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How we attracted more students Richard Henson University of Worcester.

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1 How we attracted more students Richard Henson University of Worcester

2 Situation in 2005 Numbers had been falling since 2003 needed to find out: why? what would bring students back Discovered that fewer students were taking Computing at A level IT had lost its gloss as an attractive career other institutions sexing up their IT-related degrees and attracting more students e.g. Computer Games/Forensics degrees

3 What could we do better? What would happen if we didnt… Other institutions experiencing unprecedented falls in numbers Falling market need to either give up or take up the gauntlet and get larger market share thankfully, we did the latter…

4 Navel Gazing Time… Needed to: look at existing matrix of modules offered for Computing create new named specialist degrees based on existing pathways and staff expertise Opted for four specialist degrees based on existing matrix: Games and Multimedia Development Web Development Computer Networks Business Information Technology Kept Computing because some students still wanted a more generalised qualification

5 Marketing Problems Needed to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths… E.g. Computing within a Business School was being drowned out not really seen as part of central strategy needed to use the marketing muscle of business colleagues to push computing within a business context as a good thing in itself but business itself was barely keeping up its own numbers…

6 Marketing Solutions New member of academic staff… 50% of time available for marketing dept courses! Agreed to include computing in that marketing… task made easier by having new courses to market New university… Institution also had a new marketing direction Business school made sure its courses were marketed successfully on university literature and at university functions Prospective new students were individually mailed and virtues of city & region extolled

7 Focusing on the Core Market Research showed that most existing students local, or regional West Midlands students liked Worcester because (a) rural (b) friendly Local students could go elsewhere… Targeted local schools & colleges Colleagues went out in the field FE colleagues invited to tell us about their students & see what we offer

8 Results 2006-7: steady as she goes… all specialist degrees recruited computing itself had higher numbers than previously 2007-8: Success! Numbers starting had more than doubled! new member of Computing staff appointed… For 2008-9: Further increase in numbers projected; new course development in security building on existing networks degree

9 What have we learned? Use a specialist marketing person and give them the time to do the job… Work together as a team know your strengths and build on them know your weaknesses and provide support Success breeds success… marketing is everyones responsibility a small team creating a buzz about the place rubs off on others

10 Whats in a Name? All sorts of sexy names for computing courses doing the rounds… decided to go for content and career goals rather than media blitz… maybe risky - but it worked for us… STILL under pressure for the glitzy title… team agreed we still want our students studying for degrees that do what they say on the can…

11 Why so few students wanting to do Computing anyway? IT industry in depression in 2002-3 recovered strongly, but no-one told the careers teachers… now the BCS is taking a lead in correcting this… and last year (2007-8) TOTAL applications for Computing-related courses up slightly ICT in schools focused on Microsoft applications many IT teachers NOT Computing graduates and 11-16 curriculum had to be tailored to suit? But should this continue?

12 Questions…

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