Linking the Academic Program and SEM--Underlying Factors

An institution's academic program is inescapably codependent on enrollment management. The quality of the academic program can only be developed and maintained in a stable enrollment environment, and stable enrollments are only possible through sound planning, development, and management of academic programs. The alignment of institutional academic policies with Stable Enrollment Management (SEM) goals and objectives is essential to successfully structuring the SEM process.

The Academic Program and Student Choice Drive SEM
The curriculum and ensuing degrees are higher education's principal product. It is, therefore, the curriculum, academic policy and the corresponding choices students make to attend, persist, or drop out that drive the planning, implementation, and evaluation of an institution's recruitment and retention programs.

Optimizing Academic Policy
Academic policy establishes the rules guiding students' progression through the curriculum toward their degree. Because it establishes the rules, academic policy is one of the most powerful tools of strategic enrollment management and must be aligned with both recruitment and retention strategies.

Balancing Demand
Demands for programs vary. Many professional programs nationally, such as nursing or engineering, experience cyclical levels of demand. Others such as business, accounting, and premed have stable or even increasing curves over time. SEM is extremely valuable during periods of very high demand because of its keen focus on optimizing enrollments and throughput. SEM helps institutions balance the effects of changing demand by adjusting geographic recruitment areas, establishing sustainable enrollment targets, and monitoring competition, thereby facilitating the health of academic departments.

Students as Clients
Students have free choice. SEM recognizes students' freedom to choose their institutions and programs. It establishes a client relationship with students, their parents, and the recruitment/advising community. Recruiting and retaining strategies, developing and offering essential services, launching new program initiatives, and evaluating SEM are all based on decisions made from students' perspectives.

Optimizing Teaching and Learning
SEM is not simply an administrative function. Creating the best learning and teaching environment is as important to the success of a strategic enrollment management program as good marketing. Achieving optimum teaching and learning environments means balancing a complex set of factors that include academic program development, academic infrastructure development, faculty development, faculty hiring, academic policy formulation and enforcement, recruitment policies and procedures, and retention policies and procedures.

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Linking the Academic Program and SEM--Underlying Factors

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