Sometimes great ideas need a little extra help to be heard. That was the case when the president of a private independent liberal arts college in the U.S. was involved in and an advocate for an innovative three-year undergraduate degree that was the first in the U.S. without a requirement for summer classes or online study. In the midst of the economic crisis, the cost savings were needed more than ever to insure that a private college education was not out of reach of mainstream American students and their families.
The college president knew the innovation would advance the nationwide debate about ways to effectively maintain high academic standards and at the same time reduce college tuition costs, if she could bring this important topic into the mainstream.
Within a few weeks, we helped design succinct media messages, created press materials, pitched key journalists covering higher education, and worked to prepare her for the spokesperson role. Quickly, her voice became part of the national discourse on three-year undergraduate programs. Stories were published by the New York Times and USA Today, heard on NPR, and the topic has gained widespread acceptance with more and more colleges and universities instituting three-year bachelor’s programs. newsPRos helped place stories on her college's three-year option in national youth-focused publications to ensure that students eligible for admission would be aware of its requirements and advantages.
In the year since, the president has remained a go-to thought leader on this topic. Although the three-year option remains controversial within U.S. higher education, newsPRos’ thought-leader continues to speak persuasively on the issue, maintaining that it should be an option for well-prepared, capable students. Her work lends credence to discussions of curricular reform, and it enlivens the national discussion of workable solutions to the problem of constantly increasing tuition faced by students and their families who cannot afford four to six years of traditional study to earn a first degree.