by Kimberly McNair, EdD, Director of College Access and Enrollment at Montgomery College in Maryland
In her session “Designing an Enrollment Plan to Fit Your Organization,” Diane Wasseler, Vice President of Enrollment Management at CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College, described for AACRAO SEM Conference attendees different strategies for carrying out enrollment management planning. Wasseler used her experiences at three different institutions to demonstrate how SEM plans can be developed, as she says, “by the book, by culture, or by strategic goals.”
The first SEM Plan development experience described by Wasseler proceeded primarily by the book, or rather by a process like AACRAO’s SEM process framework. This included detailed plans and mapping, monthly team meetings and quarterly steering committee meetings. This college focused on removing enrollment barriers, and traditional marketing strategies of improving the college brand, website, and social media.
Using a second institution, Wasseler showed how culture influences SEM. A number of institutional plans were already in place, such as academic, completion, and master plans, as well as fiscal and state performance indicators. The culture of the institution did not support developing another plan, but it did support identifying SEM goals in the current plans. Institutions new to SEM planning may choose to connect their SEM planning to existing college plans or planning process to get them started on their SEM journey. It may not be ideal, but Wasseler encourages enrollment managers to “work on the things you can control.”
Wasseler used her current institution, BMCC to demonstrate how they use strategic goals as an approach to SEM planning. BMCC adopted a new planning model of one plan, one focus. The new model, Designing for Student Success, puts the student at the center of everything, and surrounds them with intentional, aligned, and integrated experiences to support their completion. Wasseler acknowledges the new model can be “messy”, but says it helps with agile planning, consensus building, and managing change.
Her closing advice for attendees is to:
-- Let the data tell the story
-- Adopt and promote a team sport mentality
-- Start from position of strength then expand
-- Be your college’s SEM evangelist