University employs branding agency to develop future university priorities


Kent State President Beverly Warren wraps up the Listening Tour she started when she first got to Kent in the Wright-Curtis Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. Warren said that many of those she spoke to voiced similar concerns like racial diversity on campus, expanding growth and expanding the credit cap.

Christina Godfrey

Kent State President Beverly Warren announced Monday that the university will be working with a branding agency to draft a “distinctive vision, core values and proposed university priorities for the coming years.”

In the next three months, Warren said the university plans to collaborate with branding agency 160over90 and her self-appointed Strategic Visioning Advisory Committee to develop the Kent State story. 

University spokesman Eric Mansfield said Melody Tankersley, associate provost for academic affairs, and Charlene Reed, secretary to the Board of Trustees and senior assistant to the president, will chair the 15-member committee and help Warren and the university transition “from listening to visioning.

The Strategic Advisory Committee will also be in charge of reviewing the following:

  • Warren’s transcripts from her Listening Tour

  • The reports of the One University Commission

  • Assessments of the research and athletic programs in 2015

Warren wrote in a university-wide email that in order for Kent State to continue in a positive direction, as well as serve the community, “it is critical to develop a common narrative that will serve all constituents.”

To meet her goals, Warren said 160over90 will conduct interviews and focus groups in the next few weeks across all of Kent’s campuses to gain the individual’s perspective on the essence and future of Kent State, which differs from the purpose of her Listening Tour that started after she became president last summer.

Mansfield said it isn’t unusual for large companies or universities to hire third parties to help guide them through these processes.

As early as May 2015, the university will share these results at a Town Hall gathering and continue to work into the fall semester to spread Kent’s unified vision outside its campuses.

“This narrative needs to tell the story of who we are and what we stand for at Kent State in an authentic and compelling way,” Warren wrote.  “And…can serve as the defining thread that binds us all to a common and unique vision for this university we call home.”

Contact Christina Godfrey at [email protected].