SEM Conference - The Enrollment Relationship Model

November 15, 2022
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • SEM Conference
  • 2022 SEM Conference
Group of SEM22 Conference attendees enjoying a session.

By Heather Zimar, AACRAO Associate Director, Publications & Journals

In a Monday afternoon session at the 32nd AACRAO SEM Conference, Angelique Saweczko, University Registrar at the University of Toronto shared an “enrollment relationship model,” for SEM, which she is developing in response to recent changes campuses are experiencing.

Relationships and their dynamics are becoming more important, she said, due to: changing budget models, faculty and academic units’ accountability for and interest in enrollment management, the pandemic, decentralized administrative models that require multi-level enrollment plans, centralized administrative models that have reduced funding, external key performance indicators, and legislation and government.

“It’s really important at times to just level set,” she said.

She added that relationships and partnerships are important because internal functions are not linear and relationships focus on working together, establishing common goals, sharing tactics, leading through collaboration and influence, and fostering trust and transparency.

“A key part of how you do your work is the key relationships that you connect with,” Saweczko said.

Five part enrolment relationship model depicting goeals and approaches.

The enrollment relationship model, Saweczko said, is “tactical” and includes the following components:

  • Goal 

  • Specialist approach

  • Generalist approach

  • Process

  • Strategy/policy 

These components are: 

  •  Focused on institutional tactics

  •  Goal-focused

  •  Segments that blend into each other, are stages of the process, and shouldn’t be interpreted as lines in the sand

  • Several segments and concepts that are specific to the goals and, therefore, adaptable

  • Generalists/specialists that are interchangeable and depend on where expertise rests

  •  Circles that show a process/cycle and keep components tied to the goal

  • Adaptable to the institutional structures and the goal 

With this model, Saweczko said, “You are always re-evaluating and returning to where you started.”

She provided an example of how the model can be applied to the recruitment cycle at an institution: 

  • Goal: Registered student

  • Specialist approach: Conversion (general or specialized)

  • Generalist approach: Admissions processes

  • Process: Recruitment (general and specialized)—on-campus events

  • Strategy/Policy: Admission policy (She noted that “policy is not something you usually see in recruitment but can have a huge impact on recruitment).

The benefits of this new model, according to Saweczko, are that: the goal is the focus and the intent is to operationalize, it provides a process to identify how units can collaborate, it identifies tactics and opportunities, it is a collaborative approach, it is an interactive process, and it is transparent.

“It’s a tool that you can use to help you take the next steps,” which she outlined as:  

  • Identifying the various goals in your enrolment plans

  • Ensuring you can measure your goals

  • Focusing on collaborations avoids creating barriers and “domains” 

  • Approaching opportunities from an “and/or lens” (i.e., evaluating whether something fits into your current structure or if it needs something different.

“Lastly, think strategically, It’s really important now coming out of the pandemic. We’ve been very reactive during the past two years. It’s really important to pause before we move forward.”