| 03.19.2018

Vandal recruiting 102 — UI departments learn from each other, work together while recruiting


This is part two of a three-part series on University of Idaho recruitment.
Though the University of Idaho has multiple recruiters who work within the Department of Admissions, it takes people throughout UI to be successful in bringing in new students, said Steve Neiheisel, the associate vice president of enrollment management.

Hayden Crosby | Argonaut Sue Westervelt, employee at the Office of Admissions and Campus Visits, sorts through applications for Fall 2013 Monday in the UI Campus Visits Office located on the first floor of the Student Union Building.

Hayden Crosby | Argonaut
Sue Westervelt, employee at the Office of Admissions and Campus Visits, sorts through applications for Fall 2013 Monday in the UI Campus Visits Office located on the first floor of the Student Union Building.

The International Programs Office, Athletics and the College Assistance Migrant Program all have their own form of the recruitment process, he said, as well as each individual college at UI.
“Every college has a designated staff person who does enrollment related things,” Neiheisel said.
However, he said, each staff person varies a little from college to college, depending on what they are in charge of. Some focus mainly on recruitment and advising, others retention and scholarships, though all help to add to the student body at UI.
To make sure all of these departments work together in the most efficient way, the Department of Admissions has a person in charge of coordinating with all the colleges and keeping track of each of their schedules.
“We try to coordinate the colleges’ activities,” Neiheisel said.
This is especially necessary as the different colleges often travel and have activities for recruiting people, Neiheisel said.
For the College of Business and Economics, traveling to community colleges to recruit transfer students is a main part of their recruitment calendar, said Dana Stover, assistant dean of recruitment and retention for the College of Business and Economics.
She said these visits include giving presentations in classes and trying to set up one-on-ones with faculty and students — that way they can create a real sense of what UI is.
They also have print campaigns, which is mainly focused on high school students, as they rarely visit high schools.
Though the basic recruitment across the colleges of UI has been relatively the same — college fairs, print campaigns — there have been some changes in recent years, including more colleges having ambassadors, Stover said.
She said the ambassador program, which trains students from the college to become active recruiters, is something  the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been doing for years, and which the College of Business and Finance  modeled their program after.
“This is a good example of how we work together,” Stover said when speaking of creating the ambassador program. “We modeled ours after theirs (CALS) and other colleges are modeling their program after both ours and CALS.”
Stover said she loves the ambassador program, and  the student ambassadors are able to connect with potential students better than traditional recruiters.
Ambassadors help the colleges  recruit more at the high school level, as they can go back to their old high schools and utilize those established connections, Stover said.
Stover said it is much harder for someone in her position as an administrator to give presentations to high schools, which is why the college is mainly focused on community college recruitment.
Though having the ambassadors has helped with recruitment, and the college has won many national awards, Stover said there are still challenges to getting people to come to the College of Business and Economics.
She said because UI is so far away from many other places, it is hard to get students from southern Idaho to want to visit UI.
To get over that barrier, Stover said they try to show the personal side of UI, much like Neiheisel does in the enrollment management offices.
“We really care about what happens to them (the students),” Stover said.
It also helps that their graduates are getting jobs, and that they have a unique program filled with hands-on learning, she said.
The isolation of UI is also a problem for the International Programs Office, said Mary Ellen Brewick, manager of international marketing and recruitment.
“For UI, a small community in a state that doesn’t have name recognition, it’s a little bit of a harder sale,” she said.
She said  when IPO goes to recruitment fairs and gives presentations, they have a map showing where Idaho is, and how close it is to Seattle and California.
They also have to deal with the fact that UI does not have that big of a reputation overseas, Brewick said.
She said word of mouth has been the main way people hear about UI, and how students had been recruited in the past, but two years ago they started to recruit differently.
For the past 20 years, IPO has had steady numbers of international students coming to UI, which is great since it was mainly from word of mouth, Brewick said, but they are looking for the numbers to start growing.
She said they now have agents in different countries that work on recruiting students, and they are creating partnerships with schools of other countries.
Just as the different colleges in UI have to make a choice on whether to focus their recruitment strategies on freshmen or transfer students, out of state or in state, the IPO has to make the same choices. Though, Brewick said instead of out of state or in-state, they have to decide which countries would be the best to focus their recruitment efforts on.
“Right now China and Saudi Arabia are the two countries we get the most students from,” she said.
She said in order to study in America, international students have to prove that they can afford to live in America, so they take that into consideration when choosing which country to focus recruitment efforts on.
Though China and Saudi Arabia have the most students coming to UI, there are currently 667 international degree seeking students from 68 countries enrolled in UI, Brewick said.
They want that number to be 1,600, or 10 percent of UI’s population, by 2020, she said.
She said that they also work with the Athletic Department and other colleges to make sure that any students they recruit can come to UI and be successful.
“If feels like a team effort,” Brewick said about recruiting students, and she feels  all of the admissions departments are in sync with one another.
Allison Griffith can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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