BE CONFIDENT AND ACT CONFIDENT

Through the Chronicle of Higher Education poll we learned the level of confidence the public has in many U.S. institutions.

 

A great deal of confidence

Some confidence

 

Very little confidence & No confidence

The U.S. military

65%

28%

6%

Four-year private colleges and universities

51%

38%

7%

Local police force

48%

41%

11%

Four-year public state-supported colleges and universities

46%

44%

7%

Community colleges

43%

46%

9%

Churches and religious organizations

43%

40%

15%

Doctors

40%

51%

9%

Hospitals

36%

52%

11%

Executive branch of the U.S. government

33%

41%

25%

Public elementary and high schools

32%

47%

20%

Local government

18%

59%

22%

Television news

17%

54%

28%

Newspapers

16%

58%

25%

State government

15%

59%

25%

The U.S. Congress

14%

59%

25%

Lawyers

9%

50%

40%

Large corporations

6%

49%

43%

Observations and Recommendations from GDA Integrated Services

The Chronicle poll suggests that this is a good time for colleges and universities to be bold in their public agendas. Note the high level of confidence in all types of higher education but relatively low confidence in local and state governments as well as in the U.S. Congress. We suggest getting this table in the hands of appropriate lawmakers and government officials highlighting the confidence in your sector of higher education. Let them find how they are perceived but donít be too obvious. Hint that aiding higher education should aid them in improving their standing with their publics.

The relatively low level of confidence in television news and newspapers further reinforces the GDA Integrated Services view that colleges and universities must find other ways to gain visibility. We know from our own national studies that traditional advertising campaigns using the mass media have very little effect on full-time undergraduate enrollment. (Advertising does help with non-traditional age students.) Other unorthodox public relations techniques have proven to have a greater impact. For example providing services to secondary schools that subtly promote your institution or sponsoring a fundraiser for a local, highly visible hospitals are ways to gain visibility.

When we look at different age groups (we surveyed ages from 25 to 65 years old), we see the first signs of the new generation. Those respondents born between 1970-79 had greater confidence than older generations in most U.S. institutions. In fact, throughout the research we found younger respondents were more optimistic. Keep this in mind when attracting young adults to your programs for non-traditional age students.

For more ways to take advantage of the Chronicle research, Email us.

Return to our Chronicle research analysis page, click here.