RW Jones Agency and Rankin acquisition

Rankin’s focus on campus climate strengthens portfolio of longtime higher education group.

The RW Jones Agency, a longtime national leader in strategic communications for higher education, announced today its acquisition of Rankin & Associates Consulting, a nationally recognized advisor on issues of campus climate and culture. 

Founded by Dr. Sue Rankin and based in central Pennsylvania, Rankin & Associates will become Rankin Climate later this year and will join the privately held RW Jones Network of specialized education consulting firms. The RW Jones Network, which includes the RW Jones Agency, is a collection of focused consulting firms helping education leaders address the most pressing and critical issues in a way that is authentic and rooted in the ethos of the individual campus or organization. 

“Understanding campus climate is a central pillar of helping colleges and universities make meaningful, lasting changes that improve their communities,” said Sean Rossall, CEO and managing partner at RW Jones. “Sue and her entire team have an enviable track record of empowering institutions to maximize equity, building inclusive communities that are essential to higher education. We’re thrilled to welcome them as colleagues and to partner in our shared, mission-driven work.”

The Rankin group’s emphasis on social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion assessment, planning, and accountability dovetails with the agency’s ethos-driven approach to higher education, said Scott Willyerd, RW Jones president and managing partner.

“Sue and her team have set the standard for measurable action plans that drive inclusive change on campus,” Willyerd said. “Rankin is unmatched in setting groundwork for climate and culture that are true to an organization’s values.”

Rankin, who retired from Penn State University in 2013 as an associate professor of education and associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, has published widely on the intersections of identities and the impact of sexism, genderism, racism, and heterosexism in the academy and in intercollegiate athletics. Rankin & Associates has collaborated with more than 200 higher education institutions on campus climate assessments and strategic plans with a specific focus on social justice.

“Fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus for students, faculty, and staff means asking honest questions, employing research-based methodology, and engaging the entire campus community,” Rankin said. “The better we do our work, the better schools are equipped to help all students, faculty, and staff fulfill their highest potential. Partnering with RW Jones will have a force-multiplier effect: We’ll build on each other’s insights and successes to better serve the campuses who engage with us.”

Over the next six months, Rankin & Associates will formally rebrand as Rankin Climate. The new identity will further reflect the firm’s commitment to climate assessment, as well as additional analytical resources it provides to clients.

Dozens of professionals work in the Rankin consultancy, which she started in 2000. Rankin is a founding member of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, a network of professionals doing advocacy work for LGBT people on college campuses. 

RW Jones has served colleges and universities for more than 30 years. Started by Richard W. “Dick” Jones in 1987 as Dick Jones Communications, the agency has grown from a provider of marketing and media-relations support into a full-service PR firm with more than 20 professionals. 

To learn more about Rankin Climate visit www.rankin-consulting.com.

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