Goshen College hired the Noel-Levitz Higher Education Consulting firm to aid in revitalizing enrollment operations this year.
Though numbers for the 2014-15 academic year increased in the adult and graduate division, the number of students in the traditional undergraduate program showed a slight decrease. Goshen College hired Noel-Levitz with hopes that they will be able to rejuvenate the recruitment management.
The firm’s mission is to “achieve Goshen’s goal through a systematic, data-informed and effective marketing and recruitment process.”
Dr. Lee Snyder, interim provost and executive vice president, and the leadership team initiated the search to hire a consulting firm. The leadership team consisted of representatives from the enrollment, communications and marketing, admissions and financial aid departments.
The leadership team met weekly during August to discuss possible consulting firms. Several representatives from various firms proposed action plans for the college. The administrative cabinet and the president chose Noel-Levitz, a nationally recognized firm based in Iowa.
Sarah Keating is the Noel-Levitz representative who will be working on campus. With a B.A. from Colby College and M.A. in higher education administration from the University of Nebraska, Keating comes with nearly 20 years of enrollment managing experience. She previously acted as vice president of enrollment and marketing at Keystone College in Pennsylvania.
Snyder said, “We worked very carefully at what would be the best option for Goshen now. I think we’re going to get really good help from Sarah Keating, from her many facets of admissions, recruitment, marketing and financial expertise.”
Snyder, Keating and Adela Hufford, acting admissions director, will meet monthly to progress with enrollment consulting. Snyder and Hufford will meet weekly.
“In general terms, what Sarah is going to work with us on are ways to strengthen our effectiveness as an admissions and recruitment team,” Snyder said.
Keating will not be meeting with students other than student ambassadors and admissions workers. She will be mostly focusing on administration, enrollment and admissions staff.
She will assist personnel with establishing realistic goals, strengthening student communication systems, developing follow-up plans for prospective students and developing market segmentation strategies.
In response to the possibility that enrollment will not increase for next year, Snyder replied, “That is the question that we hope we won’t have to answer. We believe that with some expert attention to some basic enrollment processes and systems we can get this turned around, but we’re not under any illusions that this is a magic solution. We can fix some of the things that can be improved and make a difference.”
Snyder acknowledges that fewer Mennonite students are choosing Mennonite colleges, which is reflected in enrollment numbers at the other Mennonite colleges as well.
Though it is too soon to determine the effectiveness of Keating and Noel-Levitz yet, the Goshen College administration has high hopes for next year’s enrollment.