In today’s global landscape, universities, particularly in the UK, the US, and other advanced education systems, are facing a changing funding model that encourages them to be more dynamic and effective. This shift emphasizes the importance of effective communication for universities to thrive in a competitive environment. Should you seek more details, you can download the original research article of this post here (in Vietnamese).
Why University Communication Matters
University communication encompasses all the activities that universities undertake to engage with various stakeholders, both inside and outside the institution. These stakeholders include current students, alumni, prospective students, faculty, researchers, businesses, the media, sponsors, and local governments. Effective communication is vital for a university’s continued success.
If universities fail to communicate effectively, they face difficulties in building and developing their brand, recruiting students, fostering relationships with businesses, finding funding sources, and attracting high-quality faculty and researchers. Neglecting communication not only hinders student and faculty recruitment but also tarnishes the image of higher education in the public eye and the media.
The Internet and University Communication
In today’s digital age, nearly 100% of candidates rely on the internet and social media channels for information. A university without a website is considered virtually non-existent, but having an outdated or poorly-maintained website can be detrimental. When prospective students visit a university’s website, they often judge its quality based on the site’s appearance and the timeliness of information updates.
Moreover, foreign researchers and businesses looking to collaborate with a university need to access relevant content online. Social media accounts and media publications not only serve as information sources but also foster a sense of pride and belonging among current students and faculty.
The Ethics of University Communication
While communication plays a crucial promotional role in the education sector, ethics must be a top priority. Excessive advertising, unfounded praise, and exaggeration of information can mislead students, confuse businesses, and damage the reputation of both universities and the education system as a whole.
The State of University Communication in Vietnam
In Vietnam, research on university communication is limited, with most studies focusing on enrollment or branding communication for specific universities. However, the need for comprehensive research on university communication strategies is evident. Such research can help institutions develop long-term, medium-term, and short-term strategies and train personnel to carry out meaningful communication, which extends beyond mere advertising.
Key Findings of University Communication in Vietnam
- Communication Departments: While some universities in Vietnam have well-established communication departments, others lack designated departments, leaving communication tasks in the hands of a few individuals or various administrative units.
- Budget: The budget for communication activities varies among institutions, with newer universities investing more in communication efforts. Some universities allocate significant funds for media-related activities.
- Communication Strategies: Only a few universities have formal communication strategies. Long-term strategies are often overlooked, and most communication activities are based on short-term plans.
- Brand Communication: Most universities have basic branding tools like slogans and logos, but only a few have professionally developed brand strategies. Brand promotion varies, with some schools allocating a smaller budget for branding activities.
- Admissions Communication: Admissions communication is a high priority for most universities, particularly non-public and newly established ones. Websites and social media are the primary platforms for this communication.
- Popular Activities: Universities engage in various activities to attract students, including admission days, open houses, high school visits, and scholarships.
- Less Popular Activities: Some universities employ less common strategies like advertising, direct calls, email campaigns, and organizing courses.
- Evaluation: A third of the universities evaluate communication activities to measure their effectiveness. These evaluations often focus on enrollment communication, with some institutions also considering potential students and the best communication channels for conversions.
- Communication Tools: Universities utilize websites, social media, and print publications to communicate with their target audience.
In a rapidly changing educational landscape, effective university communication is vital. It helps institutions not only attract students but also build their brand and maintain a positive image. As the higher education sector continues to evolve, universities must adapt and embrace strategic and ethical communication practices to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.
Dang, T. V. H, Nguyen, Y. N., Nguyen, P. T., & Ly-Le, T. M. (2023). Một số hoạt động truyền thông tuyển sinh tiêu biểu hiện nay [Some common practices in current student recruitment communication]. Proceedings of the “Một số kinh nghiệm truyền thông của trường đại học trong bối cảnh hiện nay” [“University communication experiences in the current context”] Conference, 40-46.