Meet the new SEM-EP evaluators

May 25, 2019
  • AACRAO News
headshots of Sarah McAbee, Kristen Salomonson, and Sherry Waldon Wells (left to right)

Three new evaluators are joining AACRAO’s Strategic Enrollment Management Endorsement Program’s (SEM-EP) team. Each has deep SEM experience and brings unique strengths to the program. Meet Sarah McAbee, Sherry Waldon Wells, and Kristen Salomonson.

"Sarah, Kristen and Sherry bring a wealth of knowledge and experience as our newest Evaluators,” said Christopher Tremblay, SEM-EP Director. “We look forward to their contributions as they help our learners advance through the Program."  

mcabeeSarah McAbee, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Support Services at Athens State

McAbee brings 30 years’ experience in higher education, specifically student services, to the role, including state audit experience, financial aid management, admissions and records and student services.  McAbee is a 2015 graduate of SEM-EP.

“The SEM program adds a sense of continuity to the work of the profession.  The program is a great way to share great work we all do, helping students reach their goals and improve their lives,” McAbee said.

“I am looking forward to hearing about the exciting work that fellow Enrollment professionals are engaged in at a wide variety of institutions,” she added. “I hope the program builds as much excitement in the current participants as it did for me, providing encouragement and new ideas.”

In her free time, McAbee loves to ride her electric bicycle on the Chief Ladiga trail in Alabama and Fort Worth Trinity River Trail and the Pinellas Trail in Clearwater Florida.

wellsSherry Waldon Wells, EdD, Assistant Vice Provost, Lamar University

“I have had amazing professional development during my participation in AACRAO,” Wells said. “I am excited to be a part of a program that grows new leaders in the field and share some of those tools I have learned."

Wells has a doctoral degree in Education with an emphasis on Higher Education. She has been part of a SEM model spanning two decades at two different public universities, five of which she was Associate Vice President for SEM. During her first job in the registrar’s office, the office merged into a SEM model during her third year of employment.

“I learned SEM from the ground up,” she said. “I think that SEM is the key to student success. Higher education is constantly evolving. We need leaders who have the tools (knowledge and skills) to make sure that we maintain our core strengths while adapting to new ideas.”

Wells is also an active member in her local Rotary club and recently served as club president. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family (including her dogs) and friends.

salomonsonKristen E. Salomonson, PhD, Dean of Enrollment Services, Ferris State University

“I view this role as an opportunity to give back to a profession I cherish,” Salomonson said. “So many people have assisted me throughout my career and this role would allow me to use the knowledge and experience I have gained to help others blossom.”

Like many SEM professionals, Salomonson’s path began in an educational career that was not focused on higher ed. She earned a Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University, where the curriculum included a heavy emphasis statistics and research methods. After working as in faculty and analyst roles, she became the Director of Institutional Research, Enrollment Services, at Ferris State University. She began using statistical expertise to create predictive enrollment models and became Dean of Enrollment Services in 2008.

“The more I discovered about SEM, the more zeal I had to learn more. Enrollment Management is a rewarding career as you are helping students to achieve their best possible futures,” Salomonson said.

“We must develop and sustain a talented cadre of enrollment professionals who have a passion for student success," she added. "From my perspective, the SEM Endorsement Program’s value lies in providing professional with the tools they need to reach goals with creativity, flexibility and compassion.