What research is needed in Enrollment Management?

July 24, 2019
  • Competencies
  • Professional Development and Contributions to the Field
  • Research
  • SEMQ

by John M. Braxton and Don Hossler

Enrollment management (EM) officers must use empirical research findings to guide their professional practice, and not “shoot from the hip” or experiment with trial-and-error forms of professional action.  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.     

Research findings can be useful to policy and practice, and the interests of faculty members and the gaps in the literature drive 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 need a two-way research loop.  

We encourage members of AACRAO involved in EM to be practitioner-scholars by suggesting research needed in enrollment management work. What kinds of studies will address day-to-day EM issues and concerns in the real world of practice?

Some possible research 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.