Newly appointed Associate Vice President of University Communications Sherry Knight has plans to improve the university’s marking, branding and student recruitment.
Knight was appointed Wednesday by University President George Ross after serving as an interim for the position since May, and will take on full duties Dec. 3 with a salary of $140,000.
“There’s a lot that can be done in terms of building culture and rallying the entire campus around Central Michigan University and its future,” Knight said.
Knight said one of her focuses is defining CMU’s story to help create a brand for the university and showing how that brand sets Central apart from other universities.
“We need to tell CMU’s story and we all need to be involved in expanding CMU’s profile around the state and beyond,” she said.
To Knight, the relationships between faulty and students and the quality of education are part of CMU’s story.
“No matter where I go on campus, people talk about our academic leadership and experience behind the degree,” she said. “It’s truly here at Central where students get personalized attention.”
The ability for undergraduates to participate in research is another aspect.
“The fact that Central has both graduate and undergraduate students conducting research really sets us apart. You don’t get that everywhere,” Knight said.
Knight said she has spoken to students who say CMU feels like home and those kinds of stories need to be told as part of the university’s story as well.
“It’s important because the university’s story is what makes students chose us as their first choice university,” she said.
Knight is also plaining to work with the Enrollment and Student Services Department to improve student recruitment.
Though increasing overall numbers is very important, she wants to focus on trying to find out what kind of student the university serves best so a marketing plan can be focused around that.
Knight, a 1986 CMU alum, said she decided to stay at CMU because the commitment of students, faculty and staff across campus.
“One of the big reasons that I decided to stay is that I met faculty, staff and students all across campus that are very committed to expanding our reputation,” she said.
Knight said the university is at a very pivotal point in it’s history, which excites her. With the university’s academic prioritization, strategic plan, facilities master plan and enrollment management planing all coming into place, Knight thinks the university’s future is now.
“All of those are coming together at the same time, which is remarkable for any university. CMU’s future is truly being set right now,” she said.