Melvin Allen, the first of four candidates for the new associate vice president of enrollment management position, spoke about his professional challenges at an open interview Tuesday.
Allen has worked professionally at Robert Morris College, the College of Lake County, Lake Forest Academy and Rock Valley College.
At the College of Lake County, he said he helped solve their branding issue and said under his leadership it went from the “College of Last Chance” to the “College of Learning and Caring.”
“We grew the enrollment (at the College of Lake County) from 16,000 students to about 18,000 students,” Allen said.
Allen also served as the director of student recruitment and student recruitment of color and the senior associate dean of admission at Lake Forest Academy, where he recruited stude
nts from 28 states and 31 countries. He also grew the amount of students of color who attended, from 11 to 18 percent.
Also, as executive director of admissions and student recruitment at Robert Morris, Allen helped it grow from one campus to 12.
Allen said while at his current job at Rock Valley College, he has faced budget cuts, a strike and the unionization of staff members.
Though Allen potentially sees Eastern as a 10,000-student college, he does not want to see the university grow too fast.
Instead, he wants to make sure students have the resources available to them so they can succeed and help themselves if they are struggling.
During the interview, Allen was asked how leading enrollment management would merge with academic affairs.
He said he would talk with deans and professors about repackaging programs as well as what other universities are doing and how those packages are attracting students.
He said enrollment numbers grow in different ways; either the same academic program will be given to new people or new academic programs will be given to both the same and new people.
When it comes to his managerial style, Allen said he balances the needs of his staff and the institution.
He said he wants to find out what they value, as knowing what motivates the people under him is important to his style of leadership.
Rewarding people who demonstrate the values of the institution he is working for is important as well, he said.
Austin Cheney, the chair of the School of Technology, said he liked the holistic approach Allen gave towards recruitment and students as well as his personal story and its message to overcome obstacles.
He said he likes how Allen talked about how enrollment management can help a program that may not be doing well.
However, Cheney said he would have wanted to hear what Allen has heard about Eastern from an outside perception.
Samuel Nusbaum can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]