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New Emphasis on Recruitment and Retention

By Peggy Meszaros

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 06 - September 28, 1995

As many of you know, the president appointed last year a review committee headed by former vice provost John Perry to look at several issues concerning the university's overall recruitment and retention programs and policies. Later we asked Dean Richard Sorensen and another group to recommend implementation strategies.

The rationale for all this activity may be obvious, but let me reiterate. We have been concerned for several years about acceptance rates and quality profile of our incoming classes. Concurrently it had become apparent that even public universities were becoming more tuition-dependent and thus, acutely sensitive to meeting enrollment targets. Enrollment management is essential to our fiscal well-being. Just as important, though, is our academic well-being. The health of Virginia Tech is determined, in part, by attracting highly qualified and diverse students.

This work represents just the bow wave of a new emphasis at Virginia Tech on recruitment and retention. The president and I have a keen interest in the success of our recruiting, marketing, and admissions efforts. We have and will continue to commit our personal time and significant resources to ensuring success.

Throughout the next several weeks, I plan to brief you through Spectrum on our plans and activities based upon the work of the Perry and Sorensen Committees. Generally speaking, we plan to bolster our efforts on many fronts, including the following:

Ensure a positive first experience for students and parents at the front doors of the university-Central Admissions, College Recruitment, Financial Aid, Registrar, and New Student Orientation.

Evaluate academic policies which inhibit or improve retention and transfer-student recruitment.

More fully understand and couple the overall enrollment-management process to tuition policy.

Coordinate and more closely couple the many recruitment activities of the Admissions Department with the colleges.

Effectively use all financial aid available to the university to achieve qualitative and quantitative enrollment targets.

Effectively market the university to target markets.

Enhance residential life programs and facilities.

Your colleagues, under the leadership of John Perry and Dean Sorensen, have devoted hundreds of hours collectively to ensuring that the right students are attracted to Virginia Tech for the right reasons.

In the end, though, the best recruitment policies and practices begin with doing each of our jobs to the best of our abilities.