Monday, October 6

1:00 - 2:00 PM - Walk-In Hour with Jeff
116 Founders Hall

4:00 - 5:00 PM - LS102 Meeting for All LS102 Faculty
Founders Hall Basement Lounge

5:30 - 6:45 PM - Interfaith Understanding Group
Founders Hall Basement Lounge

Tuesday, October 7

11:30 - 11:50 AM - Reflections - Paul Bulow, '09
Ascension Chapel, 2nd Floor, Founders Hall

7:30 PM - "Irish Babies, African Mothers: Rites of Passage and Rights in Citizenship in Post-Millennial Ireland"
Science Building 102
A lecture by Dianna Shandy, Macalester College
Free and open to the public

8:00 PM - Faculty Recital
Wallenberg Hall
Janet Stodd, Flute

Wednesday, October 8

12:00 - 1:00 PM - Weekly Bible Study
Chicago Room, College Center
Led by Pastor Priggie, College Chaplain
Bring your lunch if you wish, and a Bible

9:30 PM - Evening Prayer & Holy Communion
Ascension Chapel, 2nd Floor, Founders Hall

Thursday, October 9

10:30 - 11:30 - Convocation - Doug Glanville
Centennial Hall
See detail under "Announcements"

Friday, October 10

Homecoming Weekend
4:00 PM - Celebration of Faculty Scholarship & Teaching
3:30 PM - Refreshments

Library, North End
"The Selection and Preparation of Cooperating Teachers in Music Education" - presented by Michael Zemek
"What Were They Thinking?! How Think Alouds Open Up Hidden Worlds of Student Thinking and Learning" - presented by Lendol Calder

Saturday, October 11

10:00 - 11:00 AM - Opening Reception - American Landscape featuring the Fryxell Collection
Augustana College Art Museum

8:00 PM - International Saxophone Quartet
Wallenberg Hall
Jean-Pierre Baraglioli (France), soprano saxophone
William Street (Canada), alto saxophone
Keiji Munesada (Japan), tenor saxophone
Richard Dirlam (USA), baritone saxophone

Sunday, October 12

10:30 AM - Sunday Morning Worship
Ascension Chapel, 2nd Floor, Founders Hall

5:00 PM - Sunday Catholic Mass
Ascension Chapel, 2nd Floor, Founders Hall

8:30 PM - High School Choral Fest
Wallenberg Hall

Volume 6, Issue 7 -- October 6, 2008

A message from Admissions

Recently I added Mark Twain's quotes to my homepage for my Google account. Each day I am treated to a new quote from the master. One quote that really caught my attention:

"All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The theological knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal. That is, when a man is buying a basket of strawberries it can profit him to know that the bottom half of it is rotten."

This might be a good starting point to share some of the things we learned this past summer.

My office employed George Dehne & Associates -- one of the nation's best higher education consultants -- to conduct a telephone survey of admitted students and to perform an  operational assessment of our recruitment practices

Although these efforts revealed that our basket of strawberries -- by which I mean, our recruiting practices, not our students -- looks pretty good on the surface, it also revealed we may have some strawberries getting pretty mushy. It may profit us to take Twain's advice and look carefully below the surface.

The good news: the college is at full enrollment, the first-year class is the fourth largest in the college's history and is more diverse than ever. Dehne's review concluded that we had a good shot at a record year last year:

"Given the quality of the admissions and recruitment operation and the college's commitment to marketing the new strategic plan there is no question in our mind that if two of more of the [one-time problems they identified*] had not been in play this year the new student enrollment goal would have been met once again."

We could stop at this surface evaluation and try to sell it, but it would be not be in Augustana's best interest to do so.

The news from below the surface: While it's not the case that "the bottom half of it is rotten," Dehne did find serious problems. They conducted phone interviews with hundreds of students whom we had accepted but who chose to go elsewhere. By any measure, they were an academically desirable group. Their answers give us good guidance on where the problems lie.

Here's what we learned:

Here are some of the more-detailed findings behind each of those bullet-points.

The challenges listed above are significant, but not debilitating. There are things we can and need to do in order to face the days ahead.

The Office of Admissions and our recruitment program will need to changes in meaningful ways. At the tactical level we need to do the following things:

We have already taken some steps by appointing departmental liaisons from the Office of Admissions for each department; implementing a system that allows us to track prospective student meetings with faculty and report back to the faculty member at the conclusion of the year; and continuing to encourage the president and dean to ensure the faculty welfare committee explicitly recognizes recruitment in the tenure and promotion process.

There are important considerations for the broader Augustana community, too. Some things to consider include:

There is much work ahead as we face an increasingly uncertain future shaped by demographic shifts and economic tribulations. In the days ahead we need to be more intentional in shaping and telling our story. We need to respond to and use the knowledge of what's below the surface to ensure prospective students have a more immediate and more complete sense of the Augustana story.

Excerpt from Dehne Executive Summary-August 2008

  1. The admission recruitment business is cyclical. There are always going to be good and less good years. Projecting what 2,200 fickle adolescents are going to do with their myriad college choices and influencing those decisions makes roulette seem easy.
  2. A $2,000 price increase in a down economic cycle without a corresponding increase in the tuition discount rate for scholarships and need-based aid shifted the risk curve. There was a change in the College's market position based on price without a corresponding change in the competitiveness of the financial aid program.
  3. The value proposition to justify the price increase was not developed early enough and was not conveyed in an understandable way to the target audience.
  4. There was staff turnover and some turmoil created by a change in office culture as the College moved to a professional 21st century admissions recruitment model. As a result there was less meaningful personal contact with prospects and applicants in some key areas of the Augie market. We believe that this deficiency is a result of a staff exclusively focused on what we call "application management," at the expense of "prospect management." The issue is not either application management or prospect management, but the timely realization of a productive balance between the two. (See Recommendation #2 that follows below.)
  5. There was not a unified campus-wide effort put forth to do everything possible to convert what was a more than sufficient size prospect pool into Augustana first choice applicants and enrolled students. This was in part due to a lack of complete buy-in to the strategic plan on the part of some faculty and many of the coaches as well as some communications breakdowns between admissions and some members of the faculty.

W. Kent Barnds,
Vice President, Enrollment & Communication