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Who values the liberal arts?

“Why did I have to take that math class?”

“First year seminar?  Are you kidding me? I don’t need to learn how to study!”

“Ugh, what’s the point of a common book? I want to be an accountant!”

“When will I need to know who was the 10th president of the United States?”

These questions are common of first-year college students, particularly those at a liberal arts school like Doane College, in Crete, Nebraska. And, to an extent, they are understandable. Today, possibly more than ever, I read blogs, articles, and comments challenging the value of a liberal arts degree. Enrollment managers and admissions professionals at liberal arts colleges around the nation, particularly those of us at colleges without national acclaim, address this question every day with prospective students.

But, truth be told, all of higher education is being challenged today relative to the value it brings. I’ve read research that justifies the value of a liberal arts degree, but also the value of a college degree in general. And for every article I find, I anticipate reading an online rebuttal. We want black and white data which gives us an absolute guarantee in the value, nevermind the fact that every student is different and controls in large part their ability to be successful both during and after college. Moreover, how many students have completed an undergraduate degree at both a liberal arts college and a public university in order to give what may be the best opportunity to create a real comparison?

So, instead of that elusive black and white apples to apples comparative data, liberal arts college admissions reps rely heavily on success stories, testimonials, quotes from HR managers who hire their graduates and CEO’s who believe in the liberal arts. This has an effect no doubt, and yet we all understand that the liberal arts college experience isn’t for everyone. And, for the moment, let’s keep the issue of cost out of this conversation because I think that muddies the water a bit and easily gets people wound up. Personally, I get a bit riled up when I read articles supporting liberal arts programs only to see crude, disparaging comments attacking those of us that believe in the value. Some will see value while others will not.

Here is my reality.

I’m from the small town of Wahoo in rural Nebraska. My graduating class was less than 100 students. I was a good student who participated in a number of activities including choir, band, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, football, basketball, track, and baseball. I had a paper route and detassled corn in the summer for money.  I took the ACT two times (only because my mom required me to do so hoping that I would get a higher score the second time and earn more scholarship money – nope!) and applied for colleges in the fall of my senior year. I applied to large schools and small schools alike to make sure I had “options”. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to continue to play basketball in college and quickly learned that not many NCAA Division I universities were calling me. But, that was okay because I was being drawn to these liberal arts colleges for some reason. The community feel and size quickly became appealing to me.

I enjoyed a class project my high school senior year in English Composition which required students to research a potential career. For me it was desktop publishing. This was an evolving profession in the early 90’s, particularly as computers really gained capabilities. I was not an artist, but for some reason graphics were of great interest. Ultimately I chose Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, as my college because it afforded me both basketball and graphic design opportunities while also offering the comfortable environment for which I was looking.

As a liberal arts college, Morningside required me to take a smorgasbord of courses that were not in my major; math, science, history, Spanish, and sociology to name a few. But, like most students I wondered why I needed those courses.  After all, I was an art major.  In addition, the college required me to participate in a speaker series which did not require homework but simply required me to show up and pay attention (the latter wasn’t always easy). And, my professors required me to participate in class. With only 20 students in my first-year English Comp class, the professor did not allow me to sit in the back of the class. He expected participation.  Even more scary, upper division classes required collaborative work in teams. YUCK! Finally, I was required to participate in a first-semester class which focused on study habits, adapting to college, and other trivial, yet ultimately useful information.  I was challenged every day and pushed outside my comfort zone while at the same time feeling supported by faculty and administration.

The above experience is not for everyone. But it was for me.

Although I enjoyed my major, it became clear to me during my senior year that I was simply not talented enough at graphic design.  I did not have the confidence necessary for it to be my ultimate career path. Can you imagine that feeling during your senior year? Yes you can, because many of you had it! It was at that time that I leaned on everything else that I learned through my college experience that prepared me to go out and find the job that started my career. Coincidentally – and like many others that I know – I found my first job as a result of a recommendation by a mentor at the college. This administrator helped me make a professional connection which landed me my first job. This is very common at small, liberal arts colleges. Who you know does matter!

I now work at Doane College, also a liberal arts college so yes, I “sell” this experience every day, but only because I believe in it as a result of what it did for me personally. I use math everyday, much more than I ever thought I would. I use graphic design much more than I thought I would, given my role as an administrator. I write more than I anticipated I ever would.  I wish I would have taken more Spanish and enjoyed history class more than I did. I value the lessons learned in a safe environment in college related to collaborative and group work because the real world is a challenge requiring people to work together. To this day I could call up or email my former professors across many disciplines at the college and they would reply.  Some receive my family’s annual holiday card. I’m glad I was forced to learn to study and use the library and research tools.

Bottom line is that a liberal arts education has been around for a long time and while it has evolved to meet the needs of today’s students, the foundation is still very present. We educate people to be life-long learners and adapt to the careers of tomorrow. We require students to take coursework that they won’t completely appreciate until 5, 10 or maybe even 20 years down the road.

A student with a 3.5 GPA in high school can likely be successful at both a large, public institution as well as a small liberal arts college. The true success is matching up the student with the type of college they want/need. So, the question is not whether liberal arts has a value, the more appropriate question is does liberal arts have a value to you?

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Higher Education

What if you could start over?

One-course-at-a-time, gap-year, 2-year programs, and on-line programs!  Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all in higher education.  Today, higher education is challenging historical and traditional practices.  Parents want to know outcomes!  They want programs that translate into results.  They want to know what “works”.  Why does a bachelor’s degree take four years?  Why is college typically relegated to two semesters or three trimesters between September and May?  Who makes these rules and are we confident that there isn’t a better way?

Like a little kid, one of my favorite questions is “why”.  The questions above are great examples of questions I ask myself often.  And most recently, I asked if Doane College can graduate a student in less than four years.  The answer led me to try and impact our approach to AP tests and dual-credit coursework.  Although Doane College is a 4-year traditional college, we are taking steps to think differently.  Today, Doane College is rolling out a 3-year graduation program in which certain majors are backed by a 3-year graduation guarantee.

As a quick digression, Doane College has offered a 4-year graduation guarantee for many years.  We were one of the first to offer such a guarantee and the first in the state of Nebraska.  I believe the 4-year guarantee is a component of our culture and while the 4-year guarantee red-tape can be duplicated almost anywhere, I’m not certain that the culture can.  In that same vein, I look at the new 3-year program.  This is not rocket science.  The academic requirements for graduation have not changed.  Instead, we’ve packaged our academic programs with the understanding that a student may choose to accelerate their educational experience.  In the event they want to do that, we provide them the road map.  But make no mistake; this is not for the faint of heart.  Eighteen credits a semester and summer coursework wasn’t in my college plans, but it is for some students today, particularly those that have already taken over 24 college credits while in high school.  And by the way, we have a few Doane students graduating in three years without this program.

Now, before even the first faculty member says, “you can’t do that,” I say yes, we can and yes we are.  Today, high school students are taking more college level dual-credit courses and AP tests than ever before.  And I believe they are doing this because they believe there is a benefit to doing so.  They believe they are getting ahead.  Moreover, high schools are helping to facilitate programs to encourage more college coursework prior to graduation.  But, how many colleges and universities are acknowledging this openly and actually embracing this proactive approach to college?  If a first-year college student enrolls with 36 credits, doesn’t it stand to reason that they consider themselves at the sophomore level relative to credits earned?  And, furthermore, if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that they need only three more years to graduate in college.  If that’s not true, why are we talking about college being four years?  Shouldn’t we talk about it being four-and-a-half or five years?  (Truthfully, there are colleges that do speak to honest fact that it takes more than four years at their school).  Why would high schools encourage their students to do college coursework before high school graduation without some understanding of a benefit?

The four-year model is tried and true and a tough mold to break.  But, I believe colleges and universities should embrace the fact that there are quality students working hard in high school with expectations of getting ahead both academically and financially.  More importantly, colleges must get in the game and respond appropriately with packaged programming that helps a student to leverage pre-college credit toward an accelerated degree plan.  Obviously this assumes that the student wants this.  A student could also want to double or triple major.  They could want to study abroad.  They could want to stop out for a year.  All these options are acceptable and may prolong any accelerated program to four years or beyond.  That’s not the point.  The point is that there are students who want this and their current success in graduating in three years is often predicated on the strong collaboration with a faculty advisor who shepherds the student through any red tape.  I vote for making it easier for a student to see these opportunities.  Notice I didn’t say make it easier to graduate.  In fact, I think it goes without saying that graduating in three years is more rigorous than a four year plan.

A three-year program isn’t a game-changer in higher education.  In fact, changing higher education today is difficult and requires patience.  But, who doesn’t like to dream?  To that end, give some thought to this question.   What would you do if you could start your own college and take advantage of all the lessons learned over time?  Start fresh!  Would you use one-course-at-at-time?  Would you use a hybrid approach to online and classroom work?  Would your program encompass year-round programming?  Would you require an urban plunge or an international experience?  Would you require an internship?  Would you still require the liberal arts?  This all gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.  Part of me fears the pace of educational change is impacted more by the inability to insert new ideas into old structure.  So, what if you could start over?

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Higher Education Marketing

Branding Inside-Out

In higher education, I believe the most important audience to influence when launching a brand is the internal audience; more specifically faculty and staff.  I liken it to a popular saying (although slightly modified), “Keep your friends close and your critics closer.”   I believe the culture of an academic institution requires even greater attention to branding strategies internally prior to any external launch.  In academia, it is encouraged to challenge theory, practice, and concepts.  It’s a kind of safe place where voicing personal opinions are encouraged much more beyond what I believe you would find in any commercial industry.  I just don’t see a factory line manager emailing the company CEO criticizing the company branding campaign.  Please share with me if I’m wrong here.  But, this happens in higher education.

Successful adoption of a brand internally requires dedicated attention by the marketing and leadership team.  Let’s be fair, with almost any new idea or concept, we have those that are on-board.  We have those in the middle who seek rationale and edcuation for them to buy-in.  And finally, we have those who will always find fault regardless of fail-safe rationale.  They cannot be wooed.  Nevertheless, we can’t assume that the middle group will become any level of brand ambassador without appropriate attention.  Moreover, effective buy-in may take time and therefore cannot be obtained with a single-moment experience. It must be a campaign.  It must be an important strategic initiative to a brand launch in higher education, equally if not more critical than the external launch.

Last November, Doane College launched our new brand, the “College of” Campaign.  We began with an event to introduce the brand concept and educate the internal community on how it came to be.  We made our case and asked the campus community to partner with us to help build the brand.  This event was just the beginning.  As we launched the external campaign, we continued to build the brand internally with social media, email signatures for the new brand, t-shirts, approved slogans, and also campus signage.  Although I’m not satisfied that we’ve gone far enough to this point, I do acknowledge that we are making progress.  Having said that, some of our critics will share concern for higher education becoming too commercialized.   My response; Absolutely!

A singular example (albeit relatively small in scale) epitomizing the culture change that we are trying to encourage at our historically conservative Midwest college is the addition of a large brand slogan on a bright orange wall in our renovated cafeteria.  This replaced a very nice mural that had been there for some time.  I have no doubt that this created consternation with some campus community members.  But, it also caught their attention and it will catch other’s attention.  Our approach to this brand is not guided by conservatism or being safe.  Rather, we are interested in taking more of a bold approach in order to capture the attention of those that currently are not seeing us or hearing our message.  We cannot expect to reap the rewards of a strong brand that is sheltered and saved only for billboards and radio advertising.  A brand provides an opportunity for personal reflection and ownership.  A brand, particularly in colleges and universities, evokes a very strong sense of pride.

Doane Cafe Photo

High Point University:  An example of a strong internal brand.

I had a great opportunity this last spring to visit High Point University (HPU) in High Point, North Carolina.  HPU is a perfect example of a university that embraced a brand and leverages that brand to the fullest extent.  HPU has undergone an incredible transformation in the last 5-10 years.  The purpose of our visit was to engage Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU President, in a conversation about growth and their incredible success transforming a struggling college to a thriving university in a short period of time.  A little research will tell you quite a bit about their transformation.  It required and continues to require substantial financial investments in their core business to be better and better.  And, while I was interested in learning much on my half-day campus visit, I did not expect to leave with such an incredible first impression that was the incredible result of their brand.

HPU embraced a branding campaign on steroids which included significant investment in on-campus branding.  Everywhere you were on campus, it was clear that you were a HPU community member.  The feeling of belonging was tough to ignore as a result of signage and other unique attributes.  This got me thinking.  I believe HPU did a tremendous job creating an internal culture of excitement and pride.  And, it wasn’t about athletic pride!  Instead, they took their mission and created an opportunity to brand themselves internally…basically selling a dream to their students, faculty, and staff.  They inspire the campus to “Be Extraordinary”.  On just about every door on campus you will find ‘Be Extraordinary”.  Walk into the cafeteria, you will find large banners, “Be Extraordinary”.  The campus is branded with their colors of purple, black, and white.  It is impossible to leave the campus without easily understanding what they stand for.  They’ve made it simple.

I’m on a mission with our Strategic Communications Team to brand Doane’s campus with aggressive vitality over the course of the next two years.  I want this to be a place where it’s impossible to not feel the incredible pride and confidence in our mission and purpose.  I want our campus to be the place where prospective students step onto campus and get goose bumps.  I want faculty and staff to walk across campus and read and see visual symbols of what makes this a special place.  Wherever you are on campus, I want it to be obvious you are on Doane’s campus.  You are a Doane Tiger, or you wish you were.

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Higher Education

A hybrid proposal to the gap year.

Have you heard of the “gap year” concept?  Basically, the concept suggests that a student should consider taking a year between high school and college to work, explore, and mature.  It’s the notion that a seamless and immediate transition from high school to college may not be the best approach to career preparation. While there may be some truth to that, I don’t believe too many colleges outwardly support this idea out of fear that a much greater number of students would ultimately choose not to attend college especially with today’s already frustrating college-going rates. Frankly, I’m not interested in arguing the value of a college degree in this post.  Instead, I’m interested in exploring the idea of the gap year under a different structure – a way to leverage the perceived value of that “real world” experience within the confines of a college experience and curriculum structure.

What I like about the gap year concept is two-fold.  First, I think it provides an individual time to get out of high school mode and really think about what they want to do in order to make the best college decision for him or her.  Rather than make a “safe” choice (or even too radical a choice), a little time in the real world might just ignite something within the student’s soul.  Second, I think students should try to find a job and work full-time for a period of time if for no other reason than to realize that minimum wage or even slightly better may not pay for that car they want or that trip they want to take; let alone paying for cable and utilities.

Now, consider a college that takes this gap year concept and makes employment a component of the general curriculum.  Here is my vision (albeit potentially oversimplified). A college requires second-year students to enroll in “Real World 200”.  Consider the following course requirements:

  • Students must seek and ultimately secure full-time employment.
  • Students must maintain a daily journal.  Content is focused on what they learn each day from experiences interacting with others, following orders, meeting expectations, etc.
  • Students must participate in a 2-hour course during each semester focused on discussion of the job, what they learn, what they like, don’t like and ultimately what it’s helping them to learn – finances, getting to work, etc.
  • Students must complete a course paper related to what they learned and how they will use what they learned to improve their college experience and opportunities in their final two years.

My vision is a full-year program providing 16 credits per semester (14 credits for employment and 2 credits for the course discussion).  Ultimately, the student’s grade is based on participation in the 2-hour course, securing a job, the daily journal entries, and a final paper.

I completely recognize that this concept has not been vetted to satisfy many reading this post.  While many may seek to identify reasons that this won’t work, I wanted to share my idea for bigger purpose – I’d like to encourage college faculty and administrators to consider looking at general curriculum differently.

There are colleges that approach learning one course at a time. There are colleges that don’t issue grades.  There are colleges that don’t have a general curriculum program.  Colleges are being challenged at local, state, and the national level to produce greater results to substantiate the cost.   Rating and ranking systems are being introduced to suggest that we can arbitrarily determine the quality of a college in comparison to all others.  I don’t see this pressure going away soon and while I don’t endorse government-created rating systems, I do appreciate the notion that education must evolve at a greater pace than it has.  And, this isn’t the responsibility of government.  This is our responsibility in higher education.  We should challenge the traditional approach to college education.  Is four years the right amount of time in college?  Does time really matter?  Are 16 credits the right amount of credits per semester?  Is a 2-semester system still the right approach?

Colleges and universities are in a dogfight with each other for students, particularly in the Midwest.  What if we embrace being different not just to be different but because different may produce better results?  Change is hard.  Change takes time.  Admission offices recruit students differently today compared to five years ago.  Recruiting offices are adapting because they must to secure enrollment objectives.  I believe there are many people like me in higher education (faculty and staff) who have day-dreamed about doing things differently, but unfortunately our lives get in the way and we quickly fall back into doing most the same way we’ve done it in the past.

For you dreamers out there, what do you think of my idea for a “Real World 200”, or better yet, do you have your own idea(s) that you believe would challenge the traditional methods of education and ultimately improve our students’ experience? Don’t focus on being realistic and conservative.  Some of the best ideas stem from being unrealistic and radical. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  What is your idea?

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Enrollment Management

We are in sales!

I still remember a conversation I had with a gentleman when I was about 23 years old.  He was recruiting me to sell life insurance – New York Life I think.  I listened.  He wanted me!  Nevertheless, I was scared by what I thought was a stigma of selling life insurance.  Little did I know that everything I would do in my career shared many commonalities to that of a successful insurance salesman…cold calls, making appointments, managing a schedule, marketing, communication.  Nevertheless, no regrets.   I didn’t think I wanted to be in sales. How naive was I?  We are all in sales one way or the other.  We are either selling a product or selling ourselves.

Sales often gets a bad rap.  Is it because people believe that someone in sales is trying to convince or trick you to buy something that you don’t need or want?  We treat the word “sales” with kid gloves in higher education, particularly with faculty.  I’ve been told, “Don’t use the word sales.  It makes them (faculty) uncomfortable.”  The words “recruitment” and “enrollment management” are so much better right?  But, the truth is that those of us in higher education, particularly recruitment and enrollment management, are in sales.  It’s what we do.  We have something of value that people pay for.  Often the more important question we ask is how much will people will pay for the value we provide.  As a result, we must justify our value and rightfully so.  Today, more than ever, students and parents are questioning the value of private college education.  College administrators are spending much more time today on providing outcomes of a degree and establishing a value proposition.  People must expect outcomes or value from what they buy.  Regardless of your role; whether it’s admission counselor, faculty, coach, music director, aid officer, the job is to articulate the value of the product.  We sell our college experience.

Response to recent blog comment connected to sales:

Following my last blog, I received a quick text from a friend…we’ll call him Jim.  Jim tactfully accused me of taking advantage of the word “guarantee”, possibly overusing it.  He felt the word guarantee was too strong.   We have a 4-Year Graduation Guarantee at Doane College.  He had remembered years ago when we worked together and I scoffed at the notion of any type of guarantee in higher education calling it a gimmick.  I remember and he was right.  At the time, I felt it was a gimmick.  Anyone can offer a guarantee provided they are ready to back it up.  In our line of work, it’s tough to offer satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.  The outcome of an education isn’t always that tangible.

At Doane College, we’ve had our guarantee for many years.  In fact, we were the first in the state to offer this.  It’s a signed contract between the student and the college faculty and administration.  The student does their part and the college does theirs, the result is graduation in four years.  It’s not rocket science.  In fact, it’s what students and parents expect.  But, they also know it doesn’t happen as much as people would like.

Over time other institutions have implemented a similar guarantee.  For example, Midland University did so just recently.  So, to my point, anyone can do this.  Or can they?  You see, the value of our 4-year Graduation Guarantee isn’t in the signed contract between the student and the president.  The value is in the ownership that our faculty have in the foundational reason for the guarantee.  At Doane, the faculty feel like it is their duty to graduate our students in four years, if not sooner.  This became obvious to me when I first got to campus and began to watch how our faculty interacted with students during advising.  But, we don’t just stop there.  We also have what we call our HELPS program which stands for Higher Education Life Planning Systems.  This program supports our alumni whose chosen field just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.  It provides two semesters of free tuition to graduates who have gone into the workplace and not been able to flourish.  It brings them back to campus for coursework to prepare for better career opportunities.  So, in a way, it is satisfaction guaranteed, or come back for free.

So yes, anyone can create a contract and implement a guarantee.  But that doesn’t mean the culture is any different.  The culture at Doane College has been around for many, many years and the 4-Year Guarantee is a component of our beliefs and our values.  Similar, our HELPS program takes the guarantee to the next step.  This is not a sales gimmick.  This is not purely administrative.  It’s a way of life on our campus and one that I believe cannot be easily copied.

QUESTION TO READERS:  This is one man’s opinion on sales in higher education.  I welcome thoughts from others.  Tell me, do you believe admission counselors are (or should be) sales representatives or are they purely advisors/counselors to prospective students/parents?

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Uncategorized

The quest for the silver bullet.

Silver Bullet

Silver bullet?  What silver bullet?  I’ve been in higher education since 1998 working both in admissions and advancement.  I’ve participated in and directed discussions that lamented over what to do differently to achieve substantially greater results.  In almost every discussion it seems that we are most often looking for the one thing, that elusive silver bullet, which will turn water into wine.  As my Director of Admission says, “there is no silver bullet.”

He’s right but that doesn’t stop us from hoping that there is so these discussions continue.  Nevertheless, as realists we make sure we don’t spend too much time in imaginary land because it is highly unlikely that one strategic initiative from the admission office will achieve substantially different enrollment results.  Maybe it’s more productive to put time and energy into many strategic initiatives that help to move the needle together.  Staying true to my athletic background, I’ll use this analogy.  A star player can make a tremendous impact on a team; even win some games seemingly by themselves.  But, typically championships require a not only a few substantially talented individuals, but also a great “supporting cast”, a game plan that evolves adding new plays and different schemes, a crowd that supports the team, great coaching, and great ownership.  Great teams adapt and are always looking to get better throughout the season.  Teams that want to go from good to great, don’t make just one move in the off-season or even during the season.  Even those that are considered great must continue to evolve or complacency catches up.

This summer while in the same conversations of the past, we decided that we were going to try many new approaches with the plan that while not all will be home-runs, each of them together has real potential to help move the needle.  In fact, a colleague of mine challenged me.  He said, “Do one thing new every week.”  That proves to be very difficult but in the spirit of competition, I gave it a go.  It pushed (and continues to push) me every day to think forward.

We can easily put too much time and energy into one strategy and then we wait to determine if it actually works.  That’s frustrating!  I want to look for new ideas, new strategies, and continue to implement new programs anticipating that some will hit while others may miss.  I’m not arguing for the “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” approach.  We still have to have a critical eye.  But, I want continual forward thinking.  Every plan is a working plan which should be continually adjusted.  This approach is particularly difficult for me.  I’m one that likes to create a plan and then work the plan with limited deviation.  In the world of traditional college enrollment, we deal with the traditional year-long cycle – often it takes a year (or more) to see results from our strategies.  We assess the results and make changes and then go again.  I don’t feel I can afford to be that traditional anymore.  I need to be more flexible; more innovative.

A buddy of mine read my first two blogs and provided some well-deserved constructive criticism.  He said, “You can suck me in and, yet, really not offer specifics.”  In that vein, I’ll give some specifics a try.  Here are a number of our new initiatives:

  • We launched a new senior advantage program for area high school students to take college courses for $100 at Doane College in their senior year.
  • We eliminated high school transcripts as a requirement for admission.
  • We approved 2014/15 tuition in October rather than waiting till February.
  • We plan to roll-out a three-year graduation guarantee before the end of second semester.
  • We are rolling out a new branding campaign.
  • We are venturing into social media advertising including Google AdWords and Facebook advertising.
  • We are creating videos to have a presence on YouTube.
  • We will substantially increase branding signage on campus over the course of the next 12 months.
  • We created targeted visit events based on some of our strong programs rather than continuing to offer generic group visit events.
  • We restructured our financial aid policy.
  • We are implementing a targeted communications plan that integrates mail, e-mail, text, and social media.  (Some of you may be saying, “Well, duh!”  I get it, everyone has a communications plan.  I also contend that everyone’s communication plan can be better.  I’m simply acknowledging here that our communications plan was not as integrated as it should have been and we took steps to mitigate this.  Still, we have more to do.)
  • We have initiated a Transfer Task Force to assess our current approach to transfer students – there may be a Transfer Graduation Guarantee Coming!
  • As an institution, we are instituting a College to Career Center and hiring an Internship Coordinator – we know internships lead to employment.
  • We are holding admission counselors accountable for the recruitment of what we call “unleveraged” students – those students who are not coming to Doane for athletics, music, or theatre.

These are a few.  None of these independently will propel us to our goals.  This isn’t enough!

We are smack in the middle of recruiting and I’m continuing to push on what we need to change to be more effective.  The market place has high expectations.  Meeting those expectations simply puts us in the game.  We need to exceed those expectations.  Quick example:  If you’ve ever been to Doane’s campus in Crete, NE, and taken the tour, you might make the statement, “If you can just get a student to visit, you should have no problem with enrollment.”  This would seem to imply a silver bullet possibility.  However, our visit yield is very similar to national averages.  It’s true.  Our campus is amazing.  But, let’s not forget that the vast majority of students don’t come to college to sit under the tree and look over the beautiful pond as the sun slowly sets.  Getting students to campus certainly is a huge step but there is more to it.

Colleges must evolve with the needs of students and families.  Communication methods have changed substantially in the last 10-15 years.  Change happens so fast that we must adapt and fight the urge to do it the way we always have.  Stay tuned…I’d like to share the process that led to a new branding campaign.

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