AACRAO’s SEM-Endorsement Program (SEM-EP) has had a busy start to the year. February saw a call for evaluators and research requestprogram’s 20th AACRAO-endorsed SEM professional.
And now three new volunteers, all SEM-EP graduates, have been added to the SEM-EP team in the role of Evaluator. They join Steven McDowell, also a graduate of the program, who will begin his second year as an Evaluator.
"I am thrilled to bring a diverse pool of evaluators to our SEM-EP team for the next year,” said Director Dr. Christopher Tremblay. “All of them also have earned the SEM Endorsement, so they bring an internal perspective to the review process as our own graduates." Learn more about SEM-EP.
Meet the Evaluators
Tim Rees, Director of Admissions for residential undergraduate students at Liberty University, is a passionate proponent of the program.
“My view on SEM has been radically altered by the SEM-EP experience,” Rees said. “Since I came from the business world, my mindset going into higher education was that I was basically selling a product and numbers are what count the most in that setting. I came to understand from a practitioner viewpoint, that SEM is really holistic and the bedrock of what we call lifelong learning: from prospective student to successful alumni, the institution needs to come alongside and support the individual where they are at the moment.”
Rees is excited for the opportunity to “journey with” other practitioners through SEM-EP. He expects to help others gain new understanding while also broadening his own perspective.
Rees is a veteran of the Armed Forces and a former financial services provider in the public sector. He’s been working at Liberty since 2005.
John Soltice, Assistant Director of Strategy Development & Information Management at University of Alberta International, considers the endorsement a great way to “give weight to your ideas in discussions, bring in new ideas, and speak with greater confidence” on your campus.
Learning SEM basics provides a great framework within which to analyse the challenges of changing institutional goals, while keeping institutional priorities clear, said Soltice.
“SEM helps us remember that students are at our institutions for a long period of time, over four to six years or more, not just single ‘siloed’ interaction points,” Soltice said. “SEM strives to give those strung-out points in time a common meaning until we can reveal a student life-cycle in which humans (students, staff, faculty) can thrive and succeed together.”
Soltice previously led international student recruitment for ten years at University of Alberta International. In his “past life,” he was a member of the national modern pentathlon team in Canada.
“This Olympic sport sees the athlete perform in not one but five distinct sports in one day, which combine into one sport greater than the sum of its parts,” he said. “In a way it is similar to the practice of SEM with its many distinct skills and activities that combine to be one great profession.”
Dr. Andrea Lehmacher, Managing Director of Marketing Strategy at Elgin Community College, considers the SEM-EP curriculum to be practical and immediately applicable by SEM practitioners, while at the same time providing exciting philosophical and academic grist, as well.
“I am a scholar-practitioner at heart. As a matter of fact, my dissertation research focused on SEM within Illinois Community Colleges,” Lemacher said. “SEM is a fascinating, comprehensive concept and process that helps an institution survive challenging times, maintain institutional health and focuses on student success.”
SEM-EP encourages deeper conversations and more earnest collaborations as campuses strives to work their SEM plan and goals, she noted.
Lemacher spent her two-decade higher education career focused in the areas of enrollment, marketing, and communications. Her early experience focused on admissions, orientation, and financial aid, which helps her to understand student perspectives and guides her approach leading teams and initiatives and working with departments throughout the institution.
Lemacher, who has mentored and coached doctoral students through the dissertation process, said “It has been a true joy to help students and colleagues reach their goals and be part of their journey; I am truly excited to become an SEM-EP evaluator and continue supporting colleagues!”