Messaging the high-quality academic success of Texas Tech will help broaden the appeal and brand of the university. That’s part of what Matt Dewey plans as he moves forward in his position of chief marketing and communication officer.
“A lot of our brand that gets out into the community is really driven by athletics, so how do we make sure that there’s an academic representation there as well? Because sure as part of the undergraduate student experience, athletics is a huge part of that, but we’ve got architecture, we’ve got law, we’ve got all the graduate programs that are very academic based and very rigorous and top-ranked programs in their own right. So how do we make sure that’s part of our story as well, that it’s not just a red raider story, it’s really a more comprehensive- I mean, we’re a tier one research university now. That means something to people. So how do we get that story out and tell it in a bold way, and not be subtle, not be humble, but really get our message out there in a strong bold way.”
To do that, Dewey will work to coalesce dozens of communications people across the Tech campus, aiming to match the heft of other Texas universities’ operations.
“And that might mean some big quarterly get-togethers, maybe some professional development and collective learning, but to make sure, again, we feel that that is our community. I’ve been working with several colleges that have searches open right now for folks in the marketing communications field, making sure that we’re involved in those searches and that we can be collaborative because again, it’s a much different environment to walk into a team of two than to walk into a community of 50 or 60. So I really want to make sure that from day one we start to establish that, and make sure that that is a strength of ours moving forward.”
Dewey, a graduate of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, has 18 years of experience in marketing, communications and public relations in higher education, health care, government and consulting, including 12 years as a senior marketing, communications and public relations leader in large, complex, non-profit organizations.
He came to Tech from the University of Michigan, where he helped oversee the completion of a $5 billion comprehensive capital campaign.
One area he says he hopes to update and modernize is the university’s website, which is the proverbial front door for prospective students and faculty. He says a centralized reworking of scores of the university’s webpages would take the burden off communications and marketing people in the various departments and colleges.
“If we get some early resources, let’s say to the campus: we’re going to invest in web, rely on us, maybe it’s the top 100 or 200 pages, we’re going to make sure they’re perfect, they’re up to date, they have all the information they need, and so that may take some burden off of people in the units to be able to say, okay now we’re going to focus over here. But again, we want to make sure that we do that in a big intentional transparent way so that there’s no surprises, and that we don’t sit here six months from now, people say, well gosh I didn’t know this is what you guys were planning to do, that it’s clear and it’s straight forward, and we’re able to do that together. As they get new resources, they can invest them strategically, we can do the same, and we figure out how to be very complimentary and collaborative in the work that we do.”
Dewey sees a strong marketing opportunity for Tech as 2023 - the institution’s centennial year - approaches. When he worked at Santa Clara University in California, Dewey helped raise the profile of the school.
“We didn’t come in and change the way the academics were done, we didn’t change the way the students were recruited, we just changed the way we talked about what we were doing, and that was through all channels, pretty consistently, with a lot of cooperation and a lot of excitement around campus. So my hope is that here we can do some of those same things, it’s really being able to come in and align and get the message clear and consistent.”
Dewey says he understands the importance of outreach to alumni as well as to the symbiosis the university has nurtured with the Lubbock community.
“We’re here because the community’s here, the community has grown, and gotten the success because Tech is here, so there’s a very close relationship here, and I want to make sure that the community has a voice in what we do and how we move that forward. But also that as the reputation grows and perception grows, that we don’t leave that behind. I think that’s a special relationship, because today higher education doesn’t necessarily hold the same place in peoples’ minds that it maybe did in decades past, but here I think there is a special relationship with the community and I want to make sure that we embrace that and that we leverage that as we move forward.”