Transitioning out of a job

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Thoughts | Posted on 26-01-2009-05-2008


Alright, I’m going to need your help for this post. As I prepare to leave Butler, I really want to make a smooth transition for the next person to be the E-Comm Coordinator.

Too often it seems that in a period of transition, all is lost and the new person must start over.  If we are doing all of this research, data-collecting, forecasting, etc. shouldn’t it be utilized by the next person?   Truth is that I didn’t do the best job at transitioning at UIS [Sorry, Jeremy... :) ] and I want to leave more behind so the next person can hit the ground running with our web-based / social media efforts.

So here’s where you come in… give me your tips and advice in the comments on things you wish the person before you had done or you plan on doing for the person after you.

Here’s my current plan:

  • Back up all work files onto an external harddrive.
  • Include README file with my email address for any questions about the files.
  • Organize data in folders (Email Images, Data/Research, Campus Photos, Login Information, etc.)
  • Clean up computers under my username so that there is maximum space available on the hard drives
  • Make sure the Bloggers know who to contact in the interim
  • Get all Twitter/Google stuff that I did under my emails (stupid!) to new accounts and ready for next person

And a few little reminders for myself:

  • Deactivate my account on iTunes (only 5 computers, Apple? Seriously?)
  • Clear my saved information (passwords, etc.) from Firefox
  • Clean my old leftovers from the fridge and get tupperware
  • Tidy up a bit. Leave some artwork on the walls.

Alright, leave a comment/tip/worst transition ever story/suggestion/idea/thought below!

BIG News! I’m leaving Butler University.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 21-01-2009-05-2008


If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that I announced last Friday that I’m leaving Butler at the end of the month.

What’s next?

I have partnered with Joe Gaylor from to start a new company that will help Colleges and Universities use the web to achieve their marketing and recruitment goals. I’m looking forward to sharing my extensive knowledge and skills of web-based recruitment and marketing with other universities, just as I have with Butler over the past 20 months. We have hit the ground running with our clients and I am excited about staying in higher ed, just in a different capacity.

Butler has been an amazing workplace for me and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to grow here and work with so many great people.  Keep your eye out for a job posting if you’re interested, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to give it some thought if you’re interested. Indy is a great city and Butler is a magnificent school/workplace.

What’s changing on SquaredPeg? Hopefully nothing. I hope this continues to be a place where you can get recent news on what’s hot, my thoughts on higher ed, and posts about cool projects or efforts out there. I hope to just keep doing what’s worked. You’ll notice some small text changes on the site, but nothing major for now.

So, be sure to check out and email me at brad(at) if you’re ready to take your recruitment and marketing to the next level. We’d love to work with you.

Well, that’s about it! Again, thanks for reading/subscribing. :)

PS – I just wanted to say thanks again to everyone on Twitter who has sent me a message, DM, or email to congratulate Joe and I on the new company.  Very inspiring!

College Admission Offices lead the way with social media!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 20-01-2009-05-2008


I am very excited to share with you a recent study that comes from UMass Dartmouth, which looks at social media usage within college admission offices at 4-year universities.

Guess what? We’re doing pretty good. :)   As one who has been advocating and pushing the usage of social media in higher ed recruitment for a few years now, I just wanted to pass along some information from the study as well as a ‘thank you!’ to all of you out there helping to make it happen.

[Link]: Social Media and College Admissions: The First Longitudinal Study

According to the 10 page document, which states “The new study compares adoption of social media between 2007 and 2008 by the admissions offices of all the four-year accredited institutions in the United States”, in 2007 “institutions of higher education were outpacing the more traditional Fortune 500 companies as well as the innovative Inc. 500 companies in their use of social media to communicate with their customers (i.e., students).”

In 2007, 8% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared to 19% of the Inc. 500 and 32% of college admission departments.

In 2008, 13% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared to 39% of the Inc. 500 and 41% of college admission departments.

Some statistics to note

  • More private schools have blogs than public schools (72% vs. 28%)
  • 50% of schools with undergrad enrollment <2,000 have blogs.
  • Only 8% of schools use an internally developed application for a blog platform.
  • More schools are allowing comments on their blogs in ’08 vs ’07 (61% vs. 72%)
  • 54% of schools monitor the internet for buzz, posts and conversations about their institution (still not high enough, in my opinion!)
  • 29% of admission offices used social networking in 2007. 61% of schools did in 2008.
  • The % of schools not using any social media in their recruitment strategy dropped from 39% in 2007 to 15% in 2008.
  • 85% of institutions are using at least one form of social media. Usage is up for every tool studied.

I’ll leave some for you to look at. Make sure you download the PDF or DOC at the bottom of the link above and check it out.

I look forward to seeing these numbers continue to rise!

Bradley Basketball does the MVC Shuffle

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Technology, Video, YouTube | Posted on 15-01-2009-05-2008


This was sent to me by @jcrone, who I met at the Stamats Conference in Tampa, FL last year, and I had to share it.

Apparently the reason my beloved Butler Bulldogs wiped the floor with the Bradley Braves last month was because the Braves were busy preparing for YouTube stardom.

Super Bowl Shuffle, look it.  The MVC Shuffle is here! This video rings in a little long at over 8 minutes and gets repetitive towards the end, but it’s a great showcase of both Bradley Basketball and the MVC Conference.

It was uploaded on January 9th, and as of this writing on Jan 15th it has had 15,700 views. Check it out!

How #2013 will help us yield better.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Community, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Strategy, Thoughts | Posted on 12-01-2009-05-2008


With the saga of #2013 behind us, it’s time to focus on the future and how lessons learned can be applied to benefit your university. One benefit in particular that I am already seeing is the potential for increased yield over the Class of 2012.

I didn’t see anyone else do Class of 2012 research, but I am glad that I have mine to benchmark this year against last year’s numbers. (All details can be found at .) I find it helpful to monitor the growth and conversation of the group.

Here’s what I’m seeing with #2013:  By actively promoting the Class of 2013 group rather than sitting on the sidelines, we are seeing more students join earlier in the decision process and connect with students in a meaningful way. I sent out an email to all admitted students (like I mentioned I would do in the #2013 post) and it had a 37% open rate with a click-to-open rate of 26%.

As of January 11th, the group already has more members than the 2012 group did on May 21st (338 vs. 331).  That means we’re nearly 4 months ahead this year in terms of growth. Looking at wall posts, there are more posts as of today than March 19 of last year (246 vs. 226).  So the conversation has begun more quickly and is continuing to grow. Discussion posts are growing as well, 317 to date compared to 298 on April 16th of last year.

Comparing same-week numbers between 2013 and 2012,  there are 1700% more members, 1130% more wall posts, and nearly 16000% more discussion posts.

So what does this mean? A few things.

  1. At Butler, we adhere to the National Candidate’s Reply Date of May 1. So the more we can engage students and connect with them before that date, the better.  More deposits are a good thing.  The fact that our Facebook group is larger than it was at last year’s May 1 date shows that we have a larger audience of the admit pool to help and engage.
  2. Our yield events are very early in the year, with the majority of them happening in January and February. Right now we are coming up on 2 yield events, and it’s the main point of the conversation in the Class of 2013 group.  Students are asking who’s going to be there, making plans to meet each other, and they are already meeting friends and finding roommates.  This didn’t happen last year.  If a student knows other students who are going to a yield event, they are much more likely to attend.
  3. 5 students who emailed/messaged me are now the Admins of the group, so they already feel like a part of the Butler community.  The more you can share this experience and feeling with others, the more you will yield.
  4. The conversation is evolving sooner. Last March, 3 months into the research, I posted:
    “Now, some general observations. The conversation has taken what I believe is a typical course for this type of online/community interaction: Starting at “where are you from?”, going to “what major”, then on to “what early reg date are you going to?” and finishing with a deeper connection level, such as Roommate surveys, what dorm to live in, meeting up this summer, etc.”
    With that conversation happening sooner and the deeper connection level evolving earlier in the year, I can assume that yield will be positively affected.  It reminds me of the college Brian Niles once mentioned that sends their roommate assignments out as early as February.  Kids basically yield each other because they connect and after the whole “are you going? yeah, are you going?” conversation they begin to plan their room.  While we still aren’t sending out roommate assignments until late summer, these conversations will still take place and help us yield better.

So there’s one positive outcome of #2013 and FacebookGate.  What’s your story? Where are you improving?  How has the story helped you approach administrators?