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AU 2030 Series

The Challenge:
In recent years, AU has invested significant resources to develop academic areas that connect across the university’s seven schools and colleges. The initiative, AU 2030, focuses on key areas of academic excellence that are attracting and will continue to attract students and faculty who are passionate about large-scale, team-based research that addresses major issues of our time. UCM’s challenge was to showcase AU 2030 by increasing our emphasis on faculty scholarship and expertise on the AU website. Highlighting faculty research relates directly to two points of AU’s Strategic Plan: Point 1: Epitomize the scholar-teacher ideal. “Our faculty will epitomize the ideal of the scholar-teacher by blending research, teaching, and service into an inspiring whole.” Point 10: Win recognition and distinction. “Our profile will rise as we tell the story of American University to the world.”

The Solution:
UCM initiated a series of profiles on faculty members whose work relates to AU 2030 and promoted these stories on the AU home page. A recurring series allows for more “evergreen” coverage in that a time-sensitive or immediate news angle—such as a book or study being published—is not needed. This allows for more regular, strategic coverage of the university’s academic priorities.

Results:
The first AU 2030 profile was of Kogod School of Business marketing professor Sonya Grier. Since UCM published the story on December 3, 2014, it has had 350 views, 301 of which are unique. The average time on page is 2 minutes, 58 seconds, nearly 1 minute longer than the site-wide time-on-page average for news content. UCM has since published four additional AU 2030 profiles (see below). The schools have promoted the profiles of their faculty members on their own home pages. In addition, the profiles provide a basis for other communication strategies related to AU 2030, including expert pitches to news media and promotional materials for the university.