Search for enrollment management continues

Molly Dotson, Photo Editor

 

Juanita Morris, a candidate for the vice president of enrollment affairs, talks about her work history as the director of undergraduate recruitment for Jackson Satte University during an open interview session in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
Molly Dotson
Juanita Morris, a candidate for the vice president of enrollment affairs, talks about her work history as the director of undergraduate recruitment for Jackson State University during an open interview session in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Juanita Morris, the second of four candidates for the associate vice president of enrollment management position, talked about her experience in recruitment efforts and stressed their importance at an open interview for the position Tuesday.

Morris, currently the director of undergraduate recruitment at Jackson State University in Mississippi, said Eastern is capable of increasing its enrollment numbers.

While Morris acknowledged that the state budget crisis has hurt Eastern’s enrollment, she said the school still has potential.

Much of what Morris does involves examining data, but she said that is only the foundation.

“The data is not supposed to be the end of the conversation,” Morris said. “For me, it’s the beginning.”

Morris said while it is easy to point out a decrease in numbers, discussion and brainstorming are really what generate solutions.

Morris said her job as a recruiter encompasses not only looking at figures, but also hosting events for new and returning students as well as engaging them through social media and touring campaigns.

“It’s not an eight-to-five,” Morris said, regarding the demands of her job, “This is night and day.”

Morris said increasing enrollment numbers starts with recruiting students.

A recruitment method Morris deemed effective was follow-up calls, emails and letters.

“Contact with the students, with the parents and with the family transitions ultimately has an impact,” Morris said.

Morris said social media is another method of recruitment. She described a photo opportunity involving Homecoming King Justin Earls she would have posted on Eastern’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page to promote the school.

“In the student center, with his colleagues, with this huge hat on, he’s real tall, clearly excited, and then he had on a Greek shirt,” Morris said. “That’s so many students that that would reach and that would impact.”

While recruiting new students is a priority, Morris also stressed the importance of reaching out to other demographics.

“One of the things that we don’t think about and that we have to come back to the table and talk about is the all-encompassing enrollment,” Morris said. “That also includes returning students. They are just as valuable as the new students.”

Morris pointed out other areas that have had a growth in enrollment at Eastern.

“International students have had an increase, graduate students have had an increase, and so now I think it’s time undergraduate students also have an increase,” Morris said.

Morris said increasing enrollment would involve more than just her.

“It’s going to take campus-wide effort with inclusiveness of students, administrators, faculty and staff,” she said.

 

Molly Dotson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]