Why did the BOT call a special meeting about the logo? The Chancellor really hit this question out of the park: the Board of Trustees has four new members who don't know what the hell they're doing. So she'll spoon feed them next time. That will go over well.
Marketing. The Chancellor started by saying the new logo did not cost $1.5 million. I'm not sure where that figure came from (she just blurted it out during the interview); rather, the spending went for all sorts of marketing efforts. Obviously the logo itself didn't cost $1.5 million (it looks more like about $1.50). The charge she raised is a straw man--perhaps she has learned something from our ace debate team. Then she argued that most spending was facilitated by "reallocating and reallignment" of current spending and staff. She said that almost all of the $1.5 million was covered by via savings, moving SIUC communications staff to other areas, etc. This is a more substantive response. Is it true?
Not if the DE story of June 28th was accurate.
Cheng said she doesn’t know how much it has cost to hire Lipman Hearne [!] but said the university would be spending twice as much on marketing and advertising than before, which she said was originally estimated between $2 and $3 million.So the plan was to double spending on marketing. The second half of that sentence is remarkably opaque. I took it to mean that SIUC is spending between $2 and $3 million now and will spend twice as much later.
Hoping for a bit of clarification, I looked back at the BOT minutes from May 11, where the proposal to hire an outside firm was passed (it can be found toward the end of the minutes). The rationale for the plan describes its funding source as follows.
The services will be funded from existing resources including the University’s marketing initiative fund and departmental advertising and marketing funds consolidated to support this coordinated recruitment initiative.And the resolution proper says this:
Funding for this purchase will come from the University’s marketing initiative fund and reallocated funds.At the very least, central marketing funds have been increased by sweeping up marketing funds previously allocated to departments. But the language obviously leaves wiggle room for reallocation of other sorts of funds, which could include money saved through furloughs and empty faculty and staff positions. I.e., it is consistent with doubling spending on marketing. I would therefore encourage Jennifer Fuller and the BOT to clarify this matter with the Chancellor: how much more are we spending on marketing than we did before?
In addition to the question of how much more we are spending on marketing, there is the issue of whether we were wise to hire outsiders rather than relying on our own faculty and staff. To my mind that's a tougher question: one can certainly argue that whatever we were doing in the past wasn't working tremendously well. But the Chancellor's claim that she is, in fact, making ample use of local talent strikes me as disingenuous. That certainly isn't what I hear from people in Art & Design. Indeed, if what I've heard is true, that department--which of course includes many experts in design, as one might have guessed--is again being forced to abandon their own high quality recruitment efforts to follow the university's brand. And of course by sweeping money from departmental coffers the university makes it difficult for any department to do any recruitment of its own.
We need effective marketing. Perhaps hiring an outside firm was a good idea. Perhaps local talent needs outside help. But so long as this new marketing scheme is perceived by many on campus--including many of those with the most expertise in the relevant areas--as an external imposition that hurts more than helps their recruitment efforts, it is money and effort wasted. The Chancellor has hired an outside firm to tell us who we are and spread the word to others. If we--the faculty and staff--aren't part of fashioning that message, if we don't recognize the new SIU[C] story as our story, that story won't have any staying power.