Tom Green, Ph.D.
I hope that this fall has treated your enrollments kindly. The pandemic made predicting yield nearly impossible, as past econometric models were rendered largely useless in helping enrollment managers understand what they may expect once classes began. An extra dose of Pepto Bismol was needed for most of you, I’m sure.
This issue of SEMQ features five strong articles from our scholar authors. We begin with a study of the impacts of coaching in community college student success. Drs. Price and Leader are joined by Mr. Alexander to document a grant-funded study in North Carolina, part of the First in the World program through the U.S. Department of Education. This is a rigorous five-year study with solid research design. The investigators used quantitative and qualitative measures to assess the impact of coaching on student success outcomes and attitudes. We shouldn’t be surprised to see this top-notch article become a full book at some point.
Dr. Rob Hornberger’s article on the journey of Missouri State to create a SEM plan could be mistaken for a case study by its title. Make no doubt, however, that this is a richly referenced and clearly written article on the SEM planning process itself. Like many institutions, Missouri State had to place its process on pause during COVID-19 but resumed its work quickly. Although the pandemic was harsh in several ways, many institutions that were engaged in a SEM planning process realized the need for good data and strong communication across institutional units. SEM gained even greater importance at these institutions, and Dr. Hornberger’s article provides a great example of this.
Everyone should read Dr. Amy Hutton’s article on data and analytics. It is a primer on how to approach the need for strong analytical tools, as everyone feels the need to have more of them. Her objectivity and well-researched narrative provide as good a foundation on this topic as I have seen. Especially thoughtful is her “ROI” perspective, as this is often overlooked as a critical element in selecting the right tools and ubiquitously requested by senior leaders when funding them.
We offer two case studies in this issue. The first, by Heidi Nicholas and Dr. Tim Dorsey, helps to better define and describe the somewhat overused term “cross-functional.” Their case study not only outlines what roles are needed to ensure this can live up to its potential silo-busting name but provides context by illustrating how these roles were played at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). This case study is especially helpful in representing SEM in the community college setting, as there has been a resurgence of interest in SEM from this segment of higher education since the pandemic.
It is unsurprising, and even with a bit of encouragement, that articles discussing the impact of COVID-19 are dominating SEMQ’s research agenda. The second case study comes from New York University’s global campus experience during the pandemic. As author M.J. Knoll-Finn highlights in her well-written article, NYU experienced this across continents and time zones. She offers four lessons, which can be adopted as tenets of good practice in managing enrollments strategically, crisis or not.
I hope that your 2021–2022 year is already a much better one that 2020–2021 provided you, although that is a low bar to clear. May the coming year be one of great health for you, your students, and your institution.
Here’s to your success!