Status Quo and Development of Public Communication Efforts of Swiss Institutions of Higher Education

[German title: Hochschulkommunikation in der Schweiz: Status Quo und Entwicklung der externen, öffentlichen Hochschulkommunikation]

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are the innovation motors in our modern knowledge society. They provide a skilled workforce through teaching, generate new knowledge through scientific research and engage with societal need. Today, research universities, colleges of education and universities of applied sciences all find themselves amidst times of change. On the one hand, they are closer linked to society and confronted with stronger external demands. On the other hand, they are gaining more autonomy to address these demands independently. In this context, communication between HEIs and actors from business, politics, culture and society is key. However, very little is currently known about how and with which impact HEIs actually communicate.

The project C3H is the first Swiss study devoted to tracking and comparing nation-wide developments in the external communication of different types of HEIs. The project will not only bring valuable insights to practitioners and researchers in Switzerland, but also contribute to the rather scant international research on university communication and its effects.

The aim of the project is three-fold. The project will:

  1. Investigate the content, strategies and audiences of HEIs communication in Switzerland and the organisational structure in which it is embedded;
  2. Analyse the external perception of HEIs in Switzerland for the past 20 years;
  3. Explore the internal impact of communication of Swiss HEIs.

The project will include multiple empirical studies combining qualitative and quantitative methods such as surveys, semi-structured interviews, document analysis as well as automated and manual content analysis.

Runtime: 2019-2023

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Participants: Prof. Dr. Mike S. Schäfer (UZH, Principal Investigator), Daniel Vogler (UZH, Co-Leader), Silke Fürst (UZH, Research Assistant), Isabel Sörensen (UZH, Research Assistant and Doctoral Student)

Total Funds: 579,924 CHF