What is Project 500?

The University has launched a campaign to recruit an additional 500 International students for its 2016/17 intake, under the banner of ‘Project 500’.  A working group comprised of staff from Professional Services and Professor Richard Wells, Regional Dean for South East Asia and the Middle East, has been formed to implement and drive forward the campaign, and regular meetings are held with the Principal and Heads of Schools to report progress.

Why is it required?

The campaign supports the University’s internationalisation strategy, and is considered as important in ensuring our competitiveness in an increasingly challenging global education environment.  The University was recently included in an influential Times Higher Education list of the top 40 universities in the world on the basis of international outlook, and it is essential that we continue to build on this success by enhancing our recruitment activity.

Will this change our approach to recruitment?

The processes that have been put in place to facilitate the recruitment of 500 additional international students is bringing together Schools, Student Recruitment, IT Services and External Relations, in a coherent effort to achieve this target. 

This represents a step-change in the way that the University conducts its recruitment activity, with targeted digital marketing campaigns in key markets and improvements in enquiry management processes as a central part of this effort.

While the emphasis is on the 2016 intake, we are building robust infrastructure for future recruitment activity that will ensure lasting benefits for the University.

Who is leading the campaign?

Project 500 is being led by the Principal, supported by Schools, Student Recruitment, External Relations and IT Services.  While these sections are most closely involved, there is a general expectation that all members of University staff support the aims of the project, which is seen as strategically important to the University’s continued success.

What are the timescales involved?

In the short-term Project 500 is focused on the 2016/17 intake, however as the University’s internationalisation strategy makes clear, we have a long-term commitment to grow our international student numbers in order to maintain our position as a leading global university. 

What impact will Project 500 have on my School/College?

Project 500 will have several benefits, not least the introduction of an enquiry management system that will provide a central overview of all enquiries from prospective students.  This improves on our previous approach where enquiries may have gone to several different places, with no clear oversight of how many expressions of interest the University had received.  Having a central overview will provide an enhanced level of support for schools and colleges when it comes to recruitment activity.

What does Project 500 mean for Professional Service Staff?

Depending on where you work Project 500 may have little or no impact on your day to day role, however the Principal is clear in his expectation that all staff support the aims of the project.

Project 500 has brought together expertise from across the organisation, and actions to date have included the following:

  • Academic schools have worked closely with Professional Services teams to inform Marketing activities and to enhance conversion of applicants.
  • Communications have written an email sequence targeting prospective students at various paths in the user journey.
  • Marketing have implemented solutions to track and monitor progress across campaigns, and facilitated a unique and far-reaching advertising campaign.
  • Student Recruitment have filtered and prioritised all incoming University enquiries across all platforms and implemented new communication streams which will be utilised by prospective students.
  • IT have integrated existing systems to ensure more personalised and targeted communications at various points in the user journey.

We rely on the support of the entire University community when it comes to making prospective or new students welcome, the recruitment of substantial numbers of international students will have implications for all of us, from Estates through to Student Services and Academic Affairs. 

We are all well aware that maintaining a supportive infrastructure across the University is crucial to delivering a positive student experience, and that this pays dividends in terms of future recruitment activity.

How will we be kept informed about what is happening with Project 500?

The University is committed to keeping staff up to date with developments, and in the coming weeks we will be coming to you. The project team will be hosting a series of presentations in schools,  colleges, and in Professional Services departments, where people can find out more about the project and raise any questions they have. We will also be providing updates through the University’s StaffNet Ezine.

Who should I contact for more information?

A dedicated email address - project500@abdn.ac.uk - has been created for any enquiries, and is manned by the project team.