Ithaca College

Ithaca College

Case Study

The Challenge

Ithaca College survived the ebbs and flows of change throughout its 125-year existence from its serene location around the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.

But the current national conversations on the value of higher ed have turned the entire industry tumultuously on its head. It has led potential students and their families to question the value of a college education — especially when weighting the astronomical debt that many students now carry into the workforce.

To confidently select a College, every family across the country asks themselves the same question: Is the tuition juice worth the squeeze?

The Courage

Over 18 months, we went to town on a listening lap. We interviewed prospective students and their families. We ran focus groups with current students and recent alumni. We guided dialogue with faculty, staff, seasoned alumni, and board members. We studied SimpsonScarborough research and dived deep into 20 competitive and comparison schools. While Ithaca was distinctly a special place, it became clear that they had yet to put their flag in the ground on owning an overarching idea. With five schools-in-one, no clear differentiator was agreed upon across leadership, leading to no point of view being verbalized, operationalized, or marketed.

The Change

Ithaca previously had the words “commitment to academic excellence” stained on its collegiate seal. Any and every school on the planet might say this. We learned that Ithaca is a hub was a safe, scenic, and manageable for students to find themselves, face themselves, and, ultimately, be themselves. Layer on that Ithaca College has always abided by their unique process of learning — known as theory, practice and performance — and you see a true curriculum differentiator for students yearning to be in an intimate classroom environment and setting.

Combine these two differentiators, and we surmised Ithaca to be A Place Called Progress. All of these stories we tell moving forward showcase Ithaca College as a special place to learn, thrive and grow. We feature real stories of actual progress across our students, faculty, and alumni who are learning to make progress for themselves (or for the world) through their experiences learned and shared at Ithaca.

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