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Michael R. Lovell

Further addressing UWM enrollment management
UWM Report, February 2014

One of the most important segments of my Plenary Address last month concerned the new Chancellor’s Council on Enrollment Management, and I wanted to provide you with more details.

This got started, as you might recall, in my fall 2012 Plenary Address when I said that dwindling UWM student enrollment in the face of decreasing Wisconsin residents of traditional college age was our greatest challenge.

The situation had not improved by fall 2013, when we reported our third consecutive year of fewer new freshmen. The financial consequences of falling enrollment are significant, as we estimated that 1,000 fewer students equated to about $11 million in reduced tuition and fees to our campus.

It was clear that even though useful steps had been taken by UWM administrators and staff during the 2012-13 academic year to reverse the enrollment trend, more was needed. So, in fall 2013, I assigned Mark Mone, chancellor’s designee for strategic planning and campus climate, and Barbara Daley, interim dean of the School of Education, to coordinate a review of enrollment polices, procedures and approaches at UWM.

In January they returned a report to me, and a few days later I put in place the top recommendation of establishing the Chancellor’s Council on Enrollment Management. That recommendation was based on a review of our enrollment management by Angela Udelhofen, assistant chancellor for admission at UW-Platteville, and Darin Wohlgemuth, director of enrollment research at Iowa State University. Both universities have had positive enrollment trends despite demographic challenges similar to those at UWM.

The council will ensure that we are following best enrollment practices by seamlessly integrating the diverse efforts of the divisions of Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and University Relations and Communications.

I will lead the council’s Steering Committee and will be joined by Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Johannes Britz, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Laliberte, Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Communications Tom Luljak and five academic deans: Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, Graduate School; Bob Greenstreet, Architecture & Urban Planning; Sally Lundeen, Nursing; Tim Smunt, Business; and Rodney Swain, Letters & Science.

The Steering Committee will, in turn, develop the structure, roles, responsibilities and membership for the larger Strategic Enrollment Management Council that will include faculty and staff, and include campus governance members.

Several crosscutting task forces will be created to coordinate enrollment, marketing, recruitment and other activities for undergraduate, graduate, international and online students. We will also clearly articulate leadership and accountability in each of these task forces.

I want to close with a challenge and an
invitation.

The challenge is to reverse established perceptions of student enrollment responsibilities. Looking over the consultants’ report, one UWM individual’s statement really stood out. Asked by the consultants about a certain aspect of enrollment management, one of our staff members said, “That part of enrollment is someone else’s job. I DON’T TOUCH THAT.”

We must reverse that perception. Enrollment management is EVERYONE’S responsibility.

The invitation is to every member of the faculty and staff who embraces my enrollment challenge: During the coming months, convince one individual to enroll at UWM. We can all do this. I’m working on it, too. I met a high school senior at a holiday gathering who expressed interest in computer science programs at other Wisconsin schools. I’m working to convince him of the strength of UWM’s computer science program, and hope to confirm his campus visit to UWM in the coming days.

If you are successful in recruiting a student, I want to know about it. Send me an email at mlovell@uwm.edu. At the end of this semester, I’m going to host a reception either in my office or at the residence to celebrate successful faculty and staff recruiters.

If every one of our 5,000 faculty and staff recruited one new student to UWM, we would eliminate all of our enrollment challenges.

Best,

Michael R. Lovell
Chancellor