Eduvation Blog

Zeitgeist of the PSE Marketplace

Good morning!

This week I’ll be immersed in recruitment/marketing trends for a series of workshops and roundtables, so you’re going to see that focus here too. (You could say I’m spending the week in my “brand chemistry lab.”) This afternoon, I’m looking forward to a lively session with marketing and communications practitioners from across UBC Okanagan’s campus (virtually, of course).

But first, a few new developments, 46 more cases on campuses (mostly in Ontario, again), and 5 more announcements about Fall 2021 plans…



Pandemic Précis

Quick updates for the day…


The Best Vaccine

It’s an oft-heard refrain now: “the best vaccine is whatever one you get.” Sure enough, even the co-founder of Moderna was reportedly “happy” to get the shot of his competitor, Pfizer. Results are finally in from a US trial with 30,000 subjects, concluding that the AZ vaccine is 79% effective in preventing all symptoms of COVID19, including in older adults, and that it led to no serious side effects. To help overcome public hesitancy, though, prominent officials like Ontario minister of health Christine Elliott and Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé are getting their AZ shots on camera.


Vaccinations in Canada

As of last night, >4M doses of COVID19 vaccines have been administered across the country, or 10.8 doses for every 100 people. Unfortunately, Canada’s top scientist is opposed to delaying second doses for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, since the latest research suggests immunity may be weak and wane quite quickly from only a single dose. (As we wait for vaccine shipments to accelerate, that could delay ambitious plans to vaccinate some entire provinces by June.)


More Sobering News

A new Lancet study reports that, of 4M COVID19 patients in Denmark, just 0.65% were reinfected last year – but considering the country has an infection rate of just 2%, the reinfection rate could actually be about 1 in 5, especially for seniors. (The study didn’t assess genetic testing for variant strains, so it is possible that reinfections were caused by new variants of COVID19.) And a new Yale study has found that COVID19 causes a 12-fold greater loss of kidney function 6 months after hospitalization, in those patients who develop acute kidney injury. (One more nasty lasting form of organ damage this disease can cause…)



COVID on Campus

Since Monday, there have been 46 more cases of COVID19 reported by CdnPSEs, almost entirely in Ontario. (See my master spreadsheet for a running tally of >1800 cases in CdnPSE since Sept 2020.)


Durham College reported a case on its Oshawa campus yesterday.  DC


McMaster U reported 2 more confirmed, unrelated cases on campus yesterday. Both were international students who had already been quarantining in residence.  Mac


Mount Allison U reported yesterday a case of a COVID19 variant of concern on campus. The PHO has required that “all non-essential in-person student and public activities at Mount Allison be cancelled for the time being.” The Athletic Centre, Fitness Centre, Pond, and Library are closed to in-person visits. The PHO has also requested that members of the MtA community leave home only for essential activities. (This is only the 3rd case I know of at MtA since September.)  MtA


Niagara College confirmed yesterday a case of COVID19 on its Welland campus.  NC


Queen’s U has reportedly confirmed 80 cases since Mar 8 (up 41 from the 39 I last reported). “Most” of the region’s recent cases have tested positive as variants of concern.  Global



More Plans for Fall

CdnPSE has been announcing upbeat plans for Fall 2021 over the past month. (See the complete summary on a single page here.) Since yesterday there have been 5 more:


uGuelph interim provost Gwen Chapman announced yesterday that they are “planning for flexibility” because the COVID19 landscape “remains dynamic and ever-changing.” Vaccination progress and PHO advice “give us confidence that we can plan for a vibrant on-campus experience in the fall. We are planning to offer as many face-to-face classes, labs and other student experiences as possible.” Some faculty will likely “leverage remote technologies and learning approaches that have proven effective” for blended and hybrid delivery.  uGuelph


McGill U was among the first in Canada to announce an intention to return to on-campus learning this Fall, way back on Feb 23. Yesterday they clarified that the Quebec government expects “all students” to be on campus this fall (since high-risk individuals will be vaccinated long before that), and that McGill “does not plan on implementing a hybrid model.” Details of their working scenarios, presented at a Mar 12 town hall, include 2 “realistic” scenarios with teaching “mainly on-campus” (except classes >150), with or without 1m distancing, but with mandatory masks indoors. “Flex spaces” are planned on campus, to permit students to participate in noisy video calls.  McGill Daily


St Lawrence College confirmed yesterday its “intention to be primarily F2F for program delivery and to restore in-person campus services where possible for September.” The decision is dependent upon physical distancing requirements.  SLC


“I am thrilled at the prospect of seeing more of our students and employees back on campus… This is not a time for ‘we’ve always done it this way,’ but rather an opportunity to innovate where possible, to continue helping our students achieve their academic goals.”Glenn Vollebregt, President & CEO, St Lawrence College



St Thomas U president Dawn Russell announced yesterday that “we are seeing positive signs indicating the possibility of a more traditional return to campus in September,” such as the reopening of the Atlantic Bubble and a return to high school classes in NB in April, and the province’s goal to vaccinate every New Brunswicker by the end of June. “Students should expect to return to campus unless something significant changes with Public Health’s direction and guidelines.” Planning is nonetheless considering a range of options.  STU


SAIT’s VP academic, Brad Donaldson, announced yesterday that a working group is considering various scenarios for Fall, but “with great optimism” they hope to have more students on campus and to see an increase in on-campus activities. He adds that innovative teaching approaches “are helping guide new ways of delivering programs.”  SAIT


“The world of work you are entering has changed in ways we couldn’t have foreseen even a year ago, and it’s our commitment that your SAIT education will prepare you for what the future holds. We are focused on moving forward and finding new ways for you to learn and grow — ensuring all our students are career-ready.”Brad Donaldson, VP Academic, SAIT



And if the 70-odd announcements from CdnPSE I’ve tracked so far aren’t enough to persuade you, but you’re waiting for bigger guns to make the call…


Harvard announced yesterday it will reopen campus to all faculty, staff and researchers on Aug 2, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences expects a “full return to campus,” a return to in-person learning and full-density in campus housing. “Though final decisions will not be available until late May.”



Marketing Opens Doors

Some of you may know that I spent a decade in marketing after departing my PhD program, directing an award-winning creative agency working for a range of manufacturing, retail and government clients before focusing exclusively in the education sector. You can see my marketing lens in many episodes of Ten with Kenand even in the #ICYMI videos at the bottom of most of these newsletters. I continue to consult with institutions on recruitment, marketing and branding, and this week I’ll be doing plenty – so I thought it was about time I caught up on some of the more notable items I’ve been holding onto from the past few months…



The pandemic has emphasized the importance of focusing marketing efforts on narrow, precise market segments, by geography but also by psychographics or purchase need. (Based on global surveys, EY identifies 5 cohorts of pandemic consumers, who variously put affordability, health, planet, society, or experience first.) Consumers [students] expect anticipatory, frictionless, hyper-personalized experiences in a digital world, and recruiting the ideal student is more about big data analysis than serendipity. CRM and media teams [recruitment and marketing in PSE] are working together more closely than ever, and organizations need to integrate [student] data across departmental silos. A new level of agility, with distributed and rapid decision-making, has been necessitated for marketers in all sectors by the fluctuating context of the past year.  Harvard Business Review


“During the pandemic, marketing has been elevated within the C-suite as a driver of digital transformation, a key leader of the customer journey, and the voice of the consumer… Without understanding the zeitgeist of the marketplace, in good times and bad, the C-suite cannot adjust to the threats and opportunities at hand and successfully navigate the future.”Janet Balis, EY Consulting Americas



Centralized Platform Model

The pandemic kicked consumer and business adoption of digital platforms ahead by about a decade, and some of that change will be lasting – for higher ed marketing, communications and advancement too. CRM and deep data analysis can provide stakeholders with personalization of medium and message, and institutions with segmentation and predictive analytics – provided that they can implement efficient, unified platforms. Some PSEs are centralizing and blending marketing and communications, enrolment management, alumni relations and development using “digital-first” strategies and building “one view of the customer” to make that possible. The challenge is to evolve from a “vertically integrated organization” to a “platform model, which is dynamic, integrated and driven by the customer experience.” Such an approach requires a central customer experience team, refocused marketing mix, digital upskilling for staff, and much greater cross-department collaboration.  Inside Higher Ed


Digital but Human

Deloitte’s Global Marketing Trends 2021 report explores 7 key trends accelerated by the pandemic. While many leaders are focusing on efficiency or even mere survival, stakeholders are expecting them to step up and deliver more. Purpose-driven enterprises understand “why they exist and who they are best built to serve,” allowing them to “turn tough decisions into simple choices” – and marcom’s role is to keep that purpose front-and-centre across the organization and to stakeholders. Marketers have had to “pivot to an agile digital channel strategy,” embracing social CRM, automating work through AI, and creating virtual opinion leaders. Increasing reliance on digital technologies can leave people “wanting for human connection,” and seeking digital solutions that deepen their connections to others. Leading organizations are engaging stakeholders as “brand ambassadors, influencers, collaborators and innovators,” from social media posts and reviews to cocreating new products or original content. (A trend that’s way ahead in China.) Creative companies are collaborating to provide entirely new solutions through cross-industry partnerships and digital ecosystems. CMOs need to discard their operational mindsets and leverage their consumer insights to advise the organization on its innovation strategy.  Deloitte


“Times of societal disruption… can be a call to action for companies to rethink their values, operations, and infrastructure. It’s an opportunity to innovate and rebuild the human experience in a manner that addresses our collective needs.”Deloitte



“As COVID19 pushes digital innovation to the forefront, marketers can help their organizations pivot their thinking from “protecting what they have” to opening new doors, new partnerships, and new digital platforms that capture their customers’ hearts and minds.” Deloitte





On Friday, uGuelph released several versions of a very professional, moving new testimonial vid on YouTube. (It’s worth watching the 7-min one, if you have time!)



Turning the Game Around

uGuelph BComm student Bankole Alade never thought of education as a way to get ahead: “if I didn’t make it in basketball, I wouldn’t make it at all.” He recalls that he was placed on academic probation after his first-term average hit 48%. “If it’s possible for me to get better at basketball, by working a bit harder, why isn’t it possible to improve the rest of my life?” When he discovered marketing, he started to get passionate about his academics, made the Dean’s honour roll, and “turned the game around.”  7-min version  |  1-min version  |  :20-sec version



As always, thanks for reading! Please drop me a line if you spot something interesting, thought-provoking or cool happening on your campus, or elsewhere in the world!

Stay safe and be well,



Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please answer the question below to confirm that you are not a spambot * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

All contents copyright © 2014 Eduvation Inc. All rights reserved.