SEM: Fitting the pieces together

Whether you’re a newcomer to strategic enrollment management (SEM) or well-versed in SEM concepts, one tenet holds true: SEM success requires buy-in from everyone on campus. Senior administration, student affairs practitioners, faculty, and front line staff all must understand how they fit into and affect the institution’s enrollment management picture.

“It takes a village to do enrollment management,” said Clayton Smith, Ed.D., Director of the AACRAO SEM Conference and Associate Professor, University of Windsor. “It’s not something that you can do on your own.”

Enrollment management requires a variety of professional competencies and deploys multiple tools, such as building a class, utilizing technology and data, and organization and management skills. But if your campus leadership and staff don’t have a big picture concept of what SEM is, why it’s important, and what their roles are, those individual skills can’t coalesce into true success.

Selling SEM on campus

“If you’re a Director of Admissions or a new Enrollment Manager asked to take this on, there’s no way to achieve SEM success without getting buy in from folks all over the institution,” Smith said. “It’s important to be able to effectively bring your message to different parts of the institution.”

In order to deliver that message and get widespread buy-in across campus, enrollment professionals must have a solid understanding of SEM and be able to communicate that concept to others.

Toward that end, Smith and Christine Kerlin, Ed.D., Senior Consultant, AACRAO Consulting, are offering the inaugural SEM Institute this fall ahead of the annual AACRAO SEM Conference.

The SEM Institute: Back to school

The SEM Institute is a full-day pre-conference workshop focused on:

  • SEM readiness,

  • Core SEM concepts,

  • Using SEM to support recruitment, retention and completion goals,

  • Comparing SEM practices at varying institution types,

  • Discussing ethical challenges confronting practitioners, and

  • Learning how to develop and implement SEM plans.

“After the workshop, participants will be able to present SEM as a tool for addressing what presidents and provosts care about: Are we making our enrollment? Are we moving toward our institutional goals?” Smith said.

The workshop will fit the technical details of SEM into one holistic picture, offering a framework for building a strong SEM plan tailored to institutional needs, and envisioning how SEM will evolve in the future.

“The Institute will give a coherent A to Z understanding of enrollment management,” Smith said, “which will help participants benefit from the more focused content in the rest of the conference.”

To learn more about the SEM Institute, click here.

And register now for the full AACRAO SEM Conference, Oct. 29 - Nov. 1 in Phoenix, AZ.