First Faculty Advisor
Higher education; marketing techniques; recruitment; race; gender; diversity; secondary education; placement; educational decision making; Marketing
As the high school senior sorted through the dozens of promotional materials sent to him from colleges everywhere, he got confused. Scanning through the hundreds of pictures in the pamphlets, more and more, every school began to look the same as the next. Every school seemed to show exactly the same type of scenarios; students in a majestic dining hall, an intimate laugh being shared by friends walking through the lush green quad, pupils listening intently to an animated professor. Diversity was everywhere in the photos, as the Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White students tossed a Frisbee, shared a meal, or participated in a study group. This apparent echo of diversity rippling through the promotional materials of institutions of higher education everywhere has lead to the question addressing whether or not there is a match or mismatch in University marketing and recruitment materials relative to actual student populations. Diversity has many different definitions, but for purposes of this research, the areas of diversity that will be focused on are gender and race. The most important aspect of the promotional materials to be considered is the photographs being displayed. It is through pictures that the schools quickly and easily convey and distinguished themselves. Also, through photographs, it is convenient for a school to represent diversity, specifically gender and race, how ever they so choose. Relevant factors of the schools being considered in this research are size, ownership, setting, and physical location to help determine if any of those characteristics have any relation to the match/mismatch. As shown later, five schools are looked at in-depth that have similar characteristics, with all having medium enrollment and being located in suburban areas of New England. Future research will include a more thorough investigation into various regions, sizes, and settings of schools.