EOU strengthens online marketing, recruitment and retention
May 29, 2019 LA GRANDE, Ore. – A new agreement with Learning House, a Wiley brand, opens expansive opportunities to empower online students through Eastern Oregon University’s (EOU) high-quality programs.
Learning House will work with EOU staff to manage online enrollment, provide online student retention services, conduct market research, and execute marketing campaigns for EOU Online. These add-on marketing, recruitment and retention services do not replace current EOU staff but require close cooperation between Learning House and the university. The agreement goes into effect and EOU will begin working with Learning House immediately.
“EOU is a leader in providing high quality programs to online students,” said EOU President Tom Insko. “This partnership will allow us to significantly increase enrollments and expand market awareness of the great online programs offered and grow the number of lives impacted by an EOU education. Our goal is to be serving 5,000 students through online programs by 2029.”
A cross-campus committee of faculty, staff and an online student representative convened last fall to identify potential partners and survey faculty and staff about the prospect of working with an enrollment management company. This winter, after selecting Learning House, the group adjourned, and the university began evaluating a draft contract.
The university maintains full responsibility for online academics, and Learning House will not be involved in program development or curriculum. The agreement affects marketing, recruitment, retention and consulting services for online programs, and EOU will continue to attract and enroll on-campus students independently. Funding for the agreement comes from a revenue-share after students have enrolled and are taking classes.
Psychology professor Robert Butler participated in the committee last fall, and said he was pleased with Learning House and its willingness to honor EOU’s culture and identity as a small, rural university.
“Wiley and Learning House are focused on helping Eastern Oregon University realize its goals in a way that aligns with its unique mission and culture,” said Todd Zipper, Co-President of Wiley Education Services and Learning House, a Wiley brand. “Together we can ensure that more students have access to the university’s programs in order to achieve their career ambitions.”
After the campus committee adjourned in January, anthropology professor Linda Reed-Jerofke remained on the contract evaluation team. Reed-Jerofke said she was opposed to the offer a different company put forward last year, but is satisfied with the proposal from Learning House and its participation in the process, noting that the university needs to expand its marketing and advertising, but lacks the funds to do it.
Learning House and EOU held joint meetings on marketing and enrollment this spring to help inform the agreement. In April, EOU’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously in support of empowering President Insko, with advising from committee chairs, to finalize the contract.
“Working with Learning House will give us significant leverage in the online learning market as we grow the EOU brand across the region and beyond. Our students will experience even more support in their educational experience with this new model,” said Executive Director of Regional Outreach and Innovation David Vande Pol.
EOU expects to see the first fruits of combined recruitment efforts in January 2020. Bolstering online enrollment will enhance support services that guide new online students through the admissions and registration process.
This year alone EOU has expanded its online offerings to include accounting and computer science programs. The agreement with Learning House will market those programs and bring in new students to fill the growing number of virtual classrooms.