AACRAO Eye on Research August 2017

by Wendy Kilgore | Aug 30, 2017


This month, I collected the data for the Chief Enrollment Management Officer career profile report.  This is the second report of its kind; the first was completed in 2014.  One of our main challenges in disseminating this survey is the lack of a clear primary title for this position.  Unlike other executive-level positions (e.g., Chief Development Officer, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Financial/Business Officer, Chief Information Technology Officer, Chief Facilities/Physical Plan Officer, etc.), the higher education directory does not have a manpower code for Chief Enrollment Management Officer.  The best matching descriptor is the “Director of Enrollment Management” who “Plans, develops, and implements strategies to sustain enrollment.  Supervises administration of all admissions and financial aid operations.”  The higher education directory extract included members with wide-ranging titles such as, Coordinator for Enrollment Services, Vice President for Enrollment, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, Dean of Enrollment Management, and Assistant Director of Enrollment Services.  

For the purposes of this survey, our own SEM Advisory Board defined the position as follows:

The Chief Enrollment Management position is the position responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive strategic enrollment management efforts focused on retention, recruitment, and admissions.  The position often has direct managerial responsibility and oversight for key enrollment units and enrollment services of the institution and is responsible for strategies that focus on retention and completion, recruitment and student success.

I asked our primary contacts to help identify the appropriate person at their institution based on this definition.  Interestingly, what we learned anecdotally from this email call for assistance is that unlike the Registrar and Chief Admissions Officer position, a fair percentage of institutions do not have a single position that fits the role as defined.  The lack of a single position with these responsibilities does not appear to be limited to institutions of a particular size, type or control.  In order to more accurately understand the prevalence of this position, I have added a supplemental question to the September 60-Second Survey asking whether or not the institution has this position, and I will add that data to the report.  

AACRAO Research Updates

The September 60-Second Survey will update our 2014 data on the use of electronic transcript services.  The data from the Chief Enrollment Management Career Profile and the U.S. Community College Completion Initiatives project will be presented at the AACRAO SEM conference in Phoenix this fall.  The grades and grading practices data has been collected, and the draft narrative for the book is under development.  There is a lot of data to compare current practices with the previous surveys. 

Call for Assistance

Reminder: Predictive Modelling for Student Retention Survey closes Sept 8.

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Canada (HEQCO) is conducting a survey on the experiences of postsecondary institutions with predictive modelling for student retention. HEQCO is looking to gather information on what types of institutions have implemented predictive modelling for student retention, what groups of students they are targeting, what interventions have been designed and used with predictive modellng, and what effects those interventions have had on student retention. The survey will take respondents approximately 20-25 minutes to complete, depending on answer length, and will be open until Friday, September 8, 2017. The survey can be accessed at https://pm-mp.questionpro.ca.

Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

Statewide Longitudinal Systems

The Education Commission of the States released its policy snapshot on statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS) and relevant 2016 and 2017 legislation:

  • “37 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) connect data between at least two educational systems and only 6 states plus D.C. have a full P20W system.”
  • Several use their systems to measure student success and have introduced legislation based on the data.
  • Although five states proposed legislation related to SLDS in 2016, only one bill was enacted in California.
  • In 2017, 16 states considered SLDS legislation and six have been enacted in Nevada, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina.

Four Common Governance Structures

The Education Commission of the States also released a report providing an overview of the governance structures found during a recent 50-state review.  Four common governance structures were identified:

  • Appointed Board with an Appointed Chief
  • Governor Appointed Board with Board Appointed Chief
  • Appointed Board with Elected Chief
  • Elected Board with Board Appointed Chief

Twelve states operate under modified versions of the four identified models.

Recent Paper Provides an Overview and Analysis of the Credentialing Landscape 

A report commissioned by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with support from the Carnegie Corporation, examined credentials that serve as an alternative to degrees and those that serve as alternate pathways to degrees.  Common themes included:
  • There has been a proliferation of alternative credentials/pathways over the past 15 years.
  • Credentials and alternate pathways are shorter, more flexible and more employer-focused than traditional degrees
  • Evidence of quality and effectiveness of credentials/pathways is lacking.
  • There appears to be an emerging trend in which institutions of higher education would “take a substantial role in validating varied learning experiences and linking them with academic coursework and degree pathways.”

Policy recommendations in the paper included:
  • Ensure quality assurance, enforce quality standards, and accelerate integration of quality credentials/pathways into the federal financial aid system.
  • Invest in longitudinal data systems to monitor student experiences and outcomes.
  • Perform further research on the effectiveness and return on investment for alternative credentials/pathways.

Two Studies Highlight Student Concerns about College Preparedness and College Completion

A recent article in Education Dive indicates that a pair of recent studies suggest that about half of U.S. high school students (across 21 states) do not feel prepared for college, and about half of the students entering college are concerned that they may not graduate.  Student self-perceptions of preparedness for college varied with race/ethnicity, with Asian, black or African-American and Hispanic or Latino students feeling better prepared than white or multiracial students.  Students indicated the top three reasons that would cause them to leave school: family emergencies (69%), stress (66%) and mental health issues (66%).

Highlights from a Soon-to-be-Released Report on Protecting Data Privacy and Security

Education Week reported that the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking recently released highlights from its forthcoming final report.  The commission was tasked to examine ways that data and research could be shared across federal agencies while addressing privacy and security concerns.   While not directly aimed at education, the author suggests that the recommendations are likely to “shape reauthorization of critical and long-overdue education laws governing research data.” Five key principles were identified as being required to govern the future of data use:
  • Access and privacy must be a paramount concern.
  • Questions should be answered with the appropriate level of rigor.
  • “Agencies should avoid overgeneralizing findings and instead focus on building and promoting a broader ‘portfolio of evidence.’”
  • Expertise is required for these data protections and analyses.

Notifying Students about Learning Analytics

Blackboard recently released a research brief entitled Student Interest & Patterns in Learning Analytics Notification that discusses student preferences for notifications.  Students opened notifications 37% of the time.  Further, those notifications that compared students to their peers were preferred over notifications regarding trends in the students’ scores over time.  Further, a cluster analysis was performed, and open rates were found to be consistent across all student types.

Article Suggests Change of Focus in Admissions from Achievement to Overcoming Barriers

A new article in Inside Higher Ed suggests selective colleges should re-focus their admissions selection process.  It asserts that the traditional measures of achievement (grades, tests scores, extracurricular activities, etc.) do more to measure the resources available to an applicant, rather than the applicant's talent or motivation. The article's author asserts that a "distance travelled" model would be a more useful tool for selective admissions. This model could use an "adversity index" to look at the traditional achievement measures, but be weighted by other factors such as poverty, discrimination, and other challenges faced by the applicant.

Expanding Access for High-Achieving Low-Income Students

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation released a report identifying practices to assist high-achieving, low-income students into selective colleges.  Among the 14 practices enumerated are the following:
  • Clearly identify the true cost of attendance 
  • Reduce application costs
  • Remove practices that disadvantage these students such as requiring the SAT or ACT and preference for children of alumni
  • Expand community college transfer student access
  • Facilitate campus visits
  • Customize messaging to encourage these students to apply 

Article Provides Resources for Addressing Charlottesville Incidents 

An article posted on NPR Ed provides some guidance to educators on how to use the incidents of bigotry and racism as a teachable moment. Resources included in the article include: ideas for introducing themes of diversity and tolerance; ways to incorporate historical curriculum that touches on racism today; and curriculum that addresses current events directly.