University reorganizes admissions area to match recruitment plans

by Cheryl Roland
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University is doing a major restructuring of its admissions infrastructure in order to meet strategic recruitment goals that include a dramatic boost in the number of out-of-state students attending WMU.

The new structure is the latest step in a process that began this spring with a reduction in nonresident tuition charged and a change to the way the University handles assignment of nonresident status, says Dr. Terrence M. Curran, associate provost for enrollment management, who is in his first year at WMU.

"This is absolutely critical to our recruitment plans," Curran says. "We need to refocus our efforts so that there's a greater emphasis on recruiters being on the road and taking the WMU name farther and deeper into markets we've carefully selected for attention."

Curran says he and Admissions Director Dachea Hill have been evaluating the unit's structure over the past several months, and they've decided to convert nine assistant director positions to two-year term positions starting July 1. A one-year extension will be available for individuals who exhibit a high level of success in the position. Eight of the nine positions are currently occupied and the incumbents have been notified they may apply for one of the new positions or be considered for positions elsewhere on campus.

"We'll be conducting a national search for people we can train on how to take the WMU message on the road, work closely with WMU alumni and recruit in states we've identified as having high potential," Curran says. "We're looking at California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida and Arizona."

Curran says the positions are intentionally designed as shorter-term roles in recognition of the intense travel expectations. The new admissions recruiters hired will also be set up in clearly defined teams that focus on either transfer admissions or new freshman recruitment.

"This will have an impact both in our Michigan and out-of-state recruiting," Curran says.  "In Michigan, we'll maintain territories and keep working with those schools for which we have long-established ties, but we'll be more intentional and more visible even in those locations."

Michigan enrollment currently accounts for 84 percent of WMU's total student body, while nonresident U.S. students account for 7.8 percent of enrollment. Curran says ultimately, he'd like to see the latter figure grow closer to 30 percent—a move the university can accommodate while still providing opportunity to all qualified Michigan students.

WMU's official enrollment total for fall 2016 was 23,252. Graduate enrollment makes up 21 percent of the total.

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