Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly

Advancing research in enrollment and student success

Editor's Note

Tom Green, Ph.D.


This fall’s class has just come in and enrollment managers are measuring the success of their efforts to attract and retain the best possible students for their institutions. In this issue, we present a well-rounded set of articles on SEM. From marketing to funding to retention and student success at the undergraduate and graduate levels, we examine factors that shape our success as enrollment managers.

Dr. Gabriel Serna takes a new view of marketing by considering the signals that we send to students and how they pick them up (or fail to). Through this lens, Dr. Serna examines whether higher education marketing considers these signals, student identity, and how different students may interpret these as messages of who “fits” at our institutions.

Jason Reinoehl and Theodore Kowalski similarly place a new spin on tuition discounting studies by examining its impact on socioeconomically diverse populations. A powerful tool, tuition discounting has great potential to incentivize enrollment of populations that are underrepresented at an institution. In its earlier forms, discounting often targeted high-achieving students (which the institution sought to enroll in greater numbers). This article examines changes between two measurement periods in the late 1990s and late 2000s. The authors provide an important reminder of discounting's power and unintended consequences if not thoughtfully and carefully practiced.

Many enrollment managers decry the involvement of faculty in SEM on their campuses. Joseph Connell and Christopher Romano present a case study in change management. They recount and reflect on the steps they took to engage faculty in retention planning, efforts, and cross-functional teams. The study is rife with examples and guidance on how their institution confronted this issue.

Retention and student success is often studied only in the undergraduate context. As graduate program enrollments in many areas declined after 2009, greater attention has been paid to enrollment health at this level. Andrew Kim offers a study of factors that impact international graduate students, an important segment of many graduate programs today. This Canadian perspective easily crosses borders to provide research and analysis of factors that most enrollment managers will recognize as local to their own student populations.

Whatever your enrollment health this fall, this issue of SEMQ offers research and insights to help you help your institution and its students find its optimal enrollment mix.