Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category


The Magical Department Head!

Is your university or college searching for a new department head?  Following is a series of phone interview questions used in a recent department head search.    I hope that you find these interview questions to be useful.

Question One:  What generated your interest in the department head position at our university?

Question Two:  Key dimensions of the department head position include nurturing undergraduate student learning, supporting faculty development, and developing external relations. Give examples of your leadership experience in each area and indicate how you would prioritize these three areas as the department head.

Question Three: Describe your experience supporting interdisciplinary collaboration across departments and across colleges.

Question Four: Describe your leadership style. What have been your most significant leadership successes and challenges?

Question Five:  The successful candidate for this position must continue their scholarship to remain academically qualified. How might you stay active in publishing scholarly research while serving as department head?

What can we share with you about the department, the college, or our university that would be useful in evaluating your interest in the position?

If we go further, can we contact your references? Can we contact other people in addition to your references?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe 





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The marketing of a business school is a vital component of organizational strategy.  Conceptualizing a college as a “brand” is an interesting exercise.  It is complicated by the fact that the college brand is directly tied to the university that it is associated with.

Does our university have a “de facto” brand?  Sure – our university has a positive reputation for attracting A-/B+ students who are collegial and strong on the interpersonal skills.  At the college level – this translates into students who generally have a positive attitude, are good team players, and will be satisfied to play by the rules in order to achieve success.

Several years ago our college developed a branding campaign for our college of business.  There was involvement on the part of the dean’s advisory board, a few department heads, a few students, and the director of communications.  Much fanfare was made of a quite unscientific study that showed the superior interpersonal effectiveness of our students.  As quickly as the campaign started, the campaign came to a grinding halt.  Logos and banners were removed.   Talking points were no longer put forth.

What happened?  Here are some possible explanations:

1) external entities pointed out that the “branding study” was indeed not scientific

2) there was never faculty “buy-in” for the branding

3) the dean’s advisory board was not fully on-board with the branding

4) the college’s branding was not done in conjunction with other entities on our campus

If I had to guess, 3) and 4) are the most likely explanations.   What can we learn from this?    I am convinced more than ever that the branding of a university and its associated business school is important.  Branding is something that must be done in careful coordination with units across the university.

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