SEM Implementation, Development, and Tracking Processes

April 15, 2024
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • Enrollment Management

AACRAO2024 session review by Katie (Brown) Rendon, Assistant Vice President, Student Success & University Registrar

Presented by Polly Hulsey, Dean of Student Access and Outreach, and Dr. Jonathan Lord, Vice President of Student Life and Enrollment Services, College of Southern Idaho

The College of Southern Idaho is Idaho’s first Hispanic-serving institution, with a population that largely serves dual credit students. In 2021, a new president announced that the institution would be taking their first steps toward creating a Strategic Enrollment Management plan; based on resource constraints, this SEM plan would also have to be developed in-house. The team turned to their institution’s strategic plan when figuring out where to start. They went through the strategic plan and asked themselves, “How do we align an enrollment management plan with these objectives, and how do we operationalize these objectives?” A diverse team, made up of key partners and decision-makers from across campus, worked for the next several months to brainstorm ideas that aligned with the university’s “CODE”: 

  • Cultivate community engagement

  • Optimize student access

  • Drive student success

  • Ensure institutional stability

The ideas the group brought forth were eventually whittled down to come up with viable tactics that would help support each strategic objective. Each tactic was scrutinized to ensure the university could support the resources required for the project and that the tactic truly supported the strategic plan. These tactics were divided into three additional groups to help organize the SEM plan: current projects we’re already doing, but that could be improved through data and review; projects that are important and should be started immediately; or projects that are great long-term objectives, but don’t need to be implemented immediately. These tactics formed the basis of a five-year strategic enrollment management plan that was supported by university leadership.

The team next had to determine how to track their progress and tactical responses in a way that made sense. Again, using the resources already available, the team used Microsoft Teams’ Tasks to organize and label their strategies, create task to-do lists, and assign members to the team. This allows the entire team to see where the group stands with SEM implementation and report on their progress.

The team is now two and a half years into their five-year SEM plan and has had to be nimble to meet their institution's and leadership's needs. They have made some changes to the SEM team members and have amended when, how often, and how long they meet. They’re now communicating about SEM-related information more regularly with various stakeholders. The team recommends that you don’t just create a SEM plan just to have one and let it sit on a shelf. It’s important to make sure that you use that plan to guide your actions and help move the needle at your institution. If you’re looking for guidance, the team also highly recommends AACRAO’s SEM Endorsement Program as a place to start. A SEM plan can be an effective way to bring together multiple departments on campus and work together to collaborate on student success. Check out more of AACRAO’s SEM information here: 


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