Bard MAT Los Angeles

Digital outreach and recruitment strategy for Bard College Masters of Arts in Teaching graduate program.


Client: Bard College, Masters of Arts in Teaching Program, Los Angeles, CA


Developed a digital outreach and recruitment strategy as part of a larger sustainability plan for the Bard MAT graduate program, including: email campaign strategy, social media strategy, visual design for promotional materials, and digital literacy training for faculty and staff.

Recruitment strategy goals:

  1. Achieve target number of total applicants before the deadline.
  2. Increase number of qualified in-state applicants.


Digital Strategist, Visual Communication Strategist, Consultant

Core outreach team comprised of one other person responsible for local outreach strategy and developing partnership opportunities with local schools, community organizations, after school programs, and other local education nonprofits. Worked closely with faculty and staff.



Conducted an audit of their website, current email campaigns, copy, and other digital assets.

Discovered weak call-to-actions on site, no coordination or tracking of individual staff emails, poor email design and copy (e.g. super long form, small font, no clear call-to-action), and no segmentation of newsletter signups.

Communications Strategy

Goal: Achieve target number of total applicants before the deadline.

Created email templates for faculty and staff, and trained them on email design, functionality, deliverability, and writing effective copy for their primary target audience of college students interested in progressive politics and education.

Taught faculty and staff how to setup a content calendar and use simple tools, such as browser extensions, to monitor open rates and click-through rates.

Together, we designed and coordinated the final two months of campaign emails.

Local Outreach Strategy

Goal: Increase number of qualified in-state applicants.

Identified four new groups of potential applicants that were not being targeted before this campaign: 1. ethnic studies departments, 2. student run organizations, 3. after school programs, and 4. community-based organizations in Los Angeles.

Subsequent local outreach efforts focused on building relationships and rapport with these groups. This included updating flyers and posters with highly targeted messaging relevant to each group.

e.g. Messaging for local orgs and schools:

Do you have experience working with adolescent learners in schools, after-school programs, or community organizations?

e.g. Messaging for college campuses:

Do you have a background in Ethnic Studies or related fields? Do you want to see this new graduation requirement emerge as an educational space for open inquiry in history, literature, the arts and humanities?

Roadmap and Long-term Strategy

Co-created a roadmap with steps for developing a long-term email marketing strategy, improving website SEO and performance, nurturing relationships with local partners, and fine-tuning social media efforts to facilitate community-building.

Recruitment Channels

Recommendation: Run tests on different recruitment channels (e.g. LinkedIn, “virtual” grad fairs, job boards, academic forums). Tests would help determine call-to-actions, design and layout for a particular channel, schedule and frequency of postings, and budget according to ROI.

Digital Community Building

Recommendation: Reach out to online communities, such as the Young Teacher Collective, 4Humanities Collective, and other online movements/collectives focused on education. By building mutually beneficial relationships and amplifying these partner’s efforts, Bard MAT would gain access to a much larger pool of highly relevant audience members (i.e. potential applicants).



Bard MAT logo v Los Angeles skyline

Newsletter signup modal, design and copy

Highly Targeted Copywriting

Website banner copy:

Bard MAT Los Angeles is now accepting application for the 2015-2016 academic year. Program participants receive generous financial support, earn and masters degree, and a California teaching credential in Language Arts or History. Join a small cohort of daring, creative, and collaborative young educators who want to help rethink the teaching profession.

Email subject (highest performing in tests):

Earn a Teaching Credential and Master's Degree in One Year

Old email copy (opening):

We are responding to immediate needs in our community. In the next few weeks we will finalize selection of a small community of dedicated, diverse, and knowledgable educators who want to make a difference. To this end, Bard MAT makes every effort to offer generous financial aid to applicants who can help this community flourish.

New email copy (opening):

Are you a recent college graduate who is interested in rethinking the teaching profession in a diverse, vibrant central Los Angeles community? Our immersive one-year teaching residency and graduate program through Bard College MAT at Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) offers a community-based, content-focused, career-oriented alternative to Teach for America.

Email close, before CTA:

Join a small cohort of daring, creative, and collaborative young educators who want to help rethink the teaching profession. Earn a teaching credential and master's degree in one year.



Increased number of qualified in-state applicants.

Achieved desired number of total applicants.

Achieved 44% email open rate during final month of campaign.

Achieved 10.1% click through rate on opened emails during final month of campaign.