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Enrollment Management

  • Date Submitted: 02/16/2013 07:49 PM
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ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT: A SYSTEMS APPROACH
Date created: May 2008
Author: Dr. Jim Black, President and CEO, SEM WORKS
For further information, contact the author at
SEM WORKS
407 Pebble Ridge Court
Greensboro, NC 27455
Web: www.semworks.net
E-mail: jimblack@semworks.net.
No organization or enterprise exists as an island. Understanding the interrelation of elements of a complex business such as enrollment management is essential to achieving desired organizational outcomes. The evolution of enrollment management as a widely practiced profession suggests that college and university leaders, at least intuitively, have recognized that simply expanding to new markets, pressuring admissions and enrollment professionals for improved results, or throwing marketing dollars at an enrollment problem are not viable solutions. Successful enrollment enterprises look holistically and strategically at enrollment dynamics as well as the interplay between those dynamics.
“Systems thinking,” a term coined by Peter Senge (1990) in his book, The Fifth Discipline, is applicable to the field of enrollment management, and more importantly, to how institutions develop and sustain a viable approach to influencing enrollment outcomes. The following model is a systems thinking archetype that incorporates system dynamics to analyze and impact institutional enrollments. Through this conceptual framework colleges and universities can view interrelationships rather than cause and effect chains and consider processes of systemic change instead of engaging in panic-driven reactions to snapshots of enrollment shifts. By analyzing enrollment patterns through a systems thinking framework, enrollment managers and institutional leaders can more accurately identify the precise points of leverage necessary to successfully impact outcomes.

Organizational systems, like the one illustrated above, are composed of individual components and imply a relationship between the components (Nicholson,...

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