Exhibition at the Minderbroedersberg 4-6
This exhibition provides an overview of the advertisements designed in the years 1986 –1993 to recruit students for MaastrichtUniversity. These advertisements were part of a larger scheme. MaastrichtUniversity (then called StateUniversity Limburg) was the first public university in the Netherlands that began to recruit students from the perspective of marketing communication. The university launched a broad campaign, combining advertising with an active effort of providing information and actual assistance to prospective students and others potentially interested in a university education.
The campaign was initiated in the course of the 1980s, a period of economic downturn and major government cutbacks, including in higher education. Coincidentally, one way to cover all nationwide cutbacks in higher education was to close down MaastrichtUniversity again, which at that point was still in its infancy. This option was perceived as a threat, of course, and it gave rise to an extra effort on the part of the university administration in Maastricht to secure the university’s further growth. Earlier, the government had set the university’s viability at a student population of 6000, a number that Maastricht had not yet reached. The administration therefore deployed all means to raise the university’s number of students, including marketing communication. This was a remarkable development – one completely new to the Dutch academic world.
At the time, the most suitable media for such campaign were nationwide newspapers, radio and TV. The campaign emphasized that MaastrichtUniversity was different and interesting for its Problem Based Learning methodology, an approach that would also be useful to students in their later professional careers. For prospective students with more questions, ample facilities were put in place to gain additional information. Such proactive recruitment strategy was far from common at the time. Many academic insiders even felt it to be inappropriate.