By Graeme Smith
Ian Marlatt’s job is simple but enormous.
As Ryerson’s director of communications, Marlatt has to heal the black eye this school is dealt every year in the pages of Maclean’s.
He has to make Maclean’s two million readers see past the dismal rating slapped on Ryerson in the magazine’s university rankings. This year’s version hits newsstands Monday.
“We want to make sure that they [readers] have every opportunity to see the whole picture,” said Marlatt.
To ensure readers see that “whole picture,” Ryerson is negotiating a price for a full-page advertisement in the rankings issue of Maclean’s.
The upcoming ad is part of a public relations effort announced by Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse in a speech Oct. 7. Lajeunesse declared Ryerson’s “image and profile” one of the five key areas for improvement.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work letting people know about the great things that go on at this place,” said Marlatt, who noted that although Maclean’s ranked Ryerson the worst undergraduate university last year, Ryerson did well in the “reputation” categories.
Marlatt also questioned the Maclean’s ranking system. Many programs are better taught by professionals than professors with doctorates, he said, but Ryerson loses points for having fewer staff with PhDs.
Bob Crowe, executive director of University Advancement, shared MArlatt’s scorn for Maclean’s methodology, saying the magazine won’t accept official figures for things like full-time enrolment. “Maclean’s doesn’t want the same numbers we give the government,” he said.
Despite the current battle, Marlatt said the war for Rye High’s rep is ongoing. “You can’t just send a press release or an ad. Reputations are built over the long haul.”