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Creating First Impressions: Problems with Diversity and Inclusivity in Higher Education Marketing Materials

This study utilized visual content analysis to examine the impressions being communicated to prospective
students through the marketing materials developed by Canadian institutions of higher education for promotion and recruitment. The goal of the study was to examine the images, symbols, and narratives that are used by higher education institutions to market their programs and university life. The results demonstrate that many marketing materials fail to equally represent specific groups of students, including students with different skin colors, Indigenous students, female-presenting students, and students with visible and invisible disabilities. Implications for higher education institutions and the development of marketing materials that represent diverse student bodies are discussed.

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