Daily Egyptian

New associate chancellor for enrollment management: ‘While there are challenges, I don’t see them as insurmountable’

By Anna Spoerre, Staff Reporter

Jennifer DeHaemers, who officially takes over as associate chancellor for enrollment management May 14, hopes to bring and retain more students while helping them reach their academic goals.

DeHaemers’s selection was announced April 23 after what SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno called an exhaustive five-month-long search to fill a position vacant since 2014. She is the first fulltime hire into the position since 2011.

“I want to be in a place where I can make a difference, be helpful,” DeHaemers said during a media advisory with the chancellor Wednesday in Anthony Hall. “While there are challenges, I don’t see them as insurmountable; I see them as opportunities more than challenges.”

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DeHaemers most recently spent six years as associate vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. At SIU she will oversee the admissions, financial aid, bursar’s and registrar’s offices.

She said recent enrollment at UMCK has been an uphill battle, so she anticipates the experience and skillset she gained in Missouri will be helpful as SIU also faces significant declines in enrollment.

SIU reached its peak enrollment in 1991 with 24,869 students. The numbers have been decreasing ever since, bringing enrollment to an all-time low in fall 2017 with 14,554 students.

“It took a little while to get where we’re we’re at, so it’s going to take just a little while to crawl back out of the hole, but we’re working at it,” DeHaemers said.

DeHaemers said some key aspects of enrollment management at SIU need more attention, including gathering and analyzing more student data to better the student experience as they navigate through the university.

She said a good first step is looking at what barriers might exist for both prospective and current SIU students.

“Where are those points in that pipeline that students are actually leaving the pipeline?” she said.

During a three day visit to Carbondale this week, DeHaemers said she spoke with students across campus, many of whom expressed their love for SIU and its supportive faculty.

DeHaemers said she will be thinking about customer service across the institution, something some students raised concerns to her about, adding that it’s important for students to have good daily interactions with the institution outside of the classroom.

“It’s part of my philosophy that we provide a personal, educational opportunity to students, ensuring students are successful,” she said.

DeHaemers’ position now reports directly to the chancellor instead of the provost. Montemagno said this change was made so he can be directly engaged with enrollment and any challenges it faces.

The new job description was created and advertised by the chancellor’s office. The chancellor said the first pool of candidates was not strong, adding in a his eight month report that the search was unsuccessful “given the competitiveness of the market for enrollment management positions and perceptions of the university.”

A second pool of candidates was then selected in the hopes of finding more qualified individuals, the report read. In all, 34 applications were submitted.

Five finalists were selected from the second pool of applicants; DeHaemers was the only candidate to interview on campus, SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said. Three other finalists were invited to Carbondale for interviews, but one took a different position and the two others declined the invitation, Goldsmith said.

More: SIU names associate chancellor for enrollment management, a position vacant since 2014

DeHaemers, who has a master’s degree in higher education administration from UMKC, was employed at UMKC until November 2017. Her LinkedIn does not show an employment since.

In addition to the associate vice chancellor position, DeHaemers served at UMKC as vice chancellor of enrollment management from 2007 to 2011, director of international student affairs from 2005 to 2007 and director of admissions from 2002 to 2009, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Staff writer Anna Spoerre can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @annaspoerre.

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