Increasing Opportunity and Success: A Nimble and Nuanced Response to the White House College Pipeline Summit

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Richard Bayer

Assistant Provost, Enrollment Services at University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Increasing Opportunity and Success: A Nimble and Nuanced Response to the White House College Pipeline Summit

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM


Can you give a brief overview of your plan and how SEM played a role in it?

Last fall, a tactics team was created at the University of Tennessee to address an enrollment shortfall crises of under 500 students. The cross-functional group was responsible for getting total enrollment rates back on course, which we have. The team was approached by the Chancellor with the opportunity to participate in the White House College Pipeline Summit that November. In one week, our team put together a proposal that included 4 initiatives. This proposal was presented at the summit and then implemented the following summer.

The tactics team used SEM to address enrollment issues. We determined that high risk students need to be provided with a safety net. SEM informed us that the team will be most effective in addressing problems with a cross-section of people from across the university. Our team included high level representatives from the Student Success Center, Student Life, the business office, IT, media/public relations, academic affairs, financial aid, admissions and the registrar. Meeting with this group of people weekly allowed us to take on complex problems and find solutions across silos.

How long did you spend planning the initial proposal and the more nuanced take being presented now?

The proposal was put together within a week for the WH Summit. Then we spent most of the following spring semester gathering resources and people to make Math Camp and the other programs possible. We identified partners and individuals to work the programs starting in that summer and into this Fall semester.

Have you been able to implement any aspects of your proposal to date? If so, have you seen any results?

At this point, all aspects have been implemented. We were very happy that of the 88 students who attended Math Camp, two-thirds were able to go into an introductory level math class better prepared. Based on these results, the team is exploring ways Math Camp can be extended to include more students and possibly occur at other locations.  Although it is still early to know the effect of other programs on retention, we are expecting positive outcomes.

How applicable will your session be to colleagues at different types of institutions?

Definitely applicable. Bottom line is that if you get the right people in the room meeting regularly, you can handle just about any problem. A team approach will work at any institution. Our approach to solving enrollment management issues is very scalable.

What do you expect attendees to learn from your session?

That’s a good question. I expect them to learn the value of a collaborative team approach to solving problems and that there is no one problem that is too large to undertake. Ranging from access to success to presenting to the President, you can deal with large issues in strategic and tactful ways.