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A New Structure?. Reorganizing Enrollment Management to Achieve  Institutional Goals through Focus and Efficiency Dr. Brent A. Gage, Associate Provost The University of Alabama at Birmingham. SEM Session: 681. Session Description: Restructuring can be a challenging task, but if done

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a new structure

A New Structure?

Reorganizing Enrollment Management to Achieve 

Institutional Goals through Focus and Efficiency

Dr. Brent A. Gage, Associate Provost

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

sem session 681
SEM Session: 681
  • Session Description:

Restructuring can be a challenging task, but if done

correctly can create efficiencies and increase

productivity which result in positive outcomes. 

This session will discuss strategies to compare current

institutional goals with organizational structures in

place in a effort to align resources toward measurable


  • Topics will include: staffing, organizational reporting, operational efficiency and the development of metrics to measure progress toward goals.
session outline
Session Outline
  • Why are you the way you are?
    • Staffing
    • Organizational reporting
  • What are your primary goals?
    • Grow, control, manage or reduce enrollment
    • Increase retention and graduation rate
    • Operational efficiency and cost savings
    • High Levels of Customer Service
    • Transformation of Mission
  • How do you develop metrics to measure progress
  • The process of on-going decision making
  • Take out a piece of paper
    • Write down the two most important goals of your role and how you are measured.
    • In your office, unit, area, etc., how many staff do you have whose sole purpose is to achieve the goals you have written above?
    • How many staff do you have that have a function in your office, but it is outside of the primary goals?
    • List the reasons for using resources to accomplish things that are not helping you to achieve your primary goals.
    • How can these functions be done differently and more efficiently to help you redirect efforts?
assessment vs show and tell
Assessment vs. Show and Tell
  • My approach to this session is not to tell you a story about UAB…
  • What are some methods of assessing your organization?
  • Where is there duplication of service or function?
  • How can resources be aligned with goals, strategies and priorities?
  • Are staff members in positions that match their strengths and expertise?
  • How can you improve the level of service and support for your students?
assessing your organization
Assessing your organization
  • Primary Goals:
  • Increase the number of incoming freshmen
  • Enroll more Alabama Community College Students
  • Develop an international recruitment plan
  • Provide students with a higher level of customer service
  • Increase the rate of student retention and graduation
  • Existing Structure:
  • Undergraduate Admissions had multiple roles
  • No one was in charge
  • Active international recruitment has not occurred in over 10 years
  • The “Blazer Shuffle” was in full effect
  • Students were dependent on advisors or other staff for guidance.
assessing your organization1
Assessing your organization
  • What functions or services have “found” their way into your operation over time?
    • Management of an off-site museum
    • Coordinated support services for New Horizons
    • Hosting English Conversation Classes for the Community
    • Managing duplicate records in the Student Information System
    • Hosting the annual Parents Club cook-out during Homecoming
    • Providing housing and linens for visiting scholars
    • Providing data to anyone at anytime without established priorities
    • Coordinating student organization advisement
    • Managing a pre-payment plan that serves 8 students
assessing your organization2
Assessing your organization
  • Critical elements of the process of assessment
    • It is NOT about the people in the roles
    • It cannot be done well in a piecemeal fashion
    • For every negative there should be a positive
    • What makes the most sense to the students and campus community
    • When given multiple responsibilities, which will be done at a high level
    • Eliminate silos through trust and communication
    • Put people in position to be successful through clearly articulated goals that play to their strengths
avoiding duplication
Avoiding Duplication
  • Duplication leads to waste and inefficiency
    • Five staff members in five separate offices responsible for scanning and indexing documents
    • Transfer recruitment efforts relied on another unit for information on course articulation
    • English conversation courses were being offered by ELCI, Graduate School and the Master’s Program in ESL
    • Both the Registrar and Academic Programs and Policies Office had processed for reviewing catalog content
    • Nine different staff members planned off-campus receptions or events in the same year
    • Several forms required signature approval from up to four different offices
aligning with goals
Aligning with Goals
  • GOAL: Increase the Number of incoming freshmen

So how do you achieve that goal?

  • Remove processing from Admissions and create Enrollment Management Operations
  • Create a Transfer Center that combines all Transfer Functions
  • Created New Student Programs to manage campus visits, event planning and orientation
  • Create a full-time position to leverage the full functionality of the CRM to provide analytics to drive decision making
  • Remove responsibility for readmission, transient and non-degree students to Operations.
aligning with goals1
Aligning with Goals
  • GOAL: Increase the Number of incoming freshmen

So how do you achieve that goal?

  • Centralize all communications in Enrollment Management to one operations to ensure brand and message consistency.
  • Eliminate admissions staff members responsibility during Summer Orientation
  • Review 3rd party expenditures and re-direct funding to resources that would generate inquiries
  • Manage web-sites centrally with evolving content based on the point in the cycle.
  • Through savings, added three additional recruitment staff
aligning with goals2
Aligning with Goals
  • GOAL: Enroll More Community College Students

So how do you achieve that goal?

  • Create a Transfer Center that combines all Transfer Functions
  • Develop joint admission programs with area community colleges
  • Centralized articulation services through the Transfer Center
  • Assigned transfer recruitment staff and select advisors to maintain an office presence at area community colleges
  • Automate course articulation through work flow system
  • Through savings, added two additional transfer recruitment staff
aligning with goals3
Aligning with Goals
  • GOAL: Develop and International Recruitment Plan

So how do you achieve that goal?

  • Partner with Student Life to manage the advisement of International Student Support Organizations
  • Worked with Housing to provide short-term housing options for students
  • Combined administrative support position and facility manager position
  • Worked with the Graduate Program in ELS to provide conversational English courses
  • Turned management of the off-campus museum over to campus facilities
  • Through savings, added an Associate Director of International Recruitment with a strong background in recruitment
aligning with goals4
Aligning with Goals
  • GOAL: Improve the level of student customer service

So how do you achieve that goal?

  • Created a One-Stop for student services located centrally in the Student Center
  • Reduced the number of service points to direct students to the One-Stop
  • Transitioned paper forms and processes to on-line resources that students could access 24X7
  • Worked in a collaborative fashion to have staff from key areas assist in the One-Stop during peak periods
  • Had One-Stop Counselors set up at move-in to assist with student questions
  • Developed goal of responding to all messages within 24 hours
aligning with goals5
Aligning with Goals
  • GOAL: Increase Retention and Graduation

So how do you achieve that goal?

  • Made the Registrar whole by combining two units
  • Invested in a fully functioning degree audit system and on-line catalog
  • Created an entirely on-line early alert system that is user friendly and connects alerts to advisors
  • Communications director developed messages for students deemed at risk based on multiple indicators
  • Developed a standardized class schedule
  • Provided academic schools and departments lists of enrolled students who were close to graduation within the 6-year window
new opportunities
New Opportunities
  • GOAL: Increase Enrollment

What do you discover along the way?

  • Recruiting Veterans and their dependents Military Bases
      • Those currently serving and those returning from active duty
      • All military reserve components
        • National Guard
        • Reserve Units, all branches
        • Military Hospitals
        • VA Resource Centers and Hospitals
      • On-Line Offerings
  • Develop a high level of service and a Veteran friendly campus environment
  • Number of enrolled students receiving Veteran’s benefits increase by over 100 in fall 2012
new opportunities1
New Opportunities
  • GOAL: Increase Enrollment

What do you discover along the way?

  • Development of a Social Media team
    • Specialized app that only allows admitted UAB students to join the facebook community
      • Introduced in January 2011
      • 1,702 - admitted students joined the community
      • 12,482 - student posts and 937 – questions asked
      • 1,825 – student conversations
      • Monitored by 27 current UAB students
  • Campaign Specific landing sites within facebook
  • Active Twitter monitoring and posting
  • Student portal with information relative to processes and content based on interests
how can you assess your campus
How can you assess your campus?
  • Large Scale Assessment
    • UAB had gone through a true transformation
    • A full scale restructuring was required
    • Review of best practices
    • Internal assessment by a small leadership team
    • External assessment by an outside consultant
    • Support of the administration
    • A comprehensive written plan and rationale document
  • Small Scale Assessment
    • How can you follow the same process?
      • Best practice does not depend on scope of the assessment
measuring outcomes
Measuring Outcomes
  • The new allocation of resources should have clear measures:
    • Prospect pool development
    • Inquiry conversion
    • Scope of travel
    • Savings through data driven decision making
    • “Admissionizing” the Financial Aid Process
    • Turnaround time in processing
    • Development of priorities based on importance of outcome
    • Changing the conversation within the Enrollment Management leadership team
      • What impact will this have on __________?
guiding principles
Guiding Principles

Doing the same thing and expecting different results…

  • In order to facilitate change you must do the following:
    • Make leadership and key constituents aware of the current structure
    • Validate common understanding of key goals
    • Create a vision of how an the goals could ideally be achieved
    • Compare the current mode of operation with the vision that you have shared
    • Provide process measures that will be in place after changes are made
    • Create a high level of buy in and support
      • -Teach leadership across campus the key talking points that support the changes being made.
international strategy
International Strategy
  • Actively recruit undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Promote English language training and conditional admission opportunities.
  • Develop key markets based upon:
    • Governmentally sponsored scholarships
    • National placement programs
    • Capacity for market growth
    • Leveraging key contacts that exist at UAB
    • 12% increase in new international students in 2012
change is hard
Change is hard.
  • Change involves people and is never easy
    • Work to find landing spots for displaced staff when possible
    • Collaborate and negotiate with colleagues to manage displaced functions
    • Prepare for snipers
    • Once the changes have been made present your vision for the future to anyone who will listen
  • Provide progress updates
    • Find avenues to demonstrate the outcomes of the change
    • Link goal achievement to new structure
    • Champion new staff and functions that were created as a result of change
  • Don’t fall in love with an idea, but give them time to work

Contact information:

Brent A. Gage, Ph.D.

Associate Provost for Enrollment Management

University of Alabama at Birmingham