MANAGING INTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS
METROPOLITAN STATE COLLEGE OF DENVER
In 2002, Metropolitan State College of Denver (MSCD) lobbied to have an independent governing board. The move was taken to further differentiate and acknowledge the unique position the college held within the higher education scheme of Colorado. Its request was granted and Gov. Bill Owens appointed 11 people to serve on Metro’s Board of Trustees. Initial relations between the Board of Trustees and the college’s alumni association were strained as each struggled to establish its turf. The alumni association hired Ayers Strategic Public Relations to assist in developing messaging and methods to improve relations with the Trustees while continually underscoring with numerous audiences the value of a degree from MSCD.
The program lynchpin was message development and delivery. Development of key messages began with an in-depth meeting of leaders of the MSCD Alumni Association and its executive director. Preliminary messages were crafted by a smaller task force and those draft messages were then shared with the larger group where they were further honed. Spokesperson training, which allowed designated representative from the Alumni Association to practice delivering various messages in a variety of situations, took place during the group’s annual board retreat.
Mending relations with the Board of Trustees has involved aligning Alumni Association representatives with trustees to encourage one-on-one information exchange. More important, Ayers Strategic Public Relations has been involved in encouraging a more cooperative environment by helping the Alumni Association identify which battles to fight and which to avoid.
The relationship between the Board of Trustees and MSCD Alumni Association is improving. This has carried over into an enhanced relationship with the college itself and college leadership.