WCU office wins CASE media relations award for economic impact project

An entry submitted by Western Carolina University’s Office of Communications and Public Relations titled “Western Carolina University, UNC Asheville and A-B Tech Partner to Illustrate the Economic Impact of Public Higher Education in Western North Carolina” won a special merit award in the media relations program category for best programs and projects in the recent District III competition of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

The entry chronicled an effort by the institutions involved to publicize the results of a study that looked at their contributions to the economic growth of the region in terms of payroll, operational, construction and research expenditures during fiscal year 2012-13. In addition to WCU, UNCA and A-B Tech, the effort included Blue Ridge, Haywood, Southwestern and Tri-County community colleges.

“Although it took a great deal of synchronization and calendar manipulation to be able to accommodate the schedules of two university chancellors and a community college president, not to mention their respective staffs, we felt it was well worth the effort to present a unified front in this event in order to illustrate the power of public higher education in the region,” said Bill Studenc, director of WCU’s Office of Communications and Public Relations.

“By including the impact of four other Western North Carolina community colleges in our news release and announcement, we were able to generate extensive media coverage of the announcement across the region that these institutions serve,” Studenc said.

The annual CASE competition recognizes achievements by educational institutions in advancing their mission. Winners were announced at the organization’s annual conference held in Nashville in mid-February. CASE is an association for professionals in the field of institutional advancement.

A news article about the collaborative effort can be found at http://news-prod.wcu.edu/2015/02/public-institutions-of-higher-education-in-wnc-report-economic-impact-for-2012-13/.