Faculty Senate discusses nontraditional admission cycles

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

The Faculty Senate heard about the effects an unconventional admissions cycle has had on recruitment at its meeting Tuesday.

Admissions Director Kelly Miller told the senate that Admissions is in the process of filling some positions.

“This gives us an opportunity to look at territory, be more strategic — do we have the right people where we need them, do we need to shift any of that?” she said. “We also want to be efficient.”

Because the state of Illinois did not require juniors and this year’s seniors to take the ACT, the admissions office received late applicants.

“We saw a lot of late ACT scores coming through,” Miller said. “That has caused all kinds of goofiness and chaos with the normal recruitment cycle, as well as the FAFSA changing.”

The date students could start applying for the FAFSA switched from its original Jan. 1 date to Oct. 1 last year.

“We don’t have those benchmarks to look at this year because of some of that,” she said.

Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management, said admissions counselors have made 15,740 more calls, sent 661,067 more emails, sent 6,686 more text messages and scheduled 199 more visits that they had at this point last year.

Norman said he was not “real keen” on saying official enrollment numbers for the fall yet, especially with the “crazy enrollment cycle.”

The most current indicator of this coming year’s enrollment is orientation reservations for transfer students and deposits for freshmen, he said.

According to Norman, the university is down on freshman deposits but up by a small margin for transfer orientation reservations.

“We are working very hard on those freshman deposits,” Norman said, mentioning that they are offering additional financial incentives to students, especially those who are already receiving Commitment to Excellence Scholarship awards.

Miller said in March, she, Norman and registrar Amy Lynch met with state admission directors and registrars. With the exception of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois-Chicago, everyone was seeing a decrease in applications.

Norman said marketing is a crucial piece when considering the external environment and challenges the university is facing.

The marketing firm Thorburn group, who will work with in-house resources, is going to help end the cycle and help Eastern do well for 2018-19 enrollments, Norman said.

Senate member Amy Rosenstein asked what Admissions is doing for prospective students who live in the region.

“We don’t want them going elsewhere when they’re literally in our backyard,” she said.

Miller said one thing Admissions is looking at when getting a staff in place is what will give them the biggest bang for their buck in that area.

“We can take several trips to our high schools,” she said.

Eight new Admissions events were added this spring, such as an Open House for Transfer Students. The also had an Admitted Student event in O’Fallon, even though they had never done one in the St. Louis area, Miller said.

Upcoming admissions events include “Preview EIU” days for sophomore or juniors in high school and freshmen in community colleges who would not transfer until their second year and Future Panther Fridays for students who were not previously able to attend Admitted Student events previously.

During the meeting, the senate passed a motion to send a memorandum to Eastern President David Glassman asking him to take immediate moves on grounds work.

Senate member Ellen Corrigan said staff voiced their concerns about the grounds at a staff senate meeting, especially as there are only five workers.

She said the Staff Senate is ready to sign off on it and are now waiting for the endorsement of the Student Senate.

The memorandum itself voiced concerns about the current state of campus, though it acknowledged that the stalemate in Springfield hamstrings efforts in creating budgetary clarity.

“With commencement around the corner and the attendant return of alumni, not to mention upcoming Open Houses, debuts and various summer camps and track meets, all of which will play a crucial role in our near-term recruitment of students, we will be needing optimal maintenance — flowers planted, beds weeded, piles of remaining leaves and refuse gathered and removed and so on — in very short order,” it said.

In the memorandum, it said the only viable means to get the grounds in shape is bringing back some of the previously laid-off groundskeepers.

Also at the meeting, Jemmie Robertson announced that a proposal to reduce the membership of the Council on University Planning and Budget would be tabled until next year.

The proposal would have reduced membership from 23 voting members to 15.

Robertson said it was tabled because the CUPB is changing the membership of subcommittees, so they are going to wait a year and see how effective this change is.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]