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It’s complicated: Exploring the internal land-grant brand at Oklahoma State University

King, Audrey
Settle, Quisto
Cartmell, Dwayne
Land-grant institutions (LGIs) are tasked with providing accessible education to the common man and improving their quality of life. This study examined faculty members’ interpretations of the land-grant mission and opinions about its future. The theory of branding guided this study. Faculty members are the primary deliverers university missions. Past studies have indicated some personnel are unaware of pieces of the land-grant mission. This is troublesome as a strong internal brand increases the likelihood of a positive public image. A purposive sampling method was used to recruit participants for 11 focus groups conducted in the summer of 2020. The audio was transcribed and imported into MAXQDA20 and analyzed using Glaser’s constant comparative method to identify themes, which were confirmed by assistant moderators. Participants had multiple definitions of the land-grant mission and interpreted in their work differently. There was a general state of concern for the future, but faculty members had an overall positive outlook on the land-grant mission. Faculty should view their work and behaviors as true building block of the OSU and land-grant brand. Future research should explore the internal brand at other LGIs and university staff, administration, and student perceptions should also be explored.