Blog / Setting New Standards

Setting New Standards
Written by Susan Griffis, Director of Marketing

Algorithms.
Responsive Technology.
Competition.
Accreditation.

These are all things Shepherds College didn’t have to worry about back in 2008 when we first opened the school.

Our program was groundbreaking; there wasn’t another school like it in the nation. Offering a post-secondary education to young adults with intellectual disabilities was almost an afterthought to institutes of higher learning… until we came on the scene.

Shepherds College set new standards. Teaching directly to students with intellectual disabilities was our focus. We offered a faith-based education, a residential campus, small staff to student ratios, support throughout every facet of the day, original curriculum, and hands-on learning.

What we were doing worked, and we proved it time and time again with exceptional placement rates, student satisfaction, awards for excellence in teaching, and accreditation by national organizations.

Of course, where there is success, competition soon follows. Here we are, eight years later, still performing with excellence, but now we are one in over 250 post-secondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities.

We all know God’s way is the best way, and Shepherds College seeks God’s way in all things, but how do we make sure potential students find this out in an ever-expanding sea of competition? To help us answer this question, we performed a marketing audit. Staff, students, parents and professionals were consulted and asked probing questions about Shepherds College and other post-secondary programs. Other research was conducted as well on our social media, website, advertising and promotional material.

The results?

• Potential Shepherds College students are visual, but our logo was all text. We added a meaningful graphic so students could connect with the new logo.

• Our tagline was informative — very important to introduce a new program to an audience who wasn’t aware our type of program existed — but it was time to focus on an inspiring message that Setting New Standards communicated the benefits of an education at Shepherds College.

“Those who hope in the LORD will
renew their strength. They will
soar on wings like eagles; they
will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

• We were strong in our social media presence. We wanted to continue to grow in that area so we came up with a more recognizable profile picture that students could identify with.

• Google was no longer finding Shepherds College easily. The search engine giant had changed its algorithms. We needed a new website designed to be responsive so people could access all of our information on any platform whether it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet or cell phone. Please visit our informative new website at www.shepherdscollege.edu.

• We added a new Technology major. This important addition to our program made our promotional material outdated. We now have current brochures, posters, banners and conference material. Each measure we take to grow our program is a step we take to expand the Kingdom of God and positively impact the lives
of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thank you for your prayers and donations as we continue to honor our Lord by modeling His character and teaching His Word through our work at Shepherds College.