How Clients Use Campus Sonar Strategic Partnerships: Capacity Building

Community colleges in the United States have long been underfunded and understaffed. That hasn’t stopped them from serving as a vital resource to their local communities while educating a student body more diverse than many four-year campuses can claim. 

At John Tyler Community College (Tyler), one of the largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia, that’s certainly the case. Tyler served more than 13,600 students during the 2019–20 academic year. With guaranteed admissions agreements with more than 35 four-year colleges and universities, more than 75 in-demand career and technical programs, and transfer degree programs including freshman- and sophomore-level classes that transfer into bachelor degree programs, Tyler is a springboard of education and economic mobility. 

Impressively, Tyler accomplishes all this with teams that run lean. Its in-house Creative Services and Public Relations teams, which collectively handle everything from media requests and print publications, to web and social content, to videography and photography, is an economical dream team of seven. 

Tyler’s Need and Pain Point

With a wide range of daily activities taking place within the Tyler ecosystem but no longer on campus, and few in-house resources at their disposal, the team at John Tyler Community College knew they needed external support to keep their finger on the pulse of campus news, events, and the student experience. And with a college renaming on the horizon, they wanted to ensure offline decisions could be backed up with online data. 

The Results

Weekly and monthly reports from Tyler’s Sonarian Strategist keep their team abreast of conversation trends on their campus, as well as the programs, events, or news outlets driving online conversation.

 Tyler’s reports were designed with their team needs in mind. They receive a blend of high-level trends with in-depth information, such as links to particularly influential or actionable earned conversation. Charts accompanied by short, accessible context give them an at-a-glance view at their overall conversation, providing the insight they need when making offline decisions. In-depth reporting surfaces news articles that mention students or alumni—like one alum who started working a summer job at a carwash while attending Tyler, and ultimately ended up owning the business—or first-person mentions on social or forums from students that warrant monitoring or response. These links ensure the team at Tyler never misses an engagement or customer service opportunity while juggling a laundry list of responsibilities.

Resources, financial and human, are not equally dispersed within higher education. But campuses of every size and type are hives of activity, filled with on-campus and virtual events, student questions, and alumni accomplishments. For lean teams, the challenge of keeping up with that activity, nevermind analyzing it at scale, is formidable. Campus Sonar can help.


We’re going to continue featuring stories of ways campuses use our Strategic Partnership service.

If these use cases resonate with your campus needs, learn more from our service sheet or set up a time to chat with Steve—he knows about a lot more than donuts.