RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the executive vice president/provost (EVP/Provost), the associate vice president for enrollment management (AVPEM) is the chief enrollment officer for the institution, overseeing services related to admissions, new student orientation, and new student recruitment. The AVPEM will provide vision and strategic leadership to enrollment management and advise senior leadership on the best path forward in an ever-changing higher education landscape. As a visible and collaborative leader, the AVPEM will be expected to help the University of South Alabama (“South”) build on past successes while helping to prepare the University for the future by providing a strategic, technologically efficient, and data-informed vision for short- and long-term enrollment goals.
Specific duties include:
- Developing, implementing, and maintaining a strategic plan for assigned programs in Enrollment Services with a commitment to the student success of all recruited and enrolled students, with particular attention paid to traditional undergraduate students, adult learners (including military recruitment), and early and dual enrollment programs.
- Actively collaborating with the leadership of the offices of Student Academic Success, Marketing and Communications, and the Graduate School in support of the recruitment and retention of students.
- Coordinating enrollment projection and modeling efforts with Institutional Research by managing the collection, compilation, and reporting of data for budgeting, enrollment management, program review, and planning.
- Coordinating all internally funded scholarships and managing the institutional scholarship budget.
- Driving and leading enrollment marketing initiatives, including the recruitment team’s communication flow.
- Monitoring and evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment operation to identify, attract, admit, and enroll a highly qualified and diverse pool of traditional, non-traditional, and transfer students.
- Facilitating and coordinating the Slate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system as well as developing and implementing new technologies to improve and automate enrollment functions.
- Overseeing the implementation of the Strategic Enrollment Plan, including the ongoing use of data to implement the plan and make revisions as needed.
- Administering policies and procedures for the enrollment unit.
- Leading and managing the hiring, training, and professional development of a team of 30 professionals.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
The successful candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree (master’s degree or higher preferred) with significant and progressively responsible experience in higher education administration in enrollment management, paired with strong leadership skills. Significant experience in admissions, recruitment, student orientation, and international admissions at all levels will be expected of the new AVPEM.
In addition to the above-stated qualifications and characteristics, South stakeholders identified the following characteristics as important for the position (in no particular order):
- Demonstrated success introducing best practices and trends into the work of an enrollment office; a track record of leading change.
- Exceptional relationship-building and interpersonal skills—personable, approachable, respectful, and highly collaborative with the ability to enhance the culture within the department and throughout the university.
- A credible, supportive, and approachable supervisor with knowledge of the responsibilities of each staff member’s position, respect for their work and contributions, and proficiency at advocating for the programs and other needs of staff and students.
- Strategic, future thinker and collaborator committed to advancing enrollment services, student retention, and success within the entire campus community.
- Demonstrates collegiality, positive energy, enthusiasm, enjoyment of the work, integrity, and high professional standards with the ability to be nimble and responsive to students and colleagues.
- Possesses a solid innovative and entrepreneurial mindset with a competitive spirit to increase enrollment.
- Extremely technologically proficient with the knowledge to effectively utilize existing technology in the enrollment area to create efficiencies and a smooth communication flow, as well as a willingness to experiment with and implement emergent technology.
- Exceptionally capable of working with data – retrieving, analyzing, and making data-informed decisions based on thorough assessments.
- Possesses the credibility and gravitas to garner academic and collegial respect throughout the campus.
- Ability to take the time to understand the University of South Alabama and its niche in the marketplace as the Flagship of the Gulf Coast, a coastal research institution with a robust academic healthcare system.
- Embraces innovation and creativity and be willing to try new services and approaches to meet the needs of the students and institution most effectively.
- Possesses executive capabilities combined with the roll-up-the-sleeves tactical ability to implement and advance a strategic vision.
- A student-centered professional with a solid understanding of today’s changing student demographics and impactful ways to market to students.
- Has cultural awareness and will work to ensure that all students, particularly first-generation students, enjoy success at South Alabama.
- Understands the needs of transfer students and will work to strengthen community college relationships.
- A strong, authentic communicator with experience managing institutional communications as well effectively sharing information with campus stakeholders.
- Demonstrated record of working closely with a marketing and communications team to collaborate on print, web-based, and social media collateral for prospective students.
- Strong understanding of the market for international students and ability to create an enrollment plan that will include recruitment and enrollment of students from around the world.
- Transparent leader who will share data, information, and strategic goals with senior leadership as well as with the enrollment management team members and other institutional stakeholders as appropriate.
- Strives to understand the greater Mobile community, the state of Alabama, and the coastal region.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The previous AVPEM served the institution for many years, leaving in January 2020. While the institution engaged in a national search, an interim AVPEM was hired through the Registry and started at South in February 2020. As the search was in process, COVID began and derailed the entire search. It is now time for South to find a permanent AVPEM to actively lead the department, enhance enrollment services and opportunities, and serve as a collaborative partner with the campus community.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
With an interim AVPEM in place through the Registry, much of the groundwork has been laid for the new AVPEM to step into an updated, energized, and collaborative enrollment management unit that will strive to enhance cross-campus collaboration with academic and administrative colleagues while also continuing to become adept at cultivating, recruiting, enrolling, and retaining students at the University of South Alabama.
The stakeholders at the University of South Alabama indicate that collaboration across campus is key to success for the new AVPEM. There are high expectations that the new AVPEM will exemplify a culture of collaboration and partnering, as well as clear and transparent communication across campus for maximum effectiveness. It will be expected that the incumbent quickly reach out to all campus constituencies to maintain and strengthen current relationships and to build solid and mutually beneficial additional relationships that foster ongoing positive interactions and support the EVP/Provost’s leadership agenda. These connections are essential to accurately assessing the evolving needs of constituents, providing exceptional information and services, and ensuring that the enrollment management division is known for its customer and student-centered approach at all times.
The use of technology will be key to the enhancement of services and communications in the enrollment area, as will coordination with the enrollment projections and modeling efforts with Institutional Research. Technology in the enrollment area is continually reviewed and updated and the implementation of the Slate CRM system has proven to be extremely helpful in this regard, supporting the analysis of recruitment outreach, applications, attendance at enrollment events, communications with prospective students, and informing eventual outcomes. Maintaining and refining the data collection and analysis processes that will advance the University’s strategic plan and assist in the evaluation of recruitment and admission procedures while leveraging financial aid will be a priority for the new AVPEM.
A review of the financial aid awarding process at the University led to the implementation of institutionally funded need-based aid and to the adjustment of merit-based scholarship awarding policies, including the ability to award in-state tuition to merit-qualified, out-of-state applicants. The AVPEM will be responsible for continuing to review analytics and make adjustments to the institutional aid system to support student enrollment and success.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
At an appropriate interval after joining South, the following items will define initial success for the AVPEM.
- The AVPEM will have developed a proactive, highly visible, well-respected, and established leadership presence on and off campus that is credible, collegial, and highly effective.
- The AVPEM will have created a means to effectively communicate with all campus stakeholders in a transparent and timely fashion.
- The AVPEM will have partnered with their colleagues across campus to spearhead a University-wide, collaborative effort to formulate a strategic enrollment plan that will serve as a roadmap for continued growth and enhanced services.
- The AVPEM will have built effective partnerships and consensus across the institution to develop a data-informed framework that will inform the University’s strategic enrollment plan.
- The division of enrollment services will be regarded as a strong, highly functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team that works with synergy and shared purpose, with a demonstrated commitment to enrolling students who will thrive at South.
- The AVPEM will have built working relationships with academic affairs, marketing and communications, institutional advancement, faculty, staff, students, and external vendors that emphasize an engaging and collaborative work environment.
- The AVPEM will have reviewed operational strengths and weaknesses and will have outlined the strategic direction and long-term plan for the enrollment services division consistent with the institution’s mission and goals.
- The AVPEM will have assessed the skills and knowledge of the staff, developed a strong sense of teamwork among staff, and increased the overall morale of the division.
OVERVIEW OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT
The AVPEM will be tasked with conducting a review of each of the areas within the division to improve performance, build capacity, and strengthen organizational effectiveness to renew and drive change. The AVPEM will focus on leading the department in developing an effective program for promoting and marketing admission programs that will advance enrollment goals across the various groups of students served by the University, including Adult Learners, Early and Dual Enrollment Programs, and minority/underserved student retention. Important for the new AVPEM will be building collaborative community partnerships and creating a vibrant work environment while focusing staff on the core mission of being student-centered as they implement new foundational procedures and technology. Encouraging staff to adhere to the culture of the University with collaboration, integrity, and honesty will be integral to the success of the AVPEM, who will directly supervise the following individuals and the accompanying teams totaling 30 individuals:
- Executive Director, Office of Admissions
- Associate Director, Enrollment Services
- Associate Director, Office of New Student Recruitment
- Director, Office of New Student Orientation and Special Events
- Associate Director, Communication Center
The University of South Alabama was founded in 1963 without a single building to call its own. As South celebrates 60 years, the University is a vibrant institution that continues to serve as a catalyst for transformational change in the city, the state, and the Gulf Coast region.
The University of South Alabama’s story began in the early 1960s, when Mobile’s civic leaders saw the need to improve access to higher education in southwest Alabama. Realizing the region had outgrown the small extension program that operated out of a building downtown, they formulated plans for a four-year, degree-granting institution. On May 3, 1963, a bill creating a new, independent university successfully passed the Alabama Legislature, and the University of South Alabama was born.
Classes began in June 1964 at a new, $1 million building in west Mobile. Initial enrollment totaled 276. The extent of the pent-up demand for education became obvious when the first fall semester began. Enrollment leaped to 928 and it continues to grow. Today, the University is home to approximately 13,500 students and has more than 100 academic programs. The 1,200-acre campus has been transformed over the last decade with new academic buildings and athletic facilities, including Hancock Whitney Stadium, which hosted its first football game in the fall of 2020.
At the core of the University of South Alabama’s academic offering are eleven colleges and schools; the newest are South’s Honors College and School of Marine and Environmental Sciences. Graduate education is also a priority at the university.
The University of South Alabama’s diversity and inclusion committee helps to:
- Identify and develop creative strategies and initiatives to increase the number of students, faculty, and administrators from African American and other underrepresented groups
- Monitor USA’s progress toward the goals of the Strategic and Diversity Inclusion Plan
- Make the University of South Alabama an even more attractive and inclusive community for people of all races, ethnicities, faiths and cultures
For more information on diversity, equity, and inclusion, see here.
THE STUDENT BODY
Total Enrollment: 14,224
Retention Rate: 74%
The University of South Alabama Class of 2026, with 1,615 students, is the most academically talented first-year class in the university’s history. The class includes young leaders, philanthropists and student-athletes. The total 2022 student enrollment is 13, 463.
Incoming first-year international students are from 18 foreign countries: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Kenya, Morocco, Norway, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Incoming first-year students represent 31 states, including Alabama.
President Josiah “Jo” Bonner
Jo Bonner is the fourth president of the University of South Alabama.
Previously, Bonner served as chief of staff to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. He joined the Ivey Administration in December 2018, as Senior Advisor to the Governor. Before joining the Governor’s Office, he served as Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at The University of Alabama System (UAS) from 2013 to 2018. During his final year at UAS, he was an executive on loan, serving as Interim Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority. For more than a decade, he represented Alabama’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was first elected to the 108th Congress in November 2002 and was reelected to five additional terms. As a student at The University of Alabama, he worked on Capitol Hill as an intern for Congressman Jack Edwards. After graduation, he returned to Washington as press secretary and later chief of staff to Congressman Sonny Callahan.
In Congress, he earned a reputation as a respected and influential voice of reason in both Alabama and Washington. He was a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where he served on three key subcommittees, and chaired the House Ethics Committee. Widely respected on both sides of the aisle, he was selected by House Speaker John Boehner to serve as chairman of Ethics during the 112th Congress. His crowning Congressional accomplishment came in 2012 when Airbus announced plans to build its first U.S. Final Assembly Line in Mobile. Over the years, Congressman Bonner developed friendships and strategic partnerships with the top corporate leaders at Airbus, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies. Airbus has invested more than $1 billion in Alabama, creating thousands of new jobs in the aerospace industry. This puts Mobile on track to become the fourth largest commercial aviation city in the world.
President Bonner has received numerous awards and honors, including a 2021 induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor; the Academy is the state’s premiere recognition of 100 living Alabamians for their outstanding accomplishments and service. In 2016, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) created the inaugural Congressman Jo Bonner Spirit of Leadership Award and honored Bonner as its first recipient. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor the U.S. Navy bestows on a civilian. He also received the 2012 Governor Bob Riley Building a Better Alabama Award by the BCA.
Bonner earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from The University of Alabama in 1982. He is married to the former Janée Lambert, of Mobile, and they are the parents of a daughter, Lee, and a son, Robins.
Dr. Andrea ”Andi” M. Kent, Executive Vice President and Provost
Dr. Andrea (Andi) M. Kent, a native Mobilian and an alumna of the University of South Alabama, is serving as Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of South Alabama. She embraces the notion of teaching, research and service, focused upon supporting talented faculty as they lead innovative research, teach remarkable students and engage in making a difference through service. Dr. Kent joins the University community in celebrating the collective milestones and individual achievements of many, and continues to promote the ongoing development of a community of inclusivity, where all voices are heard, valued and respected.
Dr. Kent served as Interim Provost from 2020-2022 and as Interim Provost and Executive Vice President beginning in February of 2022. As Interim Provost, Dr. Kent implemented the Start South dual degree program that allows students at more than a dozen high schools to get a head start on their college education. She has also supported the expansion of scholarship programs, including those based on need and others designed for active-duty military; the creation of South’s School of Marine and Environmental Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences; and the growth of research in health sciences, engineering and business.
Prior to her role as Interim Provost,Dr. Kent served as Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, as well as Associate Dean, Director of Field Services and Interim Director of Graduate Studies in that College. Her professional experiences also include being a recognized scholar with four published books and nearly $7 million in external funding, along with many referred publications, scholarly presentations and shepherding student research.
Dr. Kent earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design and Development and her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from USA, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Mobile. She began her career in education in 1995 and became a member of the South Alabama family in 2004. She married Derek Kent in 1997 and has two children, Andrew and Mary Elizabeth.
Benefits at the university include the following:
- USA Health and Dental Plans
- Flexible Spending Accounts
- Life and Disability Plans
- Retirement Plans
- Educational Benefit Plan
- Global Travel Assistance
- Miscellaneous other benefits
For details on the benefits offered at the University of South Alabama, see here.
Review of applications will begin February 8, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email email@example.com.
Visit the University of South Alabama website at www.southalabama.edu
The University of South Alabama is an EO/AA employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression), religion, age, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.