A message from Vice Chancellors Schultz and Olson

by Jess  |   

Welcome to the new academic year.

As we start another promising year, we want to take a moment to highlight some of the accomplishments of the last academic year that continue to impact our ability to foster student success and enrollment. In order to increase access to higher education and meet a 7.5% enrollment growth goal for fall 2020, UAA implemented key changes in FY18.

Early last fall, Enrollment Services redesigned new student recruitment strategies and admissions processes, merging the New Student Recruitment Office and Admissions Office into one functional unit under the direction of an executive director of Admissions. Enrollment Services also created a new student recruitment plan to guide the strategic outreach and communications to prospective students. Developed during the summer preceding the academic year, this framework sets concrete goals, specific targets, and data driven plans for the upcoming year. As a part of the new student recruitment plan, Enrollment Services successfully executed its second year of Enhanced Search Strategies (ESS), a targeted marketing and recruitment program for high school sophomore, junior and senior markets both in and out of state.

Enrollment Services also created a new Communications Team (Comm Team). In partnership with University Advancement, the Comm Team designs, implements and maintains outgoing communication and marketing messages tied to student recruitment and admissions. Although busy with many things in their inaugural year, significant points of pride include revamping the Admissions webpage, creating a dynamic 38-piece prospective student communication plan, further developing our Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool, and launching a new virtual campus tour.

In consultation with a team from Ruffalo Noel Levitz, University Advancement and Student Affairs staff are also developing 145 new academic program webpages that are search engine optimized. This effort includes rewriting content and redesigning pages to ensure UAA is easily found by prospective students via search engines. The pages provide the essential program/major information that can help move a student toward interest and commitment to UAA. Thank you to the faculty who have provided such valuable information about what makes our programs unique and enriching.

Last spring, Admissions established the inaugural Chancellor's League student ambassador program, which is a diverse group of students representing the best and brightest of UAA. They were selected through a faculty or staff referral and a competitive application and interview process. Chancellor's League members assist with high-profile campus visits, donor and alumni engagement events, Commencements and other distinguished University and community events. Keep an eye out for them in their UAA green blazers around campus and the community.

From these efforts and investment of resources, we've already seen some noteworthy gains. While we anticipate that UAA-wide headcount will be down around 3.5% this fall, we do see some positive indicators that our enrollment will stabilize this year and will begin growing once again next year. Our prospective student inquiry pool is currently 20% larger than this time last year. More than 5,000 applications for admission have been submitted for fall 2018 and completed applications are up 13% compared to this time last year. There are also nearly 15% (n=73) more new transfer students registered for this fall compared with this time last year. We expect this upward trend to persist as we continue to carry out and refine these recruitment strategies.

As of the first week of the fall semester, 5,421 applications for admission were received, with 74% of those being admitted and 2,794 enrolling (69% yield).  This exceeds our fall new student enrollment goal by seven and is 108 more new students this fall compared to this time last fall.

This fall, University Advancement and Student Affairs will collectively launch the New Student Marketing & Recruitment Council, comprised of a group of communications professionals across campus. The Council will ensure that UAA marketing and recruitment efforts are a cohesive and coordinated institution-wide endeavor, giving prospective students and target audiences a consistent experience throughout the communication they receive. Look for more information regarding this Council in the coming weeks.

Growing student enrollment is an opportunity available to all of us. If you'd like to be involved in recruitment strategies, contact the new executive director of Admissions, Cassie Keefer, who begins at UAA in October. We look forward to continuing outreach to grow enrollment, retain students and achieve our UAA 2020 goals.

Wishing you all a productive and inspiring fall semester.

Bruce Schultz Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Megan Olson Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

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