Committee aims to soar straight to success

Faculty members aim higher on student enrollment

Shannan Lojeski, Assistant News Editor

After noticing a decline in new freshmen applications in 2017 after the largest first-year class of 2,220 students in 2016, Provost Susan Elrod and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Retention Matt Aschenbrener decided to take action.

   As a result, in spring 2018, Elrod and Aschenbrener organized the Strategic Enrollment Planning committee (SEP) at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

   With guidance from the consulting firm Ruffalo Noel Levitz, the SEP plan will be completed by the end of the 2019 spring semester.

   Eight work groups have agreed to support the SEP mission, including Whitewater Student Government (WSG), University Staff Council and an Academic Staff Assembly led by Department of Languages and Literatures chairwoman Elena Levy-Navarro.

   With many goals in mind, Aschenbrener said the committee hopes to strengthen enrollment from their initial marketing to family members/students and to review the current state of their student success on campus.

   The foundation of the process lies in the metrics and key performance indicators that will be used to identify ways to better the lives of future and current students.

   Elrod said she hopes that examination of the data will help students by improving their experience during the recruitment process.

   She added that in doing so, those individuals will be more likely to attend UW-W, become a part of the Warhawk Family and graduate. The metrics used will be released when the plan is completed at the end of spring.

   “Processes and procedures at UW-W including orientation (First Year Experience), the Registrar’s office and Financial Aid are under review to ensure they are achieving the highest level of student-focus,” said Elrod.

With the Strategic Enrollment Planning process, what we’re doing is developing new and innovative ways to tell the story of UW-W to ensure that we continue to be a popular choice among prospective students,” student and work group leader Corey Davis said.

   Through the SEP, faculty members will be acknowledged for the role they play in recruiting students. WSG will provide updates to students and faculty members later this year. 

   Greg Cook, a member of the Student Success work group, said students’ participation is a key factor to ensuring their overall success.

   “Students are involved in several of the working groups in the process … in addition, faculty and staff in the various working groups can consult with students for better ideas and feedback.”

   All members of the SEP team share their excitement in the progress to come and the strategic efforts that can affect recruitment for years to come.

   “Planning is an important part of maintaining a healthy and vibrant university. It’s better to be proactive and always improve what we do rather than simply being reactive to problems when they emerge,” Cook said.