Strategic Enrolment Management at Queen's University
Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM) is the process by which a university coordinates campus-wide efforts in such areas as marketing, student recruitment, admission and retention, tuition setting, student support, student services and program planning in support of the academic mission of the university. The SEM process is about determining the right size and program mix for the university and involves careful attention to optimum enrolment through all stages of the student life cycle. The SEM proess focuses not just on recruitment but also on student progression, program completion and academic quality. It is importatnt to have in place, and monitor, the structures to achieve these goals.
The purpose of a Strategic Enrolment Management Plan is to ensure an institutional focus on the importance of enrolment: recruitment, admission, student progression, the student experience, time to completion and graduation. The Plan aligns integrated recruitment and progression strategies with the University’s strategic planning and academic planning, enabling the University to make informed enrolment decisions in the short and long term.
Furthermore, high-quality academic programs require proper funding and setting and meeting enrolment targets assists a university in meeting its revenue goals. In a period of declining per-student funding from the provincial government, the need for a strategic approach to enrolment management is reinforced.
The Strategic Enrolment Management Plan
Many universities in Canada and the United States have established a Strategic Enrolment Management Groups, with a mandate to create and monitor a Strategic Enrolment Management Plan.
The key features and goals of a Strategic Enrolment Management Plan are to:
- Establish well articulated multi-year enrolment goals with strategic enrolment indicators that are important and relevant to the University and Faculties (total enrolment numbers, enrolment by province, international enrolment, Aboriginal enrolment, admission average bands, etc.)
- Establish clear goals for the number of students across both graduate and undergraduate programs
- Outline the strategies, tactics and resources required to achieve the goals
- Promote academic success by focusing on access, transition support, responsive student services, student persistence, progression and graduation
- Determine, monitor and maintain optimum enrolment
- Identify cost implications associated with enrolment decisions (academic, infrastructure, student support, etc.)
- Ensure efficient and student-centred administrative processes to support enrolment goals
- Create a data-rich environment to inform decision making
- Strengthen strategic linkages across campus
Strategic Enrolment Management at Queen’s
Effective SEM planning is a critical component of institutional decision-making and it requires cooperation and collaboration across business and academic units. SEM is an institution-wide process and requires an institution-wide focus.
At Queen’s we have many pieces and structures in place that would inform and contribute to a strategic enrolment management plan and a strategic enrolment planning focus. These include:
- Faculty and unit budget plans and an integrated budgeting process
- Academic Plan
- Proposed Mandate Statement (awaiting a decision from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities on whether it will become our Strategic Mandate Agreement)
- Strategic Research Plan
- Campus Master Plan
- Annual enrolment target and planning process with submission to SCAD and Senate
- The Provost’s Advisory Task Force on the Student Learning Experience
- The Aboriginal Council
- The report from the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health
- Student success initiatives and projects
- Faculty based committees that work on enrolment related initiatives
- An emerging International Strategy
- Town and Gown Strategic Plan
- The Senate Academic Planning Task Force
- Continuing and Distance Studies
We also have articulated institutional goals and initiatives around the student learning experience including that:
- The Student Learning Experience is a core pillar of the University’s academic plan;
- The University wants to improve the undergraduate and graduate student experience both in and out of the classroom;
- The availability of high quality student support services is critical to student success;
- Regular assessment of student learning is important;
- Student engagement with faculty and staff, both in and outside the classroom, is an important component of the student learning experience; and
- The first year residential experience is a key component of the Queen’s Experience;
- The graduate student learning experience enriches our research-intensive environment.
The logical next step is the creation of a structure to bring together the goals, plans and initiatives already underway into a SEM process for the University that is guided by the pillars of the Academic Plan.
The Mandate of the Queen’s Strategic Enrolment Management Group
The group will develop and recommend the University’s Strategic Enrolment Management Plan, both short and long term, to assist the University in establishing, achieving and maintaining optimum enrolment along with program mix and quality. This includes oversight of graduate and undergraduate enrolment management planning and policy. In particular, the group will:
- Review, make recommendations regarding, and endorse (for submission to Senate) institutional enrolment plans and targets and the strategies to ensure the targets are met;
- Receive and review enrolment reports including those required by the provincial government;
- Receive and review reports on student surveys as they relate to the student curricular and co-curricular experience;
- Review annual recruitment plans (undergraduate and graduate, domestic and international);
- Advise on undergraduate and graduate scholarship and financial aid planning;
- Advise on residence and student housing planning;
- Ensure alignment exists between the strategic enrolment management plan and the University’s academic prorities;
- Review plans for, and advise on, the required student services to meet the needs of current and prospective students; and
- Make recommendations with respect to projects and initiatives to improve student engagement.
The group may form specific sub-groups as needed.