Building a bridge with faculty during the SEM planning process

October 19, 2020
  • Communication
  • Enrollment Management
  • Leadership and Management
  • SEM Conference
landmass with a large crack in the middle and 2 people on opposite sides of the crack. A third person walks across a bridge extending from both people on either side of the crack

Faculty and academic administrators have a crucial role to play in the strategic enrollment management (SEM) process. 

Missouri State University, which began its SEM plan fall 2019, prioritized the inclusion and integration of the academic side from the very beginning.

“We were very intentional about engaging faculty from the start,” said Rob Hornberger, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Services. “At the campus-wide kickoff, we invited a national speaker who spoke about the academic marketplace and the important role of academics in enrollment.”

Thanks to that focus, the faculty was well-represented at the kickoff meeting, which had 225 attendees from across campus. To keep faculty and academic administrator engagement strong, MSU deployed many strategies, including:

1. Developing an Academic Programs and Deliveries Council. The SEM Steering Committee is aided by four councils, one of which focuses on academic programs.

2. Including faculty representatives on each council. Across the four councils, about 45 percent of the representatives are faculty or academic administrators. The representatives are evenly distributed across all colleges, and each council is co-chaired by one academic and one non-academic representative.

3. Communicating with the faculty senate. The chair of the senate is a regular member of the steering committee.

4. Leverage faculty skills in SEM research and planning. For example, faculty with research expertise in marketing or data analytics can be incredible assets for conducting an environmental scan or trend analysis. “Early on, we didn’t start out by relying on our faculty in this way,” Hornberger said. “Thanks to the relationships we’ve built through the SEM process, we now know we can more formally integrate their help into SEM to make it stronger.”

The importance of academics in SEM

“With this kind of intentional integration, we know what each other is doing,” said Tamera Jahnke, Dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. “We can see that we truly have the same goals, though we may approach or think about them differently, and we can move forward together.”

For example, sometimes academic departments and student affairs were doubling efforts, and now they are better able to coordinate efforts and create synergies. 

“Now that we’ve gone through a year with this SEM process,” Hornerberger added, “we have a much more engaged and educated campus community about the importance and role of enrollment.” 

Register now for AACRAO SEM

Hornberger and Jahnke will share more lessons learned about "The Role of Faculty and Academic Administrators in SEM Planning" at this month’s virtual AACRAO SEM Conference, October 28-30. Learn more and register now.



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