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An Annual Research Study by Dr. Josie Ahlquist

How would you describe the state of your student affairs division’s marketing and communications? Is staff centralized or dispersed? Are strategies effective and consistently funded? In an annual benchmark study, Dr. Josie Ahlquist sought to discover trends, challenges, and strengths in student affairs. 

Josie shared results for the very first time in October 2022. She points out impactful strategies such as centralizing more than just staff, as well as concerning gaps like inefficient structures, unrealistic expectations, and a significant lack of resources to meet student needs or campus expectations.

Key Findings

Low or under-staffing is a consistent issue

There are still vacancies from pandemic departures, some positions are hard to fill, and many departments and divisions/departments are relying on students.

Budgets are relatively low or nonexistent, with little defined structure.

Almost two-thirds of respondents report there is no budget or are unaware of their budget for student affairs marketing and communication operations or needs.

Centralization is working where it’s implemented.

Centralization helps reduce waste in resources and allows for better coordination, but may be met with challenges by different stakeholders.

NEW: Job Description Database

One of the results of the study is this job description database of student affairs positions, which will be updated on a rolling basis. All positions listed are included with permission. 

The survey is best suited for those with at least 50% of their full-time job duties in social media, web, communications, and/or marketing.

Josie is working on several resources to aid the field such as a directory of Student Affairs Marketing and Communications departments, and a Centralization Toolkit.

How Josie Supports Student Affairs
Marketing and Communications

Training

Keynote, Full Day and Multi-Day Facilitation: Customized sessions to educate your entire division, MarComm pros, executives and even students

Consulting

Semester and Yearly Services: Specializing in student-centered communications and division-wide strategy.

Cohort

Digital Community Building Cohort: A two-month higher ed group mastermind to advance social media strategy — from goal setting, tactics and analytics.

About Josie

Dr. Josie Ahlquist is a digital engagement and leadership speaker, consultant, and executive coach. She teaches organizations, executives, and education professionals how to humanize technology tools and prioritize building community online.

As a researcher and writer, Josie is extensively published and maintains an active blog and podcast, which have received accolades from EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World was listed as an Amazon #1 new release for college and university student life.

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