University Identity

UAlbany students gather at a Candle Lighting Ceremony welcoming incoming freshmen and transfers. (Photo by Paul Miller)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 27, 2016) — A premier research university. A collegial home to tens of thousands of students. A vibrant arts community.

Just what is the University at Albany? And what do people — on campus, in the community or in the wide world — think of when they hear that name?

We’re going to find out. The University has embarked on a major project to assess how it is viewed by the public. The year-long study is being done by Maguire Associates, a research and consulting firm that specializes in educational institutions.

“This is the first comprehensive, systematic effort to understand how this university is perceived in more than a decade,” said Joseph A. Brennan, vice president of communications and marketing and the study’s sponsor. Brennan heads a University committee charged with interpreting the study results and recommending how to apply them. Jennifer Carron, assistant vice president of communications and director of marketing, has been named project director.

“It’s our job to help the world understand what makes UAlbany stand out — who we really are on our very best day,” Brennan said. “This isn’t a project to help us come up with a new slogan. It’s a project that will help us clearly present our identity.”

Two studies have already been conducted: a survey of students who were admitted but chose to attend other institutions, and one of community leaders, business people and elected officials in the region.

In October, a new survey will go out to the entire campus community — students, faculty and staff — as well as alumni.

“The more voices we can hear, the fuller our picture of the University will become,” Brennan said. “I am looking forward to sharing the research findings with the campus community in the spring semester.”

The surveys aim to understand how the University is perceived by key audiences, and to help bring the focus to what is unique and exceptional about UAlbany. The information will be used to create marketing tools, aid in student recruitment, bring stakeholders together with a common sense of purpose, and assess and measure success.

The steering committee for the project, headed by Brennan and Carron, includes Joel Bloom, director of academic assessment and survey research; Suraj Commuri, associate professor in the School of Business; Jack Mahoney, assistant vice provost for academic and resource planning; Lee Serravillo, executive director of the University Alumni Association; Sandra Starke, vice provost and associate vice president for enrollment management; Bruce Szelest, vice provost for administration; Lisa Taylor, business operations manager for the Department of Communications and Marketing; and Kevin Williams, vice provost and dean for graduate studies.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.