UM System's "Advancing Missouri" campaign is going national

Thursday, May 3, 2012 | 1:00 p.m. CDT; updated 6:24 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 3, 2012

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri's "Advancing Missouri" campaign is going national.

The Association of Public Land-Grant Universities is creating a campaign called "Public Universities Advancing America" based on Advancing Missouri. It is part of an effort to explain the role public universities play in their states and as a national network of institutions.

Advancing Missouri videos

The Advancing Missouri campaign uses multimedia storytelling produced in conjunction with the Missouri School of Journalism to tell the stories of people who have been affected by the system's reach in different regions of the state.

You can watch the Advancing Missouri videos on the UM System's YouTube page at

To get the program started, the association hired Cindy Pollard, who just left her position as associate vice president of strategic communications for the UM System. 

Pollard helped create the Advancing Missouri campaign two years ago as a way to communicate the system's value and economic impact on the state in addition to its role educating students at the four UM campuses.

Based on research commissioned by then-system president Gary Forsee and work with the Missouri School of Journalism, the campaign uses multimedia storytelling to highlight people and organizations on the receiving end of the system's outreach across the state.

"The Missouri system is really the model, and, in fact, we've even borrowed their slogan," Paul Hassen, the association's vice president of pubic affairs, said of Advancing America.

The idea is to be able to tell the story of the importance of public universities and their scope as institutions in their own states as well as in the larger network of public higher education nationally, Hassen said.

With the help of Pollard, the association will literally be replicating the Advancing Missouri campaign on the national scale, he said.

Pollard has been a part of the land-grant association's strategic communications committee for nearly eight years and has presented the Advancing Missouri model at the group's national meeting last November. That's when the association took notice and began planning a similar effort.

"Our hope is that a stronger national awareness of the importance of affordable access to quality public education is the foundation of America’s economic well-being and future," UM Spokeswoman Jennifer Hollingshead said Wednesday.

In an email to colleagues on April 17, UM System President Tim Wolfe announced that Pollard would leave the system to work with the association and thanked her for her leadership on university initiatives such as Advancing Missouri.

Because of budget constraints, Wolfe also said in the email that he is eliminating Pollard's former position. Hollingshead said Pollard's salary was about $160,000 per year, plus benefits.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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