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January 31, 2007

A New Strategic Approach to Enrollment Management

The President’s original announcement to the campus community about this issue may be found here.

To the Campus Community:

I am writing to share with you changes California State University, Northridge will implement to manage enrollment during the 2007 spring semester. These changes are necessary to ensure that the university can successfully sustain and manage its continued growth, which is essential if the university is to continue meeting its obligations to its students and the community with state-of-the-art programs and facilities.

I want to make clear that creating an impacted campus is not the goal. Cal State Northridge will maintain its historical commitment to being accessible and its mission to serve all students who qualify for a CSU education, as mandated by the state.

Planning for the Future

These changes are the result of planning efforts that have been underway at the university this past year. These planning efforts include the updated campus Master Plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in spring 2006, and the current effort under the leadership of the vice presidents and deans to develop a formal, comprehensive plan for the university as a whole.

Our ability to meet the goals of these planning efforts--which include effectively serving future students through innovative pedagogy and research, with the support of state-of the-art facilities--will depend on a commensurate growth in state funding. Such funding increases will not be possible without sustained and well-managed enrollment growth in the coming years.

Current Challenges

The changing landscape of student recruitment and enrollment, however, demands a new approach to enrollment management. Traditionally, enrollment management at Cal State Northridge has depended on the cooperative efforts of different areas of the university that focused primarily on short-range needs to meet or exceed our enrollment targets each year.

This approach served us well during the past decade when we were in an era of expanding pools of prospective students. These conditions, however, no longer exist: migration into the region has slowed, recruitment for high quality students in the existing pools has become incredibly competitive, and high school graduation rates, especially among traditionally at-risk students, have not risen. As this suggests, the university must manage its enrollment strategically both for the short and long term.

The New Enrollment Management Model

To accomplish our goals, we are instituting a consultative structure for arriving at a strategic enrollment plan. The model consists of three parts: an umbrella committee (the Enrollment Management Committee) and two subcommittees (the Retention Subcommittee and the Business Practices and Communications Subcommittee).

          Enrollment Management Committee

Leadership for the university’s strategic enrollment management efforts will be provided by the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Terry Piper. This establishes a direct connection with the President’s Cabinet, thus defining strategic enrollment management as an institutional priority. The Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Cynthia Rawitch, will serve as co-chair. Under this model, Vice President Piper will have responsibility for undergraduate enrollment management planning and policy development. Recommendations from the Enrollment Management Committee will go to the President’s Cabinet for consideration.

The committee also will consult with the Provost on strategies to achieve the university’s enrollment targets.

(Click here for the full charge and membership of the Enrollment Management Committee.)

          Retention Subcommittee

Responsible strategic enrollment management also must take into account student persistence and retention through graduation. Thus, the Retention Subcommittee is charged with establishing and overseeing a campuswide coordinated and integrated approach to student persistence and retention. It will make recommendations to the Enrollment Management Committee regarding retention-related policies and coordinate persistence and retention efforts by other committees, departments, and colleges. The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. William Watkins, will chair this subcommittee. The Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Maureen Rubin, will serve as co-chair.

(Click here for the full charge and membership of the Retention Subcommittee.)

          Business Practices and Communications Subcommittee

The Business Practices and Communications Subcommittee consolidates two currently existing committees--the Enrollment Strategies Group and the Integrated Communications Committee--into a single group. The earlier groups successfully addressed the business practices and communication processes that have sometimes been obstacles for students.

This subcommittee will continue the work begun by the two earlier groups. It will provide oversight and ongoing development of e-communication strategies with prospective students; ensure that enrollment practices are efficient and effective; and reconcile and review business practices as they relate to enrollment with the implementation of new technologies, including the use of the campus portal and web applications. The Associate Vice President for Academic Resources, Dr. Spero Bowman, will chair this subcommittee, and the Associate Vice President for Finance and Accounting, Dr. Robert Barker, will co-chair.

(Click here for the full charge and membership of the Business Practices and Communications Subcommittee.)

Establishing this new enrollment management structure builds on our current work and proactively responds to the challenges that lie ahead for the institution, particularly as enrollment patterns and regional demographics change. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to our enrollment management efforts through the years, and look forward to implementing this new model that will enable us to approach the demanding issue of enrollment management in a more strategic and integrated manner.

Jolene Koester

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California State University, Northridge at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 / Phone: 818-677-1200 / © 2006 CSU Northridge