Hear: TCU leader sees championship benefits both on and off the field

Bob Francis: Just with the advent of the Fiesta Bowl, TCU noticed a surge in Google searches. This is amazing for a school like TCU.

Retract: Speaking of digital experiences, we’re seeing exponential growth in visits to our home page, tcu.edu. On the day of the Fiesta Bowl alone, traffic to this site increased by more than 150%. In the month of December, as the anticipation for this game was rising, we saw a 125% year-over-year increase for the entire month. A lot of people are paying attention to TCU and we are happy to be able to tell this story. As proud as we are of the football team, we are very, very proud of what goes on at this institution. And this moment gives us a chance to show the rest of the world how special it is to be a student, teacher, employee or proud graduate.

Francis: This can make a big difference in terms of attracting highly qualified teachers.

retract: Absolutely. We have a strong academic institution. We have facilities for sports or whatever that can compete with any establishment in the country. And then we get the opportunity to run a university in one of the most prosperous urban areas here in North Texas, specifically in Fort Worth. It’s just a wonderful city to live, work and play. And I think when you’re deciding where to invest in the next chapter of your career, like teaching, in many cases TCU has it all.

Francis: How do you use these impressions? How do you then involve those people who come looking for TCU and asking for information?

Retract: We’ve been very aggressive in delivering narratives that highlight a wide range of TCU accomplishments, not just athletics. As an example, we show some of the features of our various colleges. We have rankings on and off the field and TCU is directly in the top 100 universities in the country. We are really proud of what happened at the business school in terms of rankings. We are proud of the results of our students, the level of employment, the number of graduates and all that. These are the stories we are telling and using at the moment to make sure that what we know as such a special university is not lost in the world. Being the best secret has never been a good approach.

Francis: You still won’t be a secret when you play for the national championship.

Retract: Exactly. But we have champions in the class too. And it gives us an opportunity to highlight faculty, highlight some outstanding student leaders, highlight the student experience and how close our community is, the strength of our culture, and how we partner with Fort Worth and the wider community to truly run the university. it has a broader impact that can make a difference in our communities and society as a whole.

Francis: I’m sure you’re also seeing an increase in admission applications, what does that add up to in terms of that? I know at the Rose Bowl you saw an increase in the number of people applying from California – and it will be in Southern California as well – but it’s even more of a national focus.

Retract: Yes. And I think that this solves a number of positive problems. First of all, if you have a wider pool of applicants, you have the opportunity to select a stronger and more academically capable class of students, resulting in a stronger classroom or faculty learning environment, and their thought leadership can really push and challenge everything. more capable student body. And if they face challenges and can continue to learn at additional levels of strength, then their job prospects after graduation are enhanced. Their relevance to leading master’s programs is growing. And it turns out that teachers really enjoy teaching smart students, and this allows us to keep our best and smartest abilities as we go along.

Secondly, with this national and international reach, it allows us to attract a more diverse student body from different walks of life, from different regions. And it benefits all of our students when they get to campus. College for many people in terms of growing up and professional and personal development can really be one of the most important years of your life in some ways. When our students learn not only the academic aspect of what it takes to be successful in their careers or in life, but also learn it with people from all walks of life, then they are truly ready to contribute and lead. after graduation, and this will become a stronger alumni base, stronger advocates for the future of our university, and all of this will work great together.

Francis: TCU now has about 12,000 students. Is the school looking to increase this value or are you trying to keep it the same?

Retract: There are thoughtful conversations about what size is appropriate for an institution. I think these conversations will certainly build on the built environment so that we have enough buildings, classrooms, canteens, dorms, and whatever else is needed to support the growing number of students without sacrificing quality. Because I would compare our student experience with any university in the country. And I think the student experience and connected culture that we’re so proud of has contributed a lot to our success, and we wouldn’t want to walk away from that as we look to the future.

Francis: I think class size always matters, especially in rating services and the like.

Retract: Yes it is. But I also think it’s very important for a learning environment, a mentor-mentee model, where we know that all of our teachers will know all of our students individually, and the opportunity for these intergenerational relationships to flourish is increased if we are forward-thinking. about the size of our student community and the human and physical resources needed to support it.

Francis: Such events always bring additional donors to the sports component of the school. If you see another influx of donations, what are your plans for using it?

Retract: Of course, in terms of athletics, we are committed to providing the facilities and amenities that will allow us to stay at the top of the sporting agenda in all of our sports. But apart from athletics, we are also very interested in our students and their ability to succeed not only academically but also financially.

As you know, the cost of getting a degree at any university has risen over time, and there are many real reasons for this. One of our most forward-looking priorities is to provide dedicated scholarships so that students who are in need of funds can complete their TCU degree without running into an excessive amount of debt upon graduation. Scholarships will be an important priority as well as how we can support our world class faculty and how we can ensure the broader student experience is second to none.

Francis: The school will soon be 150 years old. I know that you also have a big fundraising initiative. How will this event help you achieve some of these goals?

Retract: We are currently participating in a $1 billion capital raising campaign. We are keen to conclude that at the same time that we wrap up our 150th anniversary celebrations, TCU awareness, the excitement generated by the sport, as well as our academic success, has really activated all of our constituents. And when they see success, whether on or off the field, and we have plenty of both, they are more motivated to participate, invest, and be part of the winner.

Francis: Actual game day, what will TCU do at the game or in the neighborhood to bring attention to the school?

Retract: You will see that in the Los Angeles area, the TCU brand is quite popular. We have a strong student recruitment base, especially in Southern California, and we think this is an opportunity to continue to drive our success in this geography, both in terms of brand and student engagement.

Francis: I’m sure the alumni group is very excited.

Retract: They are excited and I think there are so many people in this community who are looking forward to this magical moment to welcome frogs from all over the country, all over the world.

Francis: The students seem to have really accepted this team and got carried away with it. There was a lot of creativity, for example, Hypnotoad. What do you see there?

Retract: Our students are so passionate and they are such a big part of our community and our interconnected culture and how lucky I am to be able to get out of bed every morning and see their energy and enthusiasm, their zeal and commitment to innovation in all its forms every day. . This is a very, very special time in an incredibly special place.

Francis: How would you characterize the difference in gaming experience between Oklahoma and TCU? Do you have such a perspective? (Pullin was formerly dean of the University of Oklahoma Business School.)

Retract: I think both schools are aiming for an outstanding game day. I think the success we’ve had here at TCU is especially special, not just this year, but what’s happened here over the last 20 years. And I think it’s a by-product of decades of vision, commitment and leadership to compete and win at the highest level. I know this year has surprised many people with the level of success, but there are many great leaders at this university who are not at all surprised because it has been a multi-year commitment and investment in excellence in all its forms. athletically and academically, across campus.

Francis: It would be a good example for long term purposes, that’s for sure.

Retract: This is a great example of leadership and commitment to a vision.

I am truly proud of our institution, not only for celebrating this moment, but for recognizing the opportunity to make this beautiful place even better.

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at [email protected]

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