If you’re trying to implement change at an institution of higher education, you may feel like a fish swimming against the current. Dr. Keith Mock, vice president for enrollment management at Faulkner University and Dr. Suzanne Sharp, Liaison’s executive director for enrollment management consulting (and a former admissions leader herself), know the feeling, so they dedicated their doctorate research projects to exploring ways to build buy-in, some of which they shared at Liaison’s recent user conference. Here are some of the key takeaways from their session.
Highlighting existing problems and linking the proposed change to their solution is key. Dr. Sharp shared examples, such as demonstrating communications problems associated with the inability to distinguish inquiries from applicants or showing that automation can reduce time spent on tedious manual tasks, freeing staff to work on more critical projects when hiring isn’t an option.
“Enrollment professionals are being called on to take leadership roles on college campuses, requiring skills such as using data, building relationships, promoting teamwork and looking at market trends,” Dr. Sharp said. When proposing change, draw on those skills to showcase how a new admissions tool can support the institution’s strategic goals.
Dr. Mock explained that getting faculty on board was critical at Faulkner. “What drives change for us is the social network among the faculty,” he said. Dr. Sharp found that most schools included a combination of admissions managers, IT staff and marketing to build support for new admissions and enrollment solutions. Bringing in different groups to understand their pain points and discuss how a new solution could help builds enthusiasm and adoption across campus.
Maintain clear communication.
When the admissions team at Faulkner began meeting with faculty to discuss how they could participate in recruiting, Dr. Mock said they learned that faculty didn’t understand the recruitment tactics in place and thought that admissions didn’t know enough about their programs. The team created an admission liaison program. “We assigned each counselor different departments; they held bi-weekly meetings with each to learn about new developments in the departments and share recruiting initiatives,” Dr. Mock said. “We found if we were able to tell faculty specifically what we wanted them to do, they were willing to help.”
For more insight on how to ensure a successful shift, download the white paper “Five Tips for Effective Change Management: The Key to Higher education Recruiting Technology Success.”