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ERCO - What does it do?

External Relations and Communications Office (ERCO)
What does it do?
The External Relations and Communications Office (ERCO) is one of the central administration units. As the name implies, ERCO is mainly responsible for communicating, developing and maintaining relationship with wide range of external partners, including governments, international development agencies, intergovernmental organizations, academic and research institutions, alumni, foundations and private sector / industries. Another main responsibility of ERCO is media and public relations cum promotions. Additionally, ERCO has been developing an information repository for internal use, and it has been providing visa/customs services, graphics and photo services, and other services.
In view of the expanding number of target countries for student recruitment, and the desire to partner with more partners in addition to the existing ones, ERCO faces a challenge in its work, especially when tangible results are not seen. It may be noted that in search of new partnerships, only a few may end up in fruitful partnerships, but to get those few and maintain relationship with partners on board, we have to explore a lot and spend lots of energy and time. Within the limited resources available, ERCO is trying its best in performing the following functions, which may be divided into four parts. The list below is not necessarily an exhaustive one.
  1. Development of partner relations and its management:
  • Development and coordination of proposals, MoUs, MoAs and negotiation with partners for scholarships and fellowships, faculty secondment, endowment fund, research sponsorship, student exchange & dual degree programs, internships, etc.; involves providing feedback on each MoU / MoA the President signs it.
  • Arranging MoU/MoA signing ceremonies at AIT and sometimes at partner’s place.
  • Coordination and compilation of technical and financial reports for sponsoring partners based on agreements.
  • Prepare programs in consultation with internal units, and receive visitors from partners; including evaluation missions, and annual consultative meeting participants from partners.
  • Prepare programs for AIT delegations to visit partners.
  • Maintaining alumni relations; maintaining online alumni directory; joint activities with AITAA involving alumni. [through Alumni Relations Unit – ARU under ERCO]
  • Communicating with partners/dignitaries invited to Graduation Ceremonies, and receiving them.
  • Liaising and communicating with existing and prospective partners; this involves internal/external information search, and internal liaison and communication with FoS/Schools/AIT Extension/Centers/Admin. units.
  1. Media, Public Relations and Promotional Activities:
  • Regular communications/coordination with Schools/AIT Extension regarding promotional activities
  • Promote the AIT brand through consistency in the use of standard logo, promotional materials, letterheads, name cards, etc.
  • Institute’s image building – Newspaper, radio, TV and website advertisements, Advertorials (news articles based on AIT research outputs), TV interviews for President and others, Press Releases, AIT website development and maintenance (with technical assistance from ITServ).
  • Organization of AIT promotional trips and AIT Day Seminars in coordination with AIT Administration, Schools, AIT Extension, and AIT Centers with the view of attracting self-paying and sponsored students.
  • Preparing, printing and distributing AIT promotions materials, such as brochures and posters to partners.
  • Dissemination of information on AIT academic and research activities of Schools/AIT Extension/AIT Satellite Centers/Outreach Centers through various means.
  • Preparing and updating power point presentations targeting prospective students, government agencies & donor partners, and universities/research institutions.
  • Preparing and updating AIT video presentations.
  • Compiling and publishing the AIT Annual Report.
  • Very selective participation in International Education Fairs and Exhibition.
  1. Development and maintenance of an Online Information Repository [http://erco.ait.ac.th]
  • Gathering and Compilation of internal information and storage in the repository (e.g., Strategic Development Plan; Ongoing MoUs and MoAs; Minutes/Notes of meetings with partners; Partnership Evaluation Reports; Reports to Partners based on agreements; Proceedings of meetings with visitors/partners; etc.).
  • Market intelligence gathering through various means, and storage in the repository.
  • Provide an online platform for internal information exchange within ERCO staff.
  1. Support services
  • Thai Permit of Stay, Entry/Re-Entry Visa, customs clearance, car registration, driving license services for faculty / staff / students and their dependents; visas for official travels of faculty / staff / students to various countries. [through Government Relations Unit – GRU under ERCO]
  • Graphics services (for brochures, posters, leaflets, etc.); Photo services; Media services (link to newspapers, TV, radio, etc.) [through the Promotional Support Services Unit – MCU under ERCO]
  • Organizing various internal task force meetings (such as Pakistan task force; China task force; India task force; Outsourcing task force;  etc.), where ERCO staff prepare the summary notes / minutes of the meetings and follow up on suggested actions.
  • Administering endowment funds (such as the Japanese and Korean endowment funds).
  • Serving in various internal committees, such as Admission Committee, Scholarship Committee, etc.
  • SCIB-AIT Visa Platinum Card promotion and application facilitation.
  • Supporting the President and VPs in their external correspondence; developing various concepts papers; and developing MoU/MoA templates.
  • Organization of workshops and conferences, such as the “Doing Business in Africa” workshop; MDG Roundtable; etc.