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Insights

In September 2018, President Steven Murphy announced the university would test usage of ‘ONTechU’. Since this announcement, the university received feedback through online forms, social media engagement, and town hall sessions (these sessions included both students and faculty/staff).

View the campus community consultation videos

Key insights from October and November 2018 consultations:

  • Clarity of scope

    Many were confused about what would emerge from this re-brand process:

    • Are we changing the university’s name?
    • Are we adding a new term to add to the clutter of names we use?
    • Is this meant to be a new name or just a social media hashtag?
    • How will we refer to the university going forward?
  • Difficulties associated with change
    Some stakeholders simply felt we needed to give ourselves more time for people to know the university and its existing name; they felt connected with our current identity. At the same time, many also recognized that even after 16 years and several efforts to improve our brand, things were not getting easier or improving.
  • Divergent views on preferred brand names
    Shortening our handle to ‘ONTechU’ was clearly the least popular option. ‘Ontario Tech’ was identified as a possibility, as it is consistent with how other technology-focused universities brand themselves internationally, but there was concern that it may not gain respect if it does not clearly position us as a university. It is worth noting that when our Ridgebacks varsity athletic teams compete outside Ontario, those other universities often refer to us as ‘Ontario Tech.’ Some stakeholders suggested shortening our name to ‘University of Ontario’ or ‘Ontario Institute of Technology;” however, the former lacks differentiation and the latter still creates a problematic acronym (OIT). While stakeholders seemed quite divided, most recognized the challenges associated with the university’s name, and the value of improving our brand.
  • Implementation challenges
    Since our brand appears on promotional materials, building signage and other places on campus, some stakeholders were concerned about our ability to transition to a more cohesive brand identity. This change will undoubtedly take time and investment. At the same time, there are many outdated and temporary applications of our brand that can be updated as part of the transition – for example, many buildings currently have confusing signage with outdated names/logos.
  • Rise of ‘technology-focused’ universities
    Technology universities are increasingly ranked among the top institutions globally. Well-known schools such as VirginiaTech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), CalTech (California Institute of Technology), and Texas Tech (Texas Tech University) use the ‘Tech’ moniker quite successfully, although this is a lesser-known approach to-date in Canada.