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Chaparral 2018-2019: 27.4 Adjunct Junction

Adjunct Junction: Marketing at Glendale College (or the Lack Thereof)

By Brian Reff
2nd Vice President, Glendale College Guild

I would like to welcome everyone back to the Spring 2019 Semester. Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable Winter Break! That is if you can remember it! I personally have found this semester to be going extraordinarily quickly. Can you believe that the semester is over one third over?

As I have spoken with many of our colleagues here at Glendale College, I have come to the conclusion that the college either lacks a coherent marketing plan or it has one, but they have failed to inform us of it because they don’t wish to spend the resources on it. What I hear is that enrollment is failing! I don’t hear that we have a plan to slow enrollment decline or a plan to increase enrollment. I also don’t hear the administration asking for help from the staff for ideas or help in developing a marketing plan. It is my personal opinion that many of our administrators are extremely risk averse. I also believe that they find it easier to take criticism for lack of action, rather than for the failure of their actions.
Understanding the College as a Business

One of the things that we all must acknowledge is that the college is a business. Yes, we are a college, but we are also a “Not for Profit College” and a “Not for Profit Business.” With this being said, the college needs to have clearly stated goals.

When one has a business and one wishes to improve their business, there are basically three ways to do it. The first is to raise your prices. We cannot do this as our prices are set by the State of California. The second is to sell your customers more products; in our case this is to get our students to take more units. This may be feasible, but many students are already taking as many units as they can. The third is to get new customers. In our case, this is new students.

These are just some of my ideas and suggestions. I understand that the college is very budget conscious and wishes to get the biggest bang for their buck!

Marketing Ideas

Here are some marketing ideas that we could implement. I would like to give credit to Chris Cicuto for the ideas about Ads on Buses.

  • Ads on Buses: When the college goes on field trips or to away athletic events, we should have signs on the vans that say Glendale College. These could be removable magnetic signs. When we use a large bus to go on a longer trip or take a larger bus, it could be wrapped with a Glendale College logo. Many other colleges do this. We could also have the Glendale Bee Line buses wrapped or Metro buses wrapped. Building on this, we could just put advertising on buses. Many of us have seen the Metro buses in front of our college advertising for the LACCD Colleges.
  • Public Service Announcements: I drive around and listen to the radio and I hear the free public service announcements for other public colleges as well as paid advertising for other colleges. Why I don’t I hear them for Glendale?
  • Billboards and Bus Bench and Shelter Advertising: Other colleges do this. I see it as I walk around and drive around. Just walk around our campus and look at the paid advertisements that other colleges have on our campus.
Looking to Other Colleges

We should probably study the Cerritos College version of the GCC Promise! They are advertising that they are giving all students who enroll there two years of free tuition. We too should implement this here and market it!

One of the things that we need to have to attract students are tools for the students that enable them to be successful, and to publicize those tools. My personal favorite tool for students is Metro’s U-Pass Program. This is a discounted and/or subsidized bus pass program that our surrounding colleges and universities already have implemented. Many of our students who are enrolled here as well as at other institutions already have U-Passes, because they got them at the other institutions. On a personal level, when I talk to students about coming to GCC, transportation is an issue and the cost is an issue. They tell me that as part of their financial aid program they have gotten or are going to get a U-Pass.

I have been working for the U-Pass Program here at Glendale College for the past three school years. First, I worked with Dr. Perez, and now I am working with Drew Sugars. Drew is working very hard on this, but every time he makes progress, a new roadblock to implementation appears either from the City of Glendale or the college.

Radical Suggestions

I propose performance evaluations for administrators every year. In private industry they have it! Why not here at Glendale College? Here are my thoughts on it.

As the college enrollment continues to fall there will be fewer instructors employed here, particularly adjunct instructors. So, I guess that the real question here is, as the numbers of instructors employed at Glendale College decreases, will the number of administrators employed at Glendale College decrease? So, borrowing from the State of California’s Funding Formula for Community Colleges, this is what I propose.

All administrators get a two year hold harmless agreement, as the college has two years left on theirs. The administrators have two years in which to do one of three things: 1. maintain enrollment at current levels, 2. increase enrollment, or 3. allow enrollment to continue to decline. I recommend that we start the performance evaluations as soon as we start the program hold harmless agreement; this way the administrators have a chance to see if their ideas are working, and if not try new ones. If we continue to lose enrollment and continue to lay off instructors, we should lay off administrators in numbers directly proportionate to the numbers of faculty and staff members who are laid off to maintain equity.

Some of what I have proposed here may seem very radical, while some of it is very realistic. I personally believe that if the college doesn’t improve and increase its marketing, the college as we know it will continue to decline in enrollment and will cease to exist as we now know it. I also believe that we can stop or slow the decline and possibly even achieve increases in enrollment if we all work together, faculty, classified, and administration. For this to happen the administration needs to be open to stronger marketing and be willing to devote substantial financial resources to increasing enrollment. This means the administration also needs to be transparent about all of their marketing dollars and where they go, and probably means putting all of these marketing dollars into one account so that there will be less duplication of effort.

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