New Towson pres­i­dent seeks brand makeover

Kim Schatzel says school ex­ceeds its rep­u­ta­tion

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Tim Pru­dente

As a univer­sity pro­fes­sor, Kim Schatzel stud­ied and taught mar­ket­ing strategy.

Now, as pres­i­dent of Towson Univer­sity, she’s tak­ing on her great­est mar­ket­ing project: re­brand­ing Mary­land’s sec­ond­largest in­sti­tu­tion of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

“The re­al­ity of Towson out­strips its rep­u­ta­tion,” said Schatzel. “Peo­ple know the Towson of the last 150 years. They re­ally don’t know the 2016, con­tem­po­rary story of Towson. So that’s a huge pri­or­ity for me.”

The 60-year-old for­mer pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing ar­rived at Towson in Jan­uary. She is to be in­au­gu­rated as the univer­sity’s 14th pres­i­dent to­day.

She has hired the Columbus, Ohio, firm Olo­gie to per­form an iden­tity au­dit of Kim Schatzel wants it un­der­stood that Towson is not just a teach­ers col­lege. Towson.

The in­sti­tu­tion be­gan as a state teach­ers col­lege 150 years ago — and is still known for turn­ing out ed­u­ca­tors. But it has grown to 23,000 stu­dents in seven col­leges, pur­su­ing bach­e­lor’s, master’s and doc­toral de­grees.

Towson pro­duces more health pro­fes­sion­als than any other univer­sity in Mary­land. “We haven’t been ef­fec­tive, and we haven’t em­pha­sized the telling of the story,” Schatzel said.

Her own story begins in the late 1970s at the for­mer Ford Mo­tor Co. as­sem­bly plant in Edi­son, N.J. She was the first woman in her fam­ily to grad­u­ate from col­lege — Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in St. Louis — and the plant’s first fe­male fore­man.

“The very first day, my boss told me that it was un­nat­u­ral for meto be in man­u­fac­tur­ing — he used the phrase ‘un­nat­u­ral’ — and that I was tak­ing a job from a man who needed it to sup­port his fam­ily.”

She worked next at au­to­mo­tive-parts sup­plier BorgWarner Inc. in Michi­gan. When BorgWarner and Chrysler Corp. sold their pow­dered-metal com­pa­nies in the 1980s, she found in­vestors, merged the com­pa­nies into ICM/Kreb­soge and man­u­fac­tured fur­nace-hard­ened car parts.

With Schatzel as CEO, she said, the com­pany grew into the largest pow­dered­metal man­u­fac­turer in the coun­try.

Schatzel stepped down af­ter five years and the birth of her sec­ond child. She then flew around the coun­try tour­ing doc­toral pro­grams, and set­tled on Michi­gan State Univer­sity. She spent her next years in Michi­gan ris­ing from mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan-Dear­born to dean, even­tu­ally be­com­ing provost and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at Eastern Michi­gan Univer­sity.

“She’s just a very tal­ented woman,” said Daniel Lit­tle, chan­cel­lor at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan-Dear­born, where she worked as a pro­fes­sor and dean. “She un­der­stands the lead­er­ship of a univer­sity is partly about the man­age­ment of the univer­sity and also de­vel­op­ing great re­la­tion­ships with the com­mu­nity.”

Eastern Michi­gan Univer­sity is about the same size as Towson and was also founded as a teach­ers col­lege. Eastern Michi­gan spokesman Ge­off Lar­com said Schatzel “dis­tin­guished her­self as a very strong leader” there.

The Univer­sity Sys­tem of Mary­land Board of Re­gents named her pres­i­dent of the univer­sity in De­cem­ber.

“She’s a gem,” said David Nevins, a 1976 Towson grad­u­ate who served more than a decade as a re­gent. “The board found Towson Univer­sity Pres­i­dent Kim Schatzel, pic­tured at the SECU Arena dur­ing a re­hearsal for to­day’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, is also pic­tured in the photo in the back­ground along with the Towson Tiger and Dr. Robert L. Caret, the Chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity Sys­tem of Mary­land. some­body who is a won­der­ful blend of both non-tra­di­tional and tra­di­tional.”

Schatzel now lives three miles from cam­pus in Rux­ton with her hus­band, who works in mar­ket­ing. Her adult son also works in mar­ket­ing.

Her daugh­ter is the only one who’s not in the fam­ily busi­ness — she’s an econ­o­mist. “We’re work­ing on her,” Schatzel said. Schatzel uses phrases such as “value propo­si­tion” and “tal­ent-pool providers” when she dis­cusses Towson.

“She’s very busi­nesslike,” said Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil­man David Marks, who rep­re­sents Towson. “Her meet­ings are very fo­cused. … She’s very ef­fi­cient.”

In evenings, she prefers to walk past the in­tra­mu­ral sports fields and watch games.

“She was tak­ing self­ies with the stu­dents,” said Mak­ensey Schuchart, a sopho­more from York, Pa.

Schatzel is the fifth woman to lead Towson. First was Sarah Rich­mond, who served from 1909 to 1917, be­fore women could vote. The most re­cent was Mar­avene Loeschke, a beloved drama teacher and ad­min­is­tra­tor of 30 years, who died in June 2015 from can­cer.

“There’s a legacy of women in this role. ... It’s very cool,” Schatzel said. “This will be, as far as I can re­call, the first time I will not have been the first woman.”

Schatzel’s an­nual salary is $373,613 a year. She also gets a $35,000 an­nual hous­ing al­lowance and $12,500 ve­hi­cle al­lowance.

Towson’s growth has at times caused ten­sions with its neigh­bors, who have com­plained of park­ing prob­lems, rowdy stu­dents and bright lights.

Schatzel said she has at­tended neigh­bor­hood as­so­ci­a­tion meet­ings to im­prove re­la­tions be­tween the univer­sity and res­i­dents. She said she plans to strengthen part­ner­ships with lo­cal busi­nesses.

Com­mu­nity re­la­tions aside, Schatzel plans to de­vote at­ten­tion to el­e­vat­ing the univer­sity’s brand.

“Towson needs bet­ter mar­ket­ing,” said Nevins, the for­mer re­gent. “Towson, at its core, is a much finer in­sti­tu­tion than its rep­u­ta­tion.”

The univer­sity’s rep­u­ta­tion of af­ford­abil­ity and prox­im­ity drew stu­dents such as Naomi Nyarkoh, who was loung­ing in Free­dom Square on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“The tu­ition is a lit­tle cheaper than the Univer­sity of Mary­land,” said Nyarkoh, a 34-year-old nurs­ing stu­dent from Ghana. “I could save $60 a class.”

Jas­mine Nganje, a ju­nior from Prince Ge­orge’s County, said the school “was close enough where I could go home, but far enough where my mom wasn’t com­ing to see me ev­ery week­end.”

Schatzel sees the fact that Towson grad­u­ates more health care pro­fes­sion­als than any other Mary­land univer­sity as an op­por­tu­nity for brand­ing that can el­e­vate the univer­sity’s rep­u­ta­tion.

“That’s go­ing to at­tract and re­tain great fac­ulty, get the great stu­dents and have leg­is­la­tors con­sider us” for fund­ing, she said.

“There’s so much la­tent po­ten­tial.”

ALGERINA PERNA/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

ALGERINA PERNA/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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