People who live in Victoria, South Texas and across the nation now know more about the University of Houston-Victoria after the success of the university’s communications division last year in getting the word out about UHV.
Newspapers published 58 percent more stories about UHV in 2008 than they did the prior year, and the university also started having success with national media taking note of the institution.
“We are glad that more people are learning about the excellent higher education opportunities offered at UHV,” said John Ellis, UHV’s marketing director, who oversees both the university’s public relations and marketing efforts. “Our communications staff works hard to get the positive news about UHV into the hands of about 55 regional and national newspapers and publications each week.”
In 2008, the print media published 387 news stories, editorials, columns and letters to the editor featuring UHV. This was 142 more than in 2007, when only 245 stories were published. These figures from both years do not include the hundreds of news briefs and other mentions of the university that were published in the print media.
UHV received some of its first national exposure ever last year when the Associated Press reported on Feb. 27 that former Houston Astros Manager Phil Garner was coaching the UHV Jaguars baseball team for seven games. The story was picked up by numerous media outlets including SI.com and ESPN.com.
The Houston Chronicle also published several stories about UHV last year including one on July 10 about degree opportunities in digital gaming and simulation.
Although comparative figures for radio and TV pieces featuring UHV were not available, the university had several segments that aired on regional radio and TV stations in 2008. KPRC TV out of Houston aired a segment about the UHV athletics program on May 26. Radio station KEDT 90.3-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in Corpus Christi, featured former UHV student Karalyn Jones on June 13 talking about her trip to Uganda, Africa. Jones then went on 89.3-FM KSBJ out of Houston on July 6 as the guest on an hour-long show.
State and national e-newsletters also publicized UHV’s successes as they were sent press releases. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, a national leadership association made up of 430 of the nation’s public colleges and universities, frequently published the university’s news in @aascu, its biweekly e-newsletter.
In addition, TexasNonProfits.org, a Web portal that provides data to facilitate connections between nonprofits and charitable foundations, published press releases about grants UHV received throughout the year. These included grants to fund the School of Nursing, the UHV/American Book Review Reading Series and the Generation Proud Scholarship Program for first-generation college students.
Communications manager Paula Cobler and communications specialist Thomas Doyle also have substantially increased the number of press releases going out to the media from 107 in 2007 to 229 last year. In addition, they have expanded the university’s relationships with the media.
The increased exposure UHV has experienced also was helped by the start of the Jaguars baseball and softball teams in 2008, record-breaking enrollment of 3,173 students in the fall, and the community interest in making UHV a four-year university.
The 2009 calendar year got off to a strong start with Inside Higher Ed, a national online source for news, opinions and jobs related to higher education, publishing a story Jan. 8 about UHV’s humanities and literary enterprise. The site attracts about 600,000 unique visitors every month, and a daily e-mail is sent to more than 70,000 subscribers.
“UHV is getting some of the recognition it deserves thanks to the accomplishments of our students, staff and faculty, and the professionalism of the communications staff,” President Tim Hudson said. “It is essential that people know about all the great things we have to offer at UHV.”