FAQ | Name Change and Rebrand Initiative

The cabinet announced on October 17, 2023, that we will transition in name from Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA and AG IDEA) to Innovative Digital Education Alliance (IDEA).

For the time being, the alliance will still operate under the name Great Plains IDEA and/or AG IDEA. We anticipate that this process will last through the 2024 spring semester as we work on all of the exciting changes that come with updating our brand. The management team will provide regular updates through the monthly newsletter, Alliance Insider.

This FAQ provides additional information about the process and timeline. Don't see what you're looking for? Contact Interim Executive Director Morgan Jones.

  • How will this change to our name benefit the alliance?
    • The consolidation into one name, IDEA, will simplify internal and external communications while keeping us connected to our roots. After all, our motto for more than 20 years has been “All for one and one for all.”

    • The goal of this initiative is to elevate the competitive advantages of the alliance in order to stay competitive. When prospective students, university partners, and search engines better understand our purpose through our name, our potential for growth will expand.

    • The change to our name will increase the connectedness students, faculty, and staff feel to the alliance and therefore create a greater sense of belonging on a more personal level. This was an area of opportunity uncovered by our experience survey in the fall of 2022.

  • Who made the final decision on the name change?

    As the governing body, the cabinet had the final say on the change to our name. There were several opportunities for members of the alliance to provide input through surveys and focus groups. The cabinet made the final decision after considering survey results, stakeholder feedback, and recommendations from both academic boards.

  • Whose idea was it to explore a new name?

    For several years, alliance faculty and staff have reported fielding questions about confusion in our name from colleagues, conference planners, associations, regents, and prospective students. Further, some alliance members feel the name hampers their ability to recruit across the United States. The cabinet reflects the alliance’s innovative, inclusive, and flexible values by exploring the possibilities.

  • How long has this been in the works?
    • The cabinet started discussions of a potential name change in October 2022.
    • They first tasked the management team to research the benefits and risks of a name change, learn about companies and organizations who have successfully navigated a name change, create a budget that ensures this initiative is fully funded, and create a timeline outlining every step of the way. All three governing bodies (the cabinet, Human Sciences Board, and AG Board) were presented with this research and the cabinet voted to proceed with exploring a new name at their March 23, 2023, meeting.
    • The cabinet announced the initiative during the 2023 annual conference in Kansas City, and that very afternoon it was also announced in the Alliance Insider, our monthly newsletter for faculty and staff, and through an email sent to active students.
  • Why doesn’t the name reflect my specific discipline?
    • The boards of directors for both agriculture and human sciences have agreed to move under one name that is inclusive of multiple disciplines.
    • With just one name, the alliance can focus time and resources on creating awareness for one galvanizing brand.
  • What’s wrong with the name we had before?
    • Great Plains IDEA and AG IDEA were good names and served us well for 23 years. But our alliance has grown in that time and not all members (universities and people) see themselves in the name “Great Plains.” It’s important that the alliance be inclusive so that all members are reflected independent of geography. After all, our mission is to serve learners no matter where they are.
    • Some believe “distance education” is outdated and a more modern name could provide further reach.
  • Are there negative effects to changing our name?

    There are. The management team’s research uncovered a handful of items that require consideration; however, they believe the challenges identified can be counteracted with thoughtful planning. For example, a name change would perpetuate a loss in search engine rankings, therefore the budget proposed to the cabinet includes a line for search engine marketing to help regain any lost ground.

  • How long will this initiative take?

    There are four phases to this initiative:

    • exploring and choosing a new name,
    • developing a new or refreshed logo,
    • rebranding collateral, and
    • raising awareness.

    Throughout all of these phases, the management team will be communicating (psst: be reading the Alliance Insider!), as well as gathering input from faculty, staff, and students. We are currently on track with our timeline and, assuming no delays or hiccups, the formal launch of the name change with a new brand will take place at the 2024 Annual Conference.

  • Where is the money for this initiative coming from?

    The cabinet has its own budget and is using those funds to pay for this initiative.

  • How will this affect contracts already signed by Great Plains IDEA?

    Some contracts may require an addendum addressing the new name. The management team has and will continue to rely on advice from General Counsel.

  • Will the alliance also get a new brand?

    Yes! The budget for this initiative includes bringing in a marketing firm to create a new or refreshed brand that elevates our name change. The timeline and budget account for banners, flyers, and other branded items that will be updated or created.

  • How will we tell the world about our name change and new brand?
    • The cabinet has approved a budget to support two marketing campaigns that will take place immediately following the launch of the new name and brand. This includes search engine marketing and LinkedIn marketing that will raise awareness for the alliance as a whole (not program-specific marketing). The budget also provides for hiring a marketing firm to oversee these campaigns and work with the management team.
    • During the summer of 2024, the management team will focus on updating the YouTube Channel and existing testimonials, while also recording and adding new testimonials that highlight the new name.
  • How will this affect the www.gpidea.org website?
    • The current website has been in existence for seven years and the industry standard is to refresh websites every five to seven years. So, it’s time for a website overhaul.
    • The management team will begin working with web developers during the fall semester. When the new website is ready to go live (spring 2024), users will automatically be routed to the new site.
  • When do we update our program webpages with the new name?

    The change in our name from Great Plains IDEA and AG IDEA to the singular and simplified name of IDEA was announced in October 2023; however, the formal launch of the new name and brand will take place at the 2024 annual conference. Once the new brand and name are rolled out at the 2024 conference, resources will be shared widely to assist all stakeholders in making this exciting transition.

  • When will we have new flyers to hand out at events?

    Updated recruitment flyers with the new brand will become available to programs following the 2024 Annual Conference. All current presentation materials, recruitment and marketing materials, and course syllabi should continue to be utilized until our new branding elements and resources are rolled out in April.

  • We just bought some swag or designed banners for our program. Should we still use it?

    Yes! Until the 2024 annual conference, the alliance will continue to operate under the original names of Great Plains IDEA and AG IDEA. We will start to phase those items out after the 2024 spring semester.

  • I’m presenting at a conference soon, how do I talk about our old and new name?

    Until the 2024 annual conference, the alliance will continue to operate under the original names of Great Plains IDEA and AG IDEA. All current presentation materials, recruitment and marketing materials, and course syllabi should continue to be utilized until our new branding elements and resources are rolled out in April.

  • What is being communicated to students about this change/new name?

    An email was sent to all active agriculture and human sciences students in October 2023 announcing the change to our name and reassuring them that this will in no way change their status, degree program, or affect their graduation.

  • As a student, will this have any effect on my degree progress?

    No. Students earn their degrees from their home university. The alliance is the mechanism through which member universities share grades, collaborate on curriculum, and determine course rotations, among other things. The change in name and branding will not affect student plans of study, the degree-granting processes at universities, or past degrees.

  • What if I don't see my question here?

    You probably are not the only person who has that question! Please email Interim Executive Director Morgan Jones to share your question. She will work with the cabinet and management team to continue building out this FAQ.