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MARKETING AND STORYTELLING ESSAYS

COPYRIGHT 1996 - 2008
4/6/08

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Can UNH Survive The Story Wars?

Short Answer---The short answer is no.

Long Answer---In this essay I will identify stories at UNH and our potential for survival.

Founding Story

The growth and early success of UNH (as with all human enterprises) was accomplished through a particular story. The founders, students, and those that they embraced were practical, entrepreneurial, linked individual and institutional success, and admired intellectually flexible.

For one hundred years we happily gave any student in the world a change to come to UNH and receive a very good education. Our entire institution was dedicated to teaching and helping a very broad range of learners to attain success. I was always proud that I was a small part of our UNH story. The students that came got a real chance and through deeds they have succeeded.

Reaction to Success of Founding Story

With the success and growth of UNH came our desire for respectability as academics and administrators. We wanted to change our story so that we were admired by colleagues in other institutions. We consistently brought in Yale Professors and successful academics to receive Honoree Degrees. In my view we were not developing and grooming those in the world who had been successful based on our unique UNH story. Many of us began to act like we were ashamed to be open and helpful to all.

As our sense of inferiority kept building the entry requirements for admission to UNH got more difficult. This was followed by the beginning of declining enrollments. Those devoted to restrictive admission requirements professed this decline in enrollment to be temporary and understandable. The decision was then made to undergo shock and awe treatment and change our founding story radically into an academic model of publish or perish.

Significant effort, money, and resource were diverted to accomplish our future goal of an academic paradise. Current faculty must be changed and retooled to follow new hires that are dedicated to the scholarly path. A large number of new faculty scholars were hired with the expectation that this would lead to increased enrollment
s with the best students.

Fighting Between Two Stories

Things did not work out as expected. One group wanted to return to our founding story while the academic story blamed administration and evil faculty for our continued decline. My view and that of previous leadership was that we needed both to be great.

The Fighting Expands to Other Stories

New leadership was brought in to clean house and put the University on the right track. In they came seeking all evil doers from both stories. These knights in shinning armor professed that they embraced a business model developed after World War II. This business story was then connected with a change in the structure of university governance, borrowing money to beautify the campus, eliminating programs, and replace any detractors.

Unfortunately the promise of this business story as a business model is no longer held by anyone in corporate American. Business and now universities are following a new story that advocates sending all production out of the USA destroying both the middle and working classes. These people have been the make up of our student body at UNH.

American companies (and now universities) are cutting employees, and their benefits. Retirement, health insurance, educational support, and social security benefits are no longer assured. The difficulty with the business story in universities run by liberal arts professors is that they generally despise business. They have never connected liberal arts to any business storytelling. So these quislings are disconnected from all their stories that they have learned and know. They are isolate nomads who promise everything and move on before each collapse.

An Ancient Path

Marketing and storytelling identified by yours truly is a story that is unknown or not acknowledged by the past three generations of current academics. Current American University leadership who were promised personal gain is now destroying the experiment of a working and middle class education. Competitor institutions to UNH delivered training while UNH helped develop a foundation of wisdom in our students.

UNH has been an anomaly since we began. We have given all from the working and middle class a chance to search for wisdom. In the Celtic tradition we all knew this would end. Outside power must be brought in to destroy any proof that we ever existed. Your children will never know that the working and middle class ever went to a university like UNH.

The story that has been told and followed for 40, 000 years is the one that supports the story followed by the founders, faculty, staff, and students of UNH. These storytellers admired the practical, entrepreneurial, a dedication to institutional success, and intellectually flexibility.

Thoughts

If you have no idea what I am talking about do not waste your time at this point breaking the story trap. This is for the ready of mind. Copy and recopy my website and return when you are ready. I work on it almost everyday. It will take you thousands of hours or a few seconds to overcome a life time of useless business training. Liberal arts have been as useless as business education because of their disconnection and monolinear approach to their fields. Current liberal arts education and its followers are individually useless to you until you learn to combine everything into your own story.

If you have my expanding story to build on when you are ready you will be surprised how smart you are. My motivation as a professor of marketing at UNH is that you will create and apply your own story to help others. It is my turn to help you. When it your turn you must do the same. DM