting,” Lokman said.