Enrollment workgroup involves campus

Cassie Buchman, News Editor


Workgroup no. 3, focusing on enrollment management, took input from different people at its meeting Thursday when seeing what enrollment areas could be improved on campus.

In different groups, staff members from areas around campus talked about suggestions they had for enrollment management.

Workgroup no. 3 asked them the same questions Eastern President David Glassman tasked them with answering, such as what can be outsourced and what areas need targeted investments.

Jody Stone, chair, said because of cuts in staffing from last fall and last spring, some financial resources are just not there, and most people are saying they need more of these resources, not less.

“We can’t discontinue when we’re already bare bones,” Stone said.

One idea some people had was to outsource marketing and use outside firms to help supplement marketing and creative services by having an outside firm focus externally and Eastern focus on internal marketing.

Stone said a pro to this is that when adding up salary, benefits, and other aspects it would be less costly, but a con would be that outside firms might not be as involved and invested in the university as those already on campus.

“It would seem to me that having our marketing team work with a marketing firm could strengthen our marketing,” Stone said.

Staff members in university marketing and creative services said this something they have already looked into.

Stacia Lynch, director of marketing, said they have invited back their previous consultant, Stamats, a higher education integrated marketing team, to talk to the marketing team about where they could go and what they could do, as well as some of the costs associated with this.

Lynch said now, the concern is with getting an enrollment management plan so marketing could be more focused based on actual enrollment patterns.

“That’s our goal — to begin these conversations about what our possibilities are,” Lynch said.

She said people are interested in an advertising campaign in Chicago that can cost millions of dollars and personnel time.

“My staff is about half less,” Lynch said. “Even fully staffed, that isn’t something an office like ours should be coordinating.”

Christy Kilgore, assistant director of marketing and creative services, said there are people who are experts when it comes to math, advertising and media buys.

“We should let them be experts in it,” Kilgore said. “You get better results because they monitor it constantly.”

Kilgore explained this in terms of a marketing funnel, where at the top would be the enrollment management plan, which dictates the marketing plan, that lets them dictate their language, publication and advertising in ways that marketing knows are more efficient.

“The enrollment management plan says this is what we want our student body to look like in five years, or whatever the timing of it is,” Kilgore said. “That gives you the priorities to focus our money and time on what we know we need to focus on.”

Kilgore said a top-down approach could help with getting priorities from the top to reorganize more efficiently.

Lynch said it is “nearly impossible” to market a place that has not branded themselves, something Eastern needs to work on.

Admissions counselor Brittany Tierney brought up CollegeWeekLive, a website used to talk to prospective students, which is $10,000 to $20,000 a year.

“For us it is not an effective use of those expenses. We have one to two students log in each week,” she said.

Instead, Tierney suggested, they could use Skype or Google Hangouts to contact and get in touch with prospective students.

Stone said the president is going to have to look at areas that are getting too many resources and see if he can bring them to other areas with less.

Some things, such as CollegeWeekLive, do not need to have money spent on them, Stone said, and now that the workgroup knows about it, they can inform the president.

“Where can we re-invest the $20,000 (from CollegeWeekLive?)” he asked.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]