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Articles: Enrollment & Retention

As the NBA season comes to a close, we are reminded of 10 year old Lebron James Jr., son of all-star Lebron James. Junior’s basketball skills have already garnered NCAA attention which led to Lebron James Sr. declaring his son “already got some offers from colleges” and that “it should be a violation. You shouldn’t be recruiting 10-year old kids”.

For most parents, 10 years old is too young to recruit – even for athletically and intellectually gifted children. Yet, this snippet of reality begs the real question: how early is too early for college recruitment?

More diverse student populations demand more of the health and wellness services offered on campus today. Colleges and universities must meet the unique needs of veterans, and students who are international, older, recovering from addictions, or who have physical or mental disabilities. Many schools are meeting this challenge by combining physical and mental health services under one roof, and even integrating recreation into the mix.

Commencement speakers have become another point of financial scrutiny in higher ed, with an annual flurry of students crying foul on both the person selected and fees incurred. Some colleges avoid charges by tapping their own faculty for the task (as University of Chicago has done since 1970). Others pursue prominent speakers willing to donate their services.

Getting a spring cancellation from a confirmed commencement speaker—particularly a high-profile one—is a planning team’s nightmare. Pepperdine University’s Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences had Sir Anthony Hopkins lined up to speak for its May 2 commencement, but a scheduling conflict for the actor called for a new plan. To the rescue: health technology entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos and the youngest female billionaire in America.

Mike Sapienza

The variety of challenges facing enrollment leaders are well documented: changing demographics, increased competition for students, scarce outcome data— and the list goes on. Resources are also limited, and so it is critically important for enrollment managers to measure the ROI of the initiatives they take and then adjust as necessary.

David Brond

I would be wealthy if I had a nickel for every time a member of the faculty, staff, administration or board said, “I didn’t realize you could help with that.”

Far too often, the marcom (marketing/communications) and public relations office is brought into a situation requiring communication to internal and external stakeholders late in the process. I have learned through experience that the more people understand what marcom professionals do, the better the outcome.

The growing view of higher education as a global commodity has driven many ambitious institutions to deepen their international presence by setting up shop overseas.

While still far from common practice, international branch campuses have risen from a worldwide total of 15 in 1995 to 231 in 2015, according to the Cross-Border Education Research Team (CBERT) at the State University of New York at Albany. Leading the charge are U.S. institutions, with 83 campuses abroad.

Seniors line up by Sweet Briar’s library prior to commencement. (Photo: Photo by Andrew Locascio/Sweet Briar College)

While higher ed leaders acknowledge a range of challenges, many say the shutting down of the 532-student Virginia women’s college does not signal doom for small institutions, including those that are single-sex, rural or religiously affiliated.

“Excuses” campaign messaging appears on buses, a billboard, bar coasters and coffee sleeves, as well as on radio and the web.

Admissions marketing pros have heard a wide variety of reasons why prospective students don’t believe they can go—or go back—to college.

Park University in Missouri’s “Excuses” campaign, wrapping up this spring, takes an entertaining approach to breaking down access barriers. Promos poke fun at excuses that range from “no pens” and “no matching socks” to “you’re not much of a morning, afternoon or evening person” and “my thumb drive is full.”

Let there be light—and trees and plants: The walkway connecting University of Regina’s Riddell Centre, which contains the student union and the main food service hub, and the Education Building, home to four academic programs, is an inviting space with plenty of daylighting.

A brighter alternative to the pedestrian tunnel is a ground-level enclosed pedestrian street. It’s a concept that the University of Regina in Saskatchewan has taken to the extreme.

Nearly 100 percent of the main campus buildings are connected by these walkways, which form a figure-8-like loop.

This University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill history department building is named for former student, North Carolina secretary of state and Ku Klux Klan member William Saunders.

As high-profile racial incidents on college campuses make headlines across the country, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is grappling with controversy surrounding Saunders Hall.

The history building—named for former student, North Carolina secretary of state and Ku Klux Klan member William Saunders—has spurred petitions and demonstrations by students and faculty demanding a name change.

Susan Henking is president of Shimer College in Chicago.

In a “post-racial” and “post-feminist” America, do we still need colleges and universities that serve women? If most institutions now admit those previously excluded, isn’t the disappearance of women’s colleges and historically black colleges, oddly, a good thing? Not in my view.

Kent Runyon is executive director of the Novus Medical Detox Center in Florida.

The U.S. makes up 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it consumes 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Additionally, 52 million people in the U.S. over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. With these statistics working against us, it’s no surprise that prescription drugs are being used illegally on college campuses.

Westfield State University’s Upvote campaign encourages positive Yik Yak messages.

Nearly half of the approximately 500 respondents (48 percent) to a UB reader survey said bullying and insults posted on Yik Yak make the social network and its app a “serious threat.” Nearly the same number of respondents said the network is “benign” and called it a fad that would fade over the next year.

College and university administrators, already aware of their obligations to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, (“Title IX”), are facing rapid changes and uncertainty in addressing the rights of transgender students. Though issues involving the rights of transgender students were rare as recently as a few years ago, it is likely that almost all post-secondary schools will need to accommodate the rights of transgender students in this decade.

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