A year after its founding in 2010, WGU Indiana and its new model of online, competency-based education continued to be surrounded by uncertainty and confusion. The nonprofit, state university was created for the "non-traditional" college student, particularly working adults who had started college, but never graduated. Additionally, for-profit colleges and universities were continuing to offer various levels of online learning, blurring consumers' understanding of the different models.
WGU Indiana hired Borshoff to help position it as an Indiana institution of higher education focused entirely on college completion and the pursuit of advanced degrees in high-demand fields.
After conducting research, stakeholder analysis and client immersion, we created a key messaging document and an integrated action plan, including statewide media relations and an advertising campaign. In addition to op-eds/letters to the editor, desk-side briefings, news releases and spokesperson training, we leveraged credible third parties, such as the Lumina Foundation and Indiana Commission for Higher Education, as advocates. The multi-media ad campaign showcased former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels' interest in reaching more Hoosiers. A year later, we developed a new campaign focused on the "Keys to Learning," matching qualities of the student experience with computer keys.
WGU Indiana has seen a 23 percent increase in applications, leads are up 65 percent, and media coverage has increased by nearly 300 percent. The university has grown to 3,300 students and 600 graduates representing every county in Indiana.
It was anecdotally recognized as the standard-bearer for quality, affordable online education by the Indianapolis Star. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education recognized WGU Indiana for its excellence in academic quality. And Fast Company listed WGU Indiana in its "50 Most Innovative Companies" along with Nike and Google. The parent organization, Western Governors University, has replicated the successful Indiana model in four other states.