Tom Green, Ph.D.
This issue of Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly is one with both broad and specific articles on practice in our field. Two of the articles speak to the breadth and scope of the work, and two others to how this work is practiced in very defined institutional types. The broad articles, if read in the order of my note, will form bookends around the specific practice articles between them.
The first article, by Drs. Alexis Pope and Susan Davies, speaks to the role of the senior enrollment officer as the broad communicator about enrollment issues at the institution. The need to build relationships and manage expectations is critical to success. I especially liked their term “chief enrollment educator,” and I will use that with attribution to them many times in the future, I believe. They hit the nail on the head several times in this article in discussing aspects of the enrollment manager’s position that are outside the running of the offices and development of strategy. This goes to the vital public role that determines if those strategies and tactics will be embraced by the people who will need to implement them.
We have seen SEM practiced in any number of settings after its appearance in private undergraduate education in the 1970s. Public universities, Canadian institutions, community colleges, international institutions, and graduate colleges have all been documented practitioners of SEM. It has been a tool that many have used to address enrollment changes or struggles. Dr. Katherine Ruger’s article on SEM in medical education may be the first to document its practice in this specialized setting. It forms an important baseline in understanding practice as it emerges and grows in medical schools. In its approach, it reminded me of the early work that Hossler and Bean1 conducted to help us understand SEM as it emerged in its earliest forms. It is solid in its concepts and research methods, and the storytelling approach to each case is an enjoyable format for the reader.
The third article in this issue, and the second one to focus on how SEM is practiced in a specialized setting, is by Shaimaa Nabil Hassanein. Ms. Hassanein discusses the critical role of data in SEM and its application at the graduate level. By presenting a model for graduate-level SEM (which she and some others have labeled GEM), she traces the data collection and analysis through the model in very specific ways. This also demonstrates the way in which data governance must be tailored to institutional needs and settings, as the examples are from her current institution, the American University of Cairo, where the teams must collect and analyze data based upon Egyptian or non-Egyptian student status. The literature references are numerous and strong here, and it is a wonderful contribution to the growing research on graduate-level SEM.
And now we come to the other bookend of this edition. A team of scholar-practitioners from the United States and Canada have written an outstanding article on change management through the lens of SEM. Dr. Clayton Smith, Janet Hyde, Dr. Tina Faulkner, and Dr. Christine Kerlin have addressed one of the most neglected and critical aspects of SEM success. How I wish I could have read their work early in my career! Many enrollment managers are able to make changes that positively impact enrollment through administrative areas that they can control or influence. When further progress toward enrollment goals requires greater levels of change across institutional units, momentum is often thwarted because of the lack of planning for organizational and cultural change. Similar to Ruger’s article, the authors use the case study format to describe how change management has been approached in different SEM situations at different institutions. This is a must read, and I am grateful to the authors for making such a strong contribution to one of the AACRAO Core Competencies that lacks resources focused on our areas of practice. Bravo and brava!
Wishing you great enrollment success.