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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee will hire a marketing and communications firm to help position it as a global research and teaching institution, President John W. Shumaker said Thursday.

Educational Marketing Group of Aurora, Colo., will spend the next few months working with UT officials on a situational analysis and marketing positioning and planning.

“To attract the support to become a major research and teaching institution, we must have greater state and private support,” Shumaker said. “To do that we must have a clear message.

“This small investment will pay handsomely in recruiting high ability students, building our endowment and increasing research funding.”

In e-mail messages to UT faculty, students and staff statewide, Shumaker said “broad-based participation will be critical in developing strategies to help UT communicate a clear, consistent message.”

A campus forum for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in the University Center. Similar sessions will be held at other UT campuses.

EMG has worked with several major colleges and universities, including Washington State University and the University of Wyoming, both land grant institutions like UT.

In its proposal to UT, EMG said its primary objective will be to “create a unique and compelling brand identity that increases the number of students, parents, alumni, donors, business leaders and influencers who are motivated to become partners in the University of Tennessee’s educational mission.”

The analytical and marketing planning work is expected to be completed by Feb. 1, 2003. Once this effort is completed, Shumaker said Tennessee firms would be invited to help with implementation.