The country’s first graduate course of study in enrollment management was officially launched in Fall 1998 when a group of students, many recruited from outside Florida, came to UM for their MSEd degrees expressly because of EM. By May 2018, UM had awarded 152 of those degrees to men and women who have taken EM to the corners of the nation and globe, and 10 more EM track students were graduated in May 2019.
As it settled the frontier of enrollment management—both a philosophy and a practice—the Higher Education Program steadily, year after year, enrolled working professionals and recent college grads in Master of Science in Education degrees and certificate programs. By 2006, a second track was added, Student Life & Development, and more recently a third, Institutional Research & Policy Analysis, a collaborative effort of the HE and Research, Measurement & Evaluation programs that is slated to go online in Fall 2020. The strength of the MSEd program enabled creation in 2008 of a doctoral program, which evolved into the Executive EdD in Higher Education Leadership, an intensive, low-residency cohort program for working professionals from all over the world.
In this 20th year of EM in HE, we celebrate our current students, alumni and faculty. We want to pay tribute to faculty members Drs. Patricia A. Whitely and Scott Ingold for their steadfast commitment from the start, and to acknowledge the support of John G. Haller, who has taught with us since he became vice provost for enrollment management in 2014. We thank alumni for sharing their stories and photos, which we’ve collected here—along with the memories of founders and faculty Paul Orehovec and Scott Ingold.
Paul and Scott conceived the initial curriculum, recruited the first students, taught its introductory and capstone courses, and were—and continue to be—advisors and guiding lights. The following are their thoughts provided for their students, friends, and colleagues:
From Paul M. Orehovec, former Executive Vice President for Enrollment Management & Continuing Studies, nationally known leader in EM, and higher education consultant:
It started in the Division of Enrollment Management with the many discussions that took place each and every day in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Although enrollment management was being discussed throughout the country, very few colleges and universities were implementing these new concepts on their campuses. Many institutions that claimed to have EM were actually limiting the focus to the recruitment of undergraduate students. At best, they had an organizational chart that usually included admission and financial aid. Often, the financial aid office reported to admissions.
At the University of Miami, we were raising questions and taking actions that did not appear to be on the radar anywhere else in the country: Why was the enrollment management focus solely on student recruitment? What were we doing to improve the relationships and success of current students? Why wasn’t everyone at the University invested in the recruitment, retention and success of students? Why wasn’t the enrollment management organization expanded well beyond its own reporting lines? How might we blur the lines so that everyone felt a part of the team?
So we launched a series of “experiments,” establishing new positions in the division to take us in new directions, which included marketing, market testing, intense data analysis, the use of mathematical techniques to determine policy, cross-country focus group analysis, and brainstorming. Only a handful of other universities were moving in this direction at the time; today, many have included these approaches or outsourced them to companies to do it for them. I remain intrigued by the fact that other universities don’t appear to have picked up on market testing, linear programming, or other calculus-based programming techniques.
Perhaps the more important experiment was attempting to become more inclusionary in the enrollment process. This meant that we wanted to include more administrative offices outside our division, along with more faculty, so we needed to train and teach a wide variety of campus colleagues on what EM could bring to a campus and how it could impact virtually every office.
At the same time, our own division was getting frustrated with the turnover in young staff. It seemed we would hire good, young people, spend one or two years training them, only to see them leave with these new skill sets. Scott Ingold and I thought long and hard about how we could address this scenario. Enrollment management was an emerging field, yet there was no formal training program. This led us to design and campaign for an academic experience that could provide a new cadre of professionals to step into the field with enhanced skill sets. This is what led us to build the first academic program in the country that would help prepare enrollment managers for this professional field. If we could pull it off, UM would be a working laboratory for EM development. It started out as one class, then two classes, then a certificate, then a master’s degree, and eventually a doctoral degree.
When we set out to design a master’s degree program in EM, we wanted the educational experience to bridge several academic areas, as this is what EM is all about. The core of the program would focus on four areas: enrollment management, education, research, and business (especially marketing). In addition, we wanted a capstone project, an activity to intimately involve students. We believed these core areas along with the capstone project would benefit the student greatly when moving into the professional job market. We wanted our graduates to be first in America with a degree focus on enrollment management. This was and still is an evolving field that professionals need to be able to jump into right away. Thus, the EM program in HE was born, a special and unique relationship between the School of Education and the Division of Enrollment Management.
As I look back, I pay particular attention to two aspects: teaching in the program and developing the program. I loved both. For me, every Wednesday at 5 p.m. was a transition into a special world where I could teach and learn (that’s right, learn). I enjoyed challenging everyone in class, and I enjoyed being challenged. I especially liked the case study method. I wanted each and every student to pick apart a case, analyze the data, and produce solutions to attack the problem.
Two experiences in particular taught me that EM works. The first was at a meeting we started called an Enrollment Meeting, where we invited colleagues from a range of campus offices that affected students. The thought was that if we could get people coming together on a weekly basis to discuss enrollment process issues, the system would work more smoothly. I was surprised (actually, shocked) when someone from the business area of the university pulled out a brochure draft and gave it to me. He asked if we could take some time during the week to review the brochure and see if it would help recruit students. I thought I was going to faint. I knew we had “made it” in the evolution of trying to get everyone on board with helping to recruit and retain students when this professional business manager understood the importance of his brochure’s role in this effort.
The second experience was when an academic advisor in Arts & Sciences signed up for our certificate program. She already had a doctorate and many successful years running her department, one of the best advising programs at the University. As the intro class moved through the semester, I realized that she already saw herself as an enrollment manager. Everything she did in class was to learn more about EM. Everything she did in her professional position was to put that EM knowledge to use. It was a joy to see how EM could be everywhere.
Over the years, I have witnessed the success that many universities have had because of incorporating the concepts of EM. I have talked with colleagues who have embraced all aspects of EM; they seem to be the ones who have enjoyed their careers the most and who have been the most successful. At the same time, as a consultant, I have witnessed institutions and professional colleagues who just don’t get EM. They continue to work in their own cells and don’t get the community behind their efforts. They dismiss the concept of EM. There is a reason college presidents hire consultants, and one is that their enrollment is falling and the campus does not have an enrollment management culture.
I have had a wonderful career. I like to tell people that I went to college in 1966 and never left until I retired. Even after retirement, through consulting, I remained involved in this great field of education. I also tell people that I started my career in 1967 as a Resident Assistant (RA). I learned so much in that role that I took with me. I guess that means I have been at this for over 50 years. I have so many things to look back on with fond memories. The EM course of study and its students and faculty colleagues is one of my favorites. You have all taught me a lot.
From Scott Ingold, former Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Registrar, current Executive Director, Enrollment Management Systems and Analytics, and adjunct faculty, School of Education & Human Development:
During the AACRAO conference in 1991, I talked with Ernie Beals, who was developing a doctoral program in enrollment management at Georgia State University. Ernie was excited about his new program, but as it turned out, approval and funding hit a snag and the program never got off the ground. At the University of Miami at that time, the Higher Education Program was experiencing recruitment and enrollment challenges. Its program director, Dr. Tom Angelo, led an assessment that indicated an academic track in EM might bolster the program. Once that opportunity arose, Paul Orehovec and I ran with it. I can remember spending hours developing the curriculum with Paul to present to the faculty. Fortunately, and based on our areas of expertise, we not only developed the curriculum but also developed a marketing plan. The faculty was extremely supportive, allowing us to use our plan to recruit a new cohort of students from outside the university (historically, the program had been losing money by enrolling university staff who used tuition remission).
We piloted our first EM class during the Spring 1998 term with nine students. Paul and I continued to team-teach the introductory and capstone classes until the Fall 2010 term. During those years, we taught over 175 students (in the introductory classes), hiring many as staff members and assisting in the job search for others once they completed the program. All in all, a strong job market existed for our graduates.
I’ve worked in higher education for over 42 years—more, if you count my years in residence halls as a graduate assistant. During most of that time, I’ve had the opportunity to teach, first undergraduate students at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University and then master’s and doctoral students at the University of Miami. Teaching has been a labor of love, especially when I think back on all the students I had the pleasure of working with. I count on each of you who followed a career path into higher education to continue the legacy of bringing the enrollment management philosophy learned in class to your institutions.
EM is vital to the university's having not only the right number of students but also the right students, who will retain and succeed . . . I most enjoyed the faculty, whose experience and true passion for EM really comes across in their teaching.
Studying EM was a unique experience, engaging students in experiences with professionals working in the field instead of sitting in a lecture hall and learning strictly from text. The program afforded me the opportunity to network with professionals both at UM and institutions nationwide. I credit my current employment to the program’s hands-on approach to understanding EM and the real conversations about the higher education landscape. In my position, I have been involved in enhancing business processes and developing technological solutions to increase staff efficiency and enrollment numbers.
The HE/EM program gave me the foundation to work in a variety of higher education settings. At the core is the importance of synergy, open communication, coordination, and assessment. Strategic thinking and planning were key takeaways. I gained the ability to assess the big picture as well as focus on the day-to-day factors affecting the students and the institution. Daily, I use the skills gleaned from the program.
I left UM in 2005 to come to FIU in the College of Business as an academic advisor. Without my degree in EM/Higher Ed, I never would have been able to move up the chain at FIU so quickly. By the end of 2006, I was director of advising for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and by 2008, was assistant dean of the Honors College, where I had direct oversight of admissions, recruitment, retention, and graduation. In 2016, I joined the faculty of the Honors College to teach full time. I very much owe my career in higher education to EM. The program and work experience it afforded me are now contributing immensely to my role as a faculty member.
I’m finishing up my eighth year of teaching at Palomar College, where I earned tenure four years ago. For the last three years, I have served as Faculty Senate president. I’m co-chair (with the Vice President for Instruction) of our Strategic Enrollment Management Committee; I helped initiate the committee and worked to draft our college’s first ever strategic enrollment management plan. I use the skills and knowledge I learned in the program every day as I help to break down silos at Palomar and move us forward as an institution that puts students at the center of everything we do.
EM was exactly what I wanted and needed personally and professionally. It was on the forefront of cutting-edge solutions and applications in higher education, and I continually apply the principles learned almost every day. I am the Project Manager/Advising-Transfer Specialist of a five-year, $6 million Title III Grant at HCC, and I began my Doctor of Education degree at the University of St. Francis in Fall 2018. I strongly feel that without the program, my peers, and professors, I would not be where I am today.
What a deserved milestone for the program. For the past four years, I have been at Borough of Manhattan Community College, managing student affairs communications to retain our 27,000 students. I have no doubt that the strength of the program contributed to my hiring, especially having an innovative capstone portfolio to bring to the interview. The two-track Enrollment Management/Student Life & Development degree/certificate options are also noteworthy. I look back fondly on the program as a family of dedicated, knowledgeable professors and a cohort of classmates eager to learn.
Awareness and intentionality are two invaluable qualities that Higher Education program faculty were able to inspire. Realizing what you do, how you do it, and who you involve has made all the difference in connecting the classroom experience to professional practice, and this has been the key to all of my professional successes.
EM taught us principles that the rest of higher education is just beginning to leverage today. The tools the program provided have allowed me to not only fast track my career, but also ensure that I am a leader on which my institution and profession can rely.
Hard to believe it is 20 years! I’m in my 18th year at Villanova University as Senior Associate Director of Admission. Needless to say, I use my EM degree on a daily basis and continue to appreciate the degree personally and professionally. The degree is particularly impactful when trying to predict the enrollment for the next year’s class (especially being in our second year of Early Decision). There’s never a dull moment!
For a graduate who works at UM, the greatest advantage of the program has been to build an active network that benefits me in my job. By serving as a judge for the program’s practicum poster presentations every year and participating in other events, I have managed to create connections that have led to fruitful collaborations, which exemplifies EM.
The principles I learned in EM have aided me in both my professional and personal life. I use strategic planning in everything from aiding my clients in reaching their institutional goals to preparing for my next family vacation. Forecasting, program evaluation, the 4 C’s/P’s, all provided management training that continues to serve me well as a business owner, postsecondary education consultant, author, and speaker. I am grateful for the privilege to be part of the amazing 20-year EM legacy!
As an EM student in the Higher Education Program, I was immersed in projects that prepared me for my current role as college recruiter. I’m making informed decisions daily based on data and tools I acquired to be innovative in my recruitment practices. The HE program allowed me to dive into the EM world and led me to where I am now.
How grateful I am for the lessons learned in EM. I’ve had a very satisfying professional career, and it’s all because of the way Paul, Scott, and Carol-Anne prepared us. The case studies, the case study method, readings, papers, and the capstone course fundamentally shaped the way I manage my professional roles. I teach first-year experience classes using case studies, and I have taught them to use the case study method as an approach to solving problems.
If I had to "do it all over again," I would choose the EM program every single time. I'm convinced today that Paul and Carol-Anne saw the Enrollment Management Geek in me before I even knew she existed, and I've been discovering her and nurturing her in the years since completing the degree. Today, I am humbled to think that I’m in an admissions senior leadership position at Caltech, where I have been a part of materially changing the enrollment demographics of the undergraduate population in my four years here. I am also now in my second year as a Ph.D. student in Colorado State University's Higher Education Leadership Program. All of this has been possible because of my EM foundation built at Miami.
I enjoyed the program’s focus on data-driven decision-making, predictive modeling, and strategic planning. While a full-time student, I also worked full time at UM as an assistant director in admission. I was able to use the knowledge gained to tackle projects and improve several programs in real time. Upon graduation, I became an assistant dean of admissions, and I now work on the Pomona College Access Team (PCAT) and with the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), both aimed at increasing enrollment and supporting underrepresented students.
The Enrollment Management Program provided a great blend of theory and practice. I was able to formulate connections between what I was actively learning in the program’s interdisciplinary curriculum and my day-to-day practice in enrollment management; it was definitely worth the investment.
When I started the program more than six years ago, I was an office assistant in UM’s Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment. I’m now Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission at UM. Without the program, I wouldn’t have progressed in such a short time frame.