Dorothy Durkin was Associate Dean at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS). She was widely respected throughout the field for her effective leadership in academic programming, career services, student services, research, and new product development. Within the continuing education (CE) community, she established performance metrics in new market penetration, retention levels, and customer profitability. With oversight of several noncredit programmatic areas at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS), Durkin demonstrated a keen ability to expand into new markets, establish strategic alliances, and bring cross-departmental collaborations to fruition. Durkin was known as a collaborative partner with New York University (NYU) leaders and advocated for expanding collaboration across schools; thus, she frequently served on University committees and task forces.
Since taking the helm of the Office of Strategic Development and Marketing at NYU-SCPS, Durkin created and oversaw strategic initiatives using data analytics, market research, and Learner Relationship Management (LRM) processes to drive growth and retention and to promote student loyalty. In leading the strategic marketing and communications efforts for credit and noncredit programs at SCPS, Durkin was an advocate for a learner-centric focus within organizations. She employed the use of research, intelligence gathering, and sensemaking techniques to understand competitive forces, forged alliances inside and outside of the institution, and established alternative approaches for reaching dominant markets. During her 30-plus years as chief marketing strategist, the School’s enrollment quadrupled and income grew significantly.
Durkin was considered a visionary with a keen sense for future trends, emerging markets, and innovative formats. She was a nationally respected speaker who frequently addresses new ways to solve marketing challenges and attract new students using market research, integrated marketing, trends analysis, LRM, and sensemaking tools.
Durkin served on the boards of many national organizations and recently was on the advisory board of InsideTrack. She was a very active member of University Professional Continuing and Education Association (UPCEA) serving on the organization’s Board of Directors and as Commissioner for Futures and Markets. She received the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Walton S. Bittner citation for Outstanding Service to UCEA. She also received multiple awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the John Caples Direct Marketing Award, and annual awards from the Admissions Marketing Report.
Durkin was often tapped by the news media for her expertise in marketing continuing education. Her writing appeared in several books and publications, including a 2009 version of Marketing Continuing Education, which she authored to offer insight into how to use strategic marketing to better connect with learners.
Members of the higher and continuing education mourned the loss of their beloved pioneer and trendsetter when Durkin died suddenly of cardiac arrest on August 15, 2011. UPCEA vows to continue Durkin’s legacy through the establishment of a national memorial award in her name. Its first recipient will be honored at the 2013 national conference.
- Women in Communications Inc. (WICI)