Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

If these notes put you to sleep, just step outside as you read through this one as the January air will refresh and awaken you for sure. As we all hunker down for the Spring 12-week amidst the meteorologists’ calls for a weekend snowstorm, this is the time of year when Vice President of Enrollment Lindajean Heller Western begins to bring us news of the upcoming Fall’s admission “funnel.” Granted it is still early in the admission cycle, but the news is even more refreshing than the cold air that has gotten you up and about today.

I don’t know about all of you, but getting good news during cold, grey spells always brightens my day. So, hopefully, this bimonthly note—which is unusually chock-full of data—will brighten your Thursday, as well.

As of today, we are seeing an enrollment funnel increase of 20.5% in prospects, inquiries, and admitted students over this time last year. If we dig a layer beneath the surface, we can start to get an inkling about which programs seem to be garnering student interest, and it is satisfying to see that several associated with the academic redesign are leading the pack, along with stalwarts like Accounting, Biology, and the pre-professional health programs.

So far, it looks like the recommendations that the Strategic Academic Team made regarding new programs are directly on point. Our emerging Criminal Justice program has gotten a lot of traction already. As of this week, 42 admits, another 39 applicants, and 1 deposit puts the intended CJ major in the “top 10 for admitted students.” It confirms that CJ is likely to be highly popular in terms of student interest. Another new major recommended by SAT, Sport Management, is also showing well in the enrollment funnel with 36 admits, another 40 applicants, and 3 deposits. Dean Muyskens is pleased to report that classes in Sport Management and Criminal Justice are already available for current students this spring.

It looks like our two-year-old Integrative Exercise Science program continues to bring in a high number of students. The admission funnel shows IES numbers at 44 admits, another 34 applicants, and 5 deposits. The program showed a 40% increase in enrollment from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018. And kudos to our Nursing recruiters, as the program is making a healthy enrollment comeback with 107 admits, 89 applicants, and 6 deposits. Accounting is also way ahead of where they were last year with 43 admits today compared to 27 at the same time last year.

To all of the faculty and admission counselors who have been working hard to build or fortify these pipelines, it looks like your efforts are starting to pay off. I thank you for the strides you are making, not only on behalf of individual programs but on behalf of the entire College.

I share with you this level of detail since several members of the College Executive Steering Committee (CESC) thought it would help all members of the College community get a clear sense of where we are seeing tremendous potential and progress. CESC members also said that hearing this update themselves helped them clarify why we must continue to move with deliberate speed: that is speed that is informed by clear strategy and a marked direction. I know we are moving quickly. Thankfully, however, the extraordinary amount of planning and delineation that went into all of the emerging changes means we are not in a “haste makes waste” situation.

Emerging data shows that the academic redesign, as fast as it is unfolding, is still overwhelmingly framed by a model of “thoughtful makes successful change.” Faculty and staff will see this same thoughtfulness as they pour over the HLC assessment plan that Professor Roxanne Sorrick is developing and the First Year Experience and Core proposals that Professors Ella Kirk, Colin Anderson, Jeff Swenson, members of the AAC&U team, and several others are sharing now.

Real change comes from the real, hard work of people like so many of you. Thank you for being a part of the positive change.

Your President,

President Varlotta Signature

Lori Varlotta