What research is needed in Enrollment Management?

August 5, 2019
  • Research & Data
  • Enrollment
  • Research
In the July 2019 issue of Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly, we authored an article titled “Developing the Two-Way Practitioner-Researcher Loop for Enrollment Management.” In this article, we asserted that enrollment management (EM) officers should continue their efforts to use empirical research findings to guide their professional practice as it prevents EM officers from “shooting from the hip” or trial-and-error forms of professional action. We pointed out that EM officers depend on the work of the research community of EM (e.g. faculty members affiliated with graduate programs in higher education, doctoral students engaged in dissertation research, institutional research officers, and researchers associated with the American College Testing Program, the College Board, the Educational Testing Service, and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center) for research findings useful to practice. Such a dependency requires a two-way practitioner-research loop: a loop from practitioners to the research community and a loop from the research community back to practitioners. The loop from practitioner to the research community depends on a practitioner-generated research agenda, whereas the loop from research community to practitioners depends on the research community to disseminate the findings of their research on topics of a practitioner-generated research agenda to practitioners of enrollment management. In our SEMQ article, we described the particulars of the development of both loops.     
 
We wrote “Developing the Two-Way Practitioner-Researcher Loop for Enrollment Management” because we believe that research findings can be useful to provide policy and practice. However, we also recognize that the interests of faculty members and the gaps in the literature drives academic research and scholarship. Consequently, both enrollment managers and research-oriented faculty share a commitment toward making research and scholarship useful to practice. To make it useful to practice, we see a need for the two-way loop we describe in our SEMQ article, and we encourage readers of Connect to read it.  
 
We encourage members of AACRAO involved in EM to be practitioner-scholars. AACRAO members can serve as practitioner-scholars by playing a part in the development of the practitioner-to-research community loop by suggesting research needed in enrollment management work. In our conclusion to “Developing the Two-Way Practitioner-Researcher Loop for Enrollment Management,” we urged the readers of SEMQ to suggest studies that address day-to-day EM issues and concerns in the real world of practice. We likewise urge readers of Connect to suggest such studies.
 
To assist you in your delineation of needed research, we present domains of practice of enrollment management that might benefit from the findings of research to guide policy and practice. Some possible domains include student recruitment practice, the selection of applicants for admission, the impact of types of financial aid on matriculation decisions and the retention of students, and the effects of developmental education on student success. If domains of importance to you are missing, please delineate such domains. 
 
Please email your suggestions for research to either john.m.braxton@vanderbilt.edu or hossler@usc.edu.  We will take your suggestions and work to disseminate them to the research community of EM. We will also present the suggestions we receive in a future issue of Connect
 
The article above was authored by John M. Braxton, Professor of Higher Education, Emeritus, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanederby University and Don Hossler, Senior Scholar at the Center for Enrollment Research Policy and Practice at University of Southern California,  for AACRAO's Connect in July 2019.
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