WMU News

Enrollment strategy features 'Three Rs'

March 1, 2005

KALAMAZOO--"Recruit, Renew, Retain" was the mantra shared with a crowd of more than 250 faculty and staff members Feb. 10, as Western Michigan University officials introduced a new vice provost for enrollment management and outlined WMU's new recruitment and retention strategy.

"You are the reason students choose Western Michigan University," President Judith I. Bailey told the crowd. "Each of us has a reason why we love Western, and each of us has a responsibility to share that enthusiasm with students. Today is all about renewing ourselves and reaching out to students."

Focused leadership and attention to both graduate and undergraduate enrollment is at the heart of the university's enrollment management strategy, she said.

John Beacon, who began as vice provost for enrollment management Feb. 1, laid out his philosophy and contrasted an enrollment management approach with the more traditional focus on admitting new students. Enrollment management, he said, is a campuswide plan to recruit and retain students that is coordinated across reporting lines and recognizes students as customers. The focus needs to be as much on retention as on recruitment.

"We're losing one of every four students we admit," he noted, referring to first-year retention rates.
WMU's long-term plan will include clearly defined recruitment and retention goals, use of financial assistance to meet goals, carefully targeted communications that use a common theme, development of a prospect pool, and careful evaluation and tracking of efforts.

Gail Straus, senior consultant with the Chicago consulting firm Lipman Hearne, introduced what she called a back-to-basics plan that will focus on "the three Rs--Recruit, Renew, Retain." She told the audience that a campuswide committee has developed 18 solid strategies ready for immediate use.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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