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In an article in the current Wilson Quarterly the author refers to London’s University College. This formulation is perhaps a symptom of the branding problem that University College London faces and is trying to overcome. The topic is discussed by John Sutherland in the Guardian. And it is interesting to see UCL badge itself London’s Global University on its newly presented web page.
There is also an interesting article in the NYT talking about the competetiveness of higher education in the US and noting how branding changes have improved the situation for some colleges (To woo Students, colleges choose names that sell, Aug 11). It dwells on current initiatives at the New School University to be known as The New School.
The interesting thing is that these intiatives do seem to improve things. The NYT article reports how name changes improved the image of several institutions. I remember reading a while ago how the rebranding exercise at the University of Sussex was also seen to improve application rates (I cannot track down where I saw this).
It seems clear that branding has an influence on standing.