Chancellors back creating enrollment director

Chancellors back creating enrollment director

URBANA — The three campus chancellors at the University of Illinois have signed on to the creation of a new university "executive director for enrollment management," a key priority of President Michael Hogan.

Phyllis Wise, chancellor for the Urbana campus, said Monday that the chancellors had met with Hogan and received assurances that their campuses would continue to have a strong voice in admissions and financial aid issues under the new executive director.

"I think this is a very doable thing," Wise told members of the campus Senate Executive Committee.

Hogan and trustees are eager to move forward with the post as quickly as possible, spokesman Tom Hardy said Monday.

"He's listened and he wants to hear what everyone has to say and be sensitive to" their concerns, Hardy said.

The idea of an enrollment management director was part of a consultants' report that included 21 recommendations for managing admissions, financial aid and other enrollment matters across the three campuses.

A faculty senate task force last week endorsed three of the 21 recommendations, including setting strategic enrollment goals for the campuses and collaborating on a university enrollment plan.

But professors said those steps should be completed, with campus input, before other recommendations can move forward, such as admitting more transfer students, using a joint application with other universities, or moving to a centralized processing system.

Two college deans worried that the changes could undercut Urbana's autonomy in recruiting and admitting students, arguing that the size, quality and makeup of the student body are vital to the campus' academic mission.

According to Wise, Hogan assured the chancellors that the enrollment director would manage admissions policies, but the campuses would continue to originate and discuss policies distinctive to their own missions.

"The needs of one (campus) are not necessarily the needs of another," Wise said.

Hogan also told them that:

— The chancellors would have input on the hiring of the executive director and could participate in interviews.

— The roles of faculty members and deans in admissions issues would not change.

— The associate provost for enrollment management on each campus, who acts as director of admissions, would continue to report to the campus provost as well as the new university director of enrollment management.

— The three provosts will serve on an enrollment policy council with the new director and the vice president for academic affairs, Christophe Pierre.

Regarding financial aid, Hogan said, the enrollment director's duties won't involve moving financial aid support from one campus to another, which had been a point of concern for faculty.

Wise said the goals for the position include recruiting the best students for the three campuses, promoting diversity in the student body, and providing as much financial aid as possible. One of the major reasons students turn down UI offers of admission is that other schools offer them more money, she said.

The hope is that the enrollment director will also help with cross-campus collaboration "to make sure our needs are met," Wise said.

Task force authors said their report is consistent with those goals.

"We saw this as a way forward, a way of implementing the changes ... not as a way of blocking or preventing them," said Professor Nicholas Burbules.

The Senate Executive Committee endorsed the task force report, which will be sent to the chancellor, president, trustees and the University Senates Conference.