University axes vice president post

Nicole Stempak

Harvey says change helps with school’s marketing strategy

Kent State will spend more time and money advertising itself to more specific demographics starting this summer.

The imminent changes come as the result of Pat Book’s, vice president for regional development, departure to University of Northern Colorado effective June 1.

President Lester Lefton said Book’s cabinet level position will be eliminated, and her staff will report to Iris Harvey, vice president of university relations.

Effective last Thursday, a new unit called Marketing Research, Segmentation and Engagement Services was organized under Harvey.

Harvey said the reorganization makes sense.

“There are synergies in the work that regional development does and what university relations does,” she said.

Harvey said about 12 workers in regional development will be moving over.

“I think it’s important to say that regional outreach to community and corporations, including workforce development, will remain a priority of the unit,” she said. “Dr. Book and I are still working through the transition.”

She said the reorganization will allow the university to develop marketing strategies that are specific to each group’s needs.

“Segmentation, which is another part of the name, means we want to make sure our marketing efforts do not take a broad mass-marketing approach, but instead look at the specific needs of different audiences,” Harvey said. “International students, for instance, have different needs than out-of-state students, as opposed to local students and, of course, people who are pursuing different career interests.”

Harvey said market research is critical to understand its audiences so the university can serve them better. By combing the two departments’ budgets, Harvey said they will have more resources to carry out their goals.

Richard Kolbe, department chair of the marketing program, said he thinks the changes will take the dollars that are available and use them more effectively.

“I think there’s definitely a need for us to focus on all the good things that are going on at Kent State,” he said. “A consorted effort is something that will be valuable. It’s not that Dr. Book didn’t address that; it’s that a targeted effort will clearly enhance the image of the university in the region.”

Contact administration reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].