Ad hoc Admissions Committee Minutes from September 10

Ad Hoc Admissions Committee

Organizational meeting, September 10th, 2014, 1:00 p.m., Gilmer Room

Attending: Tom Guthrie, Wenling Wang, Steve Shapiro, Heather Hayton, Kami Rowan, Andy Strickler, Barb Boyette, Dave Dobson

Dave Dobson gave background for the formation of this ad hoc committee, including the process that led to its formation. He mentioned that the CREDO consultants on campus had some questions about the committee’s purpose. Steve Shapiro filled in details of the committee’s charge and indicated that he was open to the committee taking on a different or a broader charge than the document from Clerk’s committee indicates.

Andy Strickler indicated that part of the origins of the committee was an effort to implement person-to-person recruiting, similar to what happens in athletics, to academic recruiting. Heather Hayton indicated this technique has been successful in the Honors Program in recent years. Heather said she has seen this kind of recruiting happening at other colleges in competition with Guilford. Heather and Steve commented on an initiative they were part of which tried to identify specific potential sources of majors in specific programs (e.g. AP students, participants in conferences and competitions) and recruit individual students from those programs, but that when they approached departments to start this kind of work, faculty members were reluctant without committee service release or financial support. The rest of the meeting was a wide ranging discussion of current and potential admissions strategies.

Topics raised included:

  • From Andy – CREDO’s suggestions:
    • create individual recruitment plans for the top ten majors at Guilford, and possibly expand this beyond ten
    • Assign admissions staff members to each department, and engage faculty with the admissions process
    • Make the extended campus visit the norm rather than the exception
    • Include faculty drop-ins on campus tours
    • Steve said that Admissions should be able to get access to a syllabus from every class through Banner.
    • Wenling said it would be helpful when students are scheduled to visit classes to be able to send them course materials and readings and also to have time to talk with them after the class session
  • From Andy – another CREDO suggestion was to add experiential opportunities on the tour, such as adding a pin on a map for a desired study abroad site when visiting study abroad. Kami suggested that a visit to WQFS, including possibly recording a short segment, might be one of these. Dave suggested that an interactive ongoing science experiment where students could run a trial might be useful. Heather pointed out that these ideas are fine for visitors who are already on campus, but do not increase the number coming here.
  • Andy pointed out that currently, students find us rather than us finding them, and that there has been a shift in recruiting from buying lists of names to things like having a strong web presence
  • Discussing some of these changes, Heather pointed out that much of this will take more money, but it will have the potential to bring in higher-qualified students who will be a better fit to the institution. Rather than just filling a class with whoever applies, we may be able to recruit specific constituencies who would benefit from and enjoy the Guilford experience.
  • Dave pointed out that this will require a culture change on the part of faculty, to begin to see that a major part of their job is recruiting.
  • Heather pointed out that these efforts have to be a long-term process, not a thing we try for a year and then let go
  • Heather questioned CREDO’s focus on the top ten majors, wondering if they were the top ten because that’s what we’re good at, or the top ten because that’s who happens to find us. The top-ten strategy sets institutional priorities that ignore every other program. Andy pointed out that there is significant institutional backing for the CREDO effort, and it is likely that their recommendations will be followed at least in the short term.
  • Steve said that a prospective student’s declared major is often a weak or uninformed preference, and that we should also make an effort to recruit undecided or undeclared students. They should be one of the “top ten” we focus on, perhaps even number one. Students can feel pressure to declare a major or even a career not because of informed interest but instead because of family pressure. Andy pointed out that some students of the current generation are coddled and reinforced into believing that they can do anything, even if their skills or interests would be a better fit elsewhere, which can lead some into a major they are not prepared for or would not enjoy.
  • Some on the committee felt that it would be useful to know more of what the current admissions experience was like, and that this committee might also want to consider CCE admissions.
  • Members agreed to meet roughly every other Wednesday at 1pm over lunch. Steve Shapiro volunteered (or was volunteered) to organize the committee’s future activities.
  • Members with another committee responsibility or equivalent requested that Dave contact the Dean about the possibility of compensation for work on this committee.