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The Scarlet & Black

Patti Crane: institutional identity

Patti Crane, Founder and CEO of Crane MetaMarketing, returned to Grinnell this week to share her initial observations about Grinnell with Trustees and the administration as part of the College’s institutional identity project.

While Crane’s findings will not be made public until next week, her meetings were intended to answer questions from Trustees, and to discuss with President Raynard Kington and a number of senior VPs the best way to share the information with the wider Grinnell community.

Crane also met with Admission and Communications staff “to do some collaborative team-building and prepare for our big work ahead, once the identity is brought forward,” according to an email from Vice President for Communications Jim Reische to the S&B.

Crane MetaMarketing was chosen last year to assess what makes Grinnell unique, in order for the College to better market itself to prospective students. While on campus in October, the firm conducted interviews with diverse groups of students and faculty in order to get a wide range of perspectives about the College.

Next week, Crane and her team will return to campus to share her observations with the entire student body in the form of two open sessions in Harris Cinema at noon on Thursday, Mar. 6 and Friday, Mar. 7. Lunch will be provided at both sessions.

Reische stressed that the process of determining Grinnell’s institutional identity is still ongoing.

“We haven’t yet got to the point of having findings on institutional identity,” he wrote. “What we have are her observations about what Grinnell is like right now, including our strengths and weaknesses and how they came to be, based on what they learned from their interviews and research.”

Next week at the open sessions, Reische said Crane and her firm would present two documents: their “Review & Reflection Paper” summarizing Crane’s findings thus far, and their “Promise Statement.”

“This is the document that will deeply influence [and] shape the eventual outcome of our institutional identity work,” he wrote.

He added that student feedback at the sessions next week will also be important in guiding the next phase of Crane’s work.

“One of the reasons the committee of staff, faculty and students chose Crane was because of their highly iterative process, which we felt was right for Grinnell,” Reische wrote. “This includes the chance for her to present her observations at every step and get feedback that will then inform the firm’s next steps.”

In addition to student feedback, Reische emphasized the importance of having the entire Grinnell community involved in determining the College’s identity.

“It’s vitally important to the success of this project that faculty and our whole community take the time to understand and reflect on Crane’s observations,” Reische wrote. “Anyone who cares about the work and wants to have a voice in shaping it should come.”

Anyone with questions, feedback or concerns can email [communications].

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