Greater things ahead

Leaders at latest Provost Forum tout marketing, research and legislative relations work

Meloney Linder

Meloney Linder, vice president for marketing & communications, said her division focuses on boosting UND student recruitment and spreading the University’s message nationwide. Photo by Dima Williams/UND Today.

Marketing and recruiting efforts, along with research initiatives, cooperation with North Dakota State University in Fargo, and outreach to the state are putting UND on a path to greater things, said Tom DiLorenzo, provost and vice president for academic affairs, at the Nov. 8 provost forum.

Presenters included Meloney Linder, newly installed vice president for marketing & communications, Grant McGimpsey, vice president for research & economic development; and Nancy Vogeltanz-Holm, who is working on legislative issues in addition to her positions as professor of psychiatry and behavioral science and director of the Center for Health Promotion & Prevention Research.

Unified voice

UND’s integrated marketing and communications efforts are amplifying UND’s message and are working to boost recruitment numbers and promote the great work taking place at UND, said Linder, who assumed her position in September.

She said her division now has a comprehensive approach that includes ceremonies and events, communications, media relations, marketing, brand and creative services, and the University’s newly revamped and responsive web site.

Linder summarized new initiatives by the division, including advertorials, which are print and digital advertisements that include points of pride and graphics to tell UND’s story in media across the region.

Billboards, videos, multimedia efforts and digital marketing are all focused around the Leaders in Action brand, Linder said, as she showed new ads and a welcome video for students.

Meloney Linder

Linder emphasized advertorials and other print and digital initiatives to tell UND’s story. Photo by Dima Williams/UND Today.

“Generation Z members are digital natives,” Linder said. “Video and online are how they consume information.”

A recent web redesign produced a new, attractive site that displays well on all devise platforms, including tablets and phones, Linder said.

“It’s resulted in five times as many inquiries from prospective students,” Linder said. “Our leads are up 85 percent since last year.”

Aligning marketing and recruitment are a top focus.

“We are also moving from internal communications to holistic communications,” Linder said. “Whether on the creative or communication side, we work together to amplify our message.”

An example she cited was the recent tour of western North Dakota by UND President Mark Kennedy and NDSU President Dean Bresciani, who made the case to legislators and others about the importance of research to the state and advocated a $100-million investment in research at the two universities over the next biennium.

A UND writer and a videographer, who were included on the tour, posted social media, stories and videos. That and media contacts resulted in 31,000 social media impressions and 18 media stories across the state, Linder said.

Grant McGimpsey

Grant McGimpsey, vice president for research & economic development, honed on the need to invest in research as a means to benefit campus and the state. Photo by Dima Williams/UND Today.

Boosting research

McGimpsey also spoke about the push to increase research investment at UND and NDSU.

“There is a groundswell of community and state support of research,” he said. “It’s exciting to hear a drumbeat of interest that we haven’t experienced before.”

McGimpsey emphasized that asking the state to invest in research allows the universities to build the capacity for more research, resulting in increased economic development and a return on investment.

“We are telling people in the state that research is important,” he said. “And the general public is saying the same thing. Research is important to North Dakota. If we continue to make investments, I’m very optimistic about the future.”

He also discussed benefits that will be realized campus wide as more high-impact research activities are adopted on the University’s path to  Carnegie R1 research status. He also shared data on research, available here.

“We will continue investing in the Grand Challenges, working with the Congressional delegation, state legislators and business stakeholders,” he said. “That investment will have a statewide impact.”

In response to a question from a faculty member who asked if the Grand Challenges could be viewed more broadly, McGimpsey replied that the Grand Challenge focus is not meant to exclude any faculty.

“We need more participation,” he said. “My vision is to build research and drive more external funding.”

Nancy Vogeltanz-Holm

Nancy Vogeltanz-Holm (foreground) who works on legislative issues in addition to her role as professor of psychiatry and behavioral science and director of the Center for Health Promotion & Prevention Research, said UND and NDSU Presidents Kennedy and Bresciani have worked hard to make the case for the $100 million investment research at their schools. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Making the case

Vogeltanz-Holm also focused on the Grand Challenges, marketing and the request for more investment in research from the state.

“The Grand Challenges are areas of research strength and drive UND’s external research funding as well as our ability to be even more beneficial to the state’s economy,” she said. “For every $1 from the state, UND and NDSU can turn that into $4. It’s a very good investment.”

Vogeltanz-Holm said that the legislative session approaches, Kennedy and Bresciani have worked hard to make the case for the $100 million investment in NDSU and UND research.

“I think we are getting a positive response from legislators, business and community leaders, the governor lieutenant governor and other shapeholders,” she said. “It’s important for the state. Investment in research is a way to grow and diversify the economy.”

However, she said, not everyone will support investment at UND and NDSU.

“I believe we need to continue to work with our community partners to make the case and continue to be both optimistic and realistic about the possibility of increased research funding,” she said

“With increased funding, we can bring government, business and industry, scientists and health care leaders together,” Volgeltanz-Holm said. “We can make a difference. North Dakota is poised to do great things.”

DiLorenzo capped off the forum by pointing out how Linder, McGimpsey and Volgeltanz-Holm are working together to create a One UND that is exciting for students, faculty and staff.

“Our UND family is really making a difference in the State and continuing to create an environment that is transformational for our students.”