The University of Vermont — Vice Provost for Enrollment Management

Leadership Profile
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
July 2020

To be among the nation’s premier small research universities, preeminent in our comprehensive commitment to liberal education, environment, health, and public service. 

Vision Statement 

To create, evaluate, share, and apply knowledge and to prepare students to be accountable leaders who will bring to their work dedication to the global community, a grasp of complexity, effective problem-solving and communication skills, and an enduring commitment to learning and ethical conduct. 

Mission Statement 

The Opportunity 

The University of Vermont (UVM), one of the oldest universities in America, seeks an exceptional enrollment leader to serve as Vice Provost for Enrollment Management (VPEM) and further advance a vital unit within one of the nation’s premier small public research universities. 

The only comprehensive university in the state and Vermont’s land-grant institution, UVM is known as a public ivy and combines the best of liberal arts education with the scholarship and resources of a major research university. UVM enrolls 12,772 degree students, including 10,700 undergraduate, 1,594 graduate, and 478 medical students. It is home to seven undergraduate schools and colleges including an honors college, as well as a graduate college, a medical school, and UVM continuing and distance education. As part of his commitment to making the University of Vermont accessible and affordable, in November 2019, UVM President Suresh Garimella instituted a tuition freeze for the 2020-21 academic year. The university has attracted an increasingly distinguished faculty and steadily built its research enterprise, growing sponsored research from $65 million in FY99 to $182 million in FY20. The University of Vermont holds that diversity and academic excellence are inseparable. Through the tenets of respect, integrity, innovation, openness, justice, and responsibility found in Our Common Ground, the ideals of accessibility, inclusiveness, and academic excellence are reflected in the university’s values. The campus spans Burlington’s highest ridgeline overlooking Lake Champlain, between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, and is surrounded by the small, historic city of Burlington, perennially voted one of America’s best places to live. 

As a senior institutional leader reporting to the Provost, the Vice Provost will lead and manage all areas relating to undergraduate student recruitment and retention for the university through a division comprised of Undergraduate Admissions, the Office of the Registrar, Student Financial Services, and Strategic Retention. Partnering closely with the Provost and deans, the Vice Provost will imagine, develop, and execute the strategies to identify, recruit, and enroll an outstanding and best fit undergraduate student population while advancing the retention and graduation success of students. The Vice Provost will enable and empower an enrollment organization that effectively serves the goals of the university community, further developing a culture of enrollment and persistence, and promoting strong partnerships with the administration, deans, faculty, staff, and students. This leader will possess a curiosity that inspires both innovation and careful assessment, and ensures UVM continues to meet university-wide enrollment goals. 

The Vice Provost will build upon a solid foundation and steady upward trajectory to take enrollment to the next level of strength. The University of Vermont seeks a seasoned enrollment leader with energy, optimism, creativity, collegiality, emotional intelligence, and a desire to experiment and take calculated risks. The successful candidate will have a deep understanding of and passion for American higher education and possess an academic mindset to develop partnerships with highly engaged deans and faculty. 

To learn more about UVM, visit https://www.uvm.edu. 

The Role of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management 

The Vice Provost for Enrollment Management is responsible for developing an enrollment strategy and implementing and assessing strategic and operational programs to recruit, admit, retain, and graduate undergraduate students consistent with UVM’s traditions, values, mission, vision, and evolving strategic goals. The Vice Provost will develop and cultivate a collaborative university-wide environment to coordinate and synchronize enrollment management from first contact through retention and persistence to graduation. 

It is expected that the Vice Provost will continue to meet UVM’s enrollment targets while seeking continuous improvement in quality, selectivity, and geographic reach, both nationally and internationally. The VPEM will efficiently manage resources, including institutional financial aid, to support short- and long-term vision and goals. The VPEM will partner closely with academic leadership to develop strategies to meet the needs of the colleges and schools and help balance curricular and programmatic distribution, and the VPEM will lead access, diversity, and student success initiatives. 

The Vice Provost will lead the Division of Enrollment Management, comprised of Undergraduate Admissions, the Office of the Registrar, Student Financial Services, and Strategic Retention. The Vice Provost serves on, and may chair, a variety of leadership committees and will help oversee the transition of first-time first-year student orientation from the Division of Student Affairs to the Division of Enrollment Management in summer 2021. The Vice Provost will provide leadership for a staff of 105 and manage a division budget of $9.5 million and a financial aid budget of over $120 million. Additional funds are available to support athletic scholarships, graduate student financial aid, and tuition remission.

The Division of Enrollment Management 

The Division of Enrollment Management is comprised of the following offices and functions: 

Office of Admissions 

The Office of Admissions is responsible for prospect generation, student recruitment, and application review for all first-time first-year undergraduates and degree-seeking transfer students. The department consists of 45 staff members, housed in three campus buildings, which are located on South Prospect Street in Burlington. The Admissions Visitor Center was renovated in 2004 and houses a 90-person presentation room. The FY20 operating budget for admissions was approximately $5.1 million. 

The most recent first-year class (entering Fall 2020) was built from an inquiry pool of 98,100 students. UVM received 18,495 first-year undergraduate applications and 735 transfer applications (as of June 2020). In the 2019-2020 season, Admissions staff traveled to 29 states and 22 countries for recruitment and yield events. All in-person travel and yield activity was suspended in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff quickly transitioned to delivering high-quality remote yield events that were instrumental in the attainment of Fall 2020 enrollment goals. The Admissions Office hosts multiple virtual recruitment events each week and has generated more than 600 new inquiries for the Fall 2021 class through this medium. 

Office of the Registrar 

The Office of the Registrar (RO) is responsible for overseeing academic records, registration, the schedule of courses, classroom scheduling, grading, enrollment and degree verification, diploma production, in-state residency determination and appeal, degree audit, transfer articulation agreements/pathways, and transfer credit evaluation for all University of Vermont students. UVM’s portal, myUVM, is managed by the Registrar’s Office. The Coordinator of Student Veteran Services is also housed in the Registrar’s Office (students receiving VA education benefits have increased from 13 in 2009 to about 230 annually since 2017). Working collaboratively across campus, the office develops and enhances technology solutions for the many interfaces students, faculty, and staff use to access university services. The staff also answers the main university telephone line. The office is comprised of 22 staff members. 

Student Financial Services 

The Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) was established in 2005 when the university combined the Offices of Financial Aid, Student Accounting, and Student Loan Repayment. The SFS team is comprised of 35 staff members who provide services to prospective, current, and former students in all degree and non-degree programs. In 2013, SFS assumed responsibility for undergraduate student employment literacy services and the centralized administration of endowed student scholarships and gifts. SFS reports directly to the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and has a dotted line reporting relationship with the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Strategic Retention 

The Coordinator of Strategic Retention (CSR) collaborates with the academic schools and colleges as well as various campus stakeholders to develop and implement student retention and re-enrollment strategies. The CSR monitors and analyzes retention data to aid in the development of actionable retention measures. The Coordinator serves as the Program Owner on the Student Success Collaborative (EAB-Navigate) advising and retention software project, providing oversight for implementation decisions, developing user training and support, maintaining the project timeline and acting as the link between the university and software vendor (Education Advisory Board). The CSR supervises the Assistant Coordinator of Undergraduate Retention and Re-enrollment. 

Data Analytics Support 

The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) works collaboratively with the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management in developing undergraduate net tuition revenue and undergraduate admissions enrollment models that will determine first-year and transfer enrollment and admissions targets for each college/school. OIR will also support the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management with the student search process and relationships with external vendors to build the admissions enrollment funnel. The relationship between the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and OIR is important in enhancing the deans’ strategic use of admissions, enrollment, and retention/graduation dashboards, which provide easily accessed and reliable point in time data. 

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership 

UVM is emerging from a very successful period of enrollment management that has taken the university from a strong regional reach to an international reach. The enrollment team is hard- working, dedicated, and collaborates exceptionally well with one another. 

The President and Provost have been clear and intentional about not only goals and objectives, but process. University leaders are expected to use benchmarks, metrics, timelines, relative comparisons, and best practices to measure progress toward goals and aspirations. The VPEM is also expected to provide transparent communication and open dialogue throughout the university in order to achieve outcomes collaboratively. 

The Vice Provost will be asked to address the following critical and inter-related issues, among others: 

Provide a fresh perspective on the enrollment picture, developing a plan to maximize enrollment possibilities that is aligned with the President’s strategic vision for increasing student success and access and responds to the short and long-term opportunities and challenges presented by the pandemic 

The Vice Provost will examine the entire undergraduate admissions and financial aid program with an eye toward thinking big, inventively, and opportunistically: envisioning the optimal enrollment picture for the university and developing the structure, programs, initiatives, and resources required to get there. The President and Provost are strongly committed to establishing and supporting the highest possible ambitions. While there is obviously a limit to what can happen, leadership seeks a Vice Provost who will make strategic requests backed by solid planning, robust data, and rigorous analysis, clearly tied to measurable objectives and goals. In doing so, the Vice Provost will be asked to formulate a broadly-vetted, efficient, and integrated strategic enrollment plan that is proactive and ambitious while maintaining the flexibility required to respond to the rapidly shifting enrollment realities of the region, the nation, and the world. 

Among the goals for the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management: 

  • Grow and sustain undergraduate enrollment through dynamic recruitment and retention strategies 
  • Recruit and support transfer students through internal and external pathway programs and articulation agreements 
  • Rebuild and increase international student undergraduate enrollment; support collaborative efforts across the university to increase international graduate student enrollment 
  • Attract, enroll, and retain domestic diversity, now at 11 percent 
  • Broaden student recruitment efforts outside the present, targeted geographic market to offset the effects of regional demographic trends
  • Increase the number of applications, selectivity, and yield for a well-prepared, diverse entering class 
  • Employ effective and strategic partnering with academic units and student affairs to improve student retention from first to second year from the current 86.9 percent to 90 percent, and four-year graduation rates from the present 69.5 percent to 70 percent 

Engage the campus community in participating in enrollment management strategy, particularly the academic deans 

The Vice Provost will be a creative and forceful thinker, skilled communicator, strategist, and visible force on campus. The Vice Provost will develop key relationships, both formally and informally, across the university, and work closely with other university leaders to achieve the institution’s overall strategic objectives. The Vice Provost will convey the vision for enrollment and promote a tone in the UVM community of open conversation, creativity, and shared goals relating to strategic enrollment management. 

The Vice Provost should have a good understanding of the different markets and competitive contexts for the different colleges and academic programs at UVM. In addition, the Vice Provost will work with the deans in managing curricular distribution/programmatic spread, balancing student demand with university capacity and needs, anticipating rather than being reactive, and carrying enrollment planning through to course implications. 

Look strategically at price point, discount rate, and how to use aid 

The Vice Provost will work closely with university leadership to demonstrate the complex interplay between price point, discount rate, and net tuition revenue. A thorough and creative examination will include consideration of multiple strategies across the entire spectrum of pricing and messaging about cost, access, and value. 

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities 

The Vice Provost for Enrollment Management will possess the central attributes of leadership for success: vision, strategy, drive, energy, creativity, collegiality, and emotional intelligence. First and foremost, the VPEM will have a demonstrated track record of success in enrollment management with the ability to work with and support each of the offices in the division and provide strategic direction for a strong team that possesses significant expertise. The VPEM will be a results-oriented administrator, strategic decision-maker, systematic thinker, and respected colleague with the skill and ability to learn and embrace the University of Vermont’s traditions, values, mission, and vision. The Vice Provost will be a strong implementer of ideas with the ability to understand, be comfortable with, and take managed risks. 

The ideal candidate will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics: 

Vision and leadership: ability to lead the enrollment management organization with vision and creativity; an entrepreneurial outlook and eye to new possibilities and emerging challenges; and ability to build and motivate a team; 

Proven effectiveness and expertise in enrollment and change management: significant professional experience managing the complex interplay of marketing and recruiting strategies, enrollment goals, yield, and financial aid; leading access, diversity and student success initiatives and growing diverse student applicant pools; and genuine enjoyment in leading, managing, and implementing large-scale innovation; 

Inventiveness and creativity: proven success in innovative thinking and risk taking combined with excellent execution of both complex and routine strategies and initiatives; a record of taking programs to new levels of success; ability to execute with close attention to the needs of the university and the match between it and its potential students; and ability to think creatively and to leverage technology; 

Strategic ability: evidence of ability to focus and lead an organization to achieve the elements of a strategic plan, and to continuously refine the organizational plan, structure, and operations as the plan evolves; and comfort with delegating day-to-day management and decision making to senior managers; 

Strong analytical capacity: the ability to produce forward-looking, transparent strategic plans and budgets that link expenditures to outcomes; facility to assess the effectiveness of how recruitment and financial aid funds are employed to achieve enrollment goals; capacity to produce regular and systematic comparative reports that detail month-to-month as well as annual progress toward enrollment goals; capability to employ information on national and international trends in higher education and on developments in competitor institutions effectively in planning; proven success at harnessing technology in inventive and productive ways so as to increase accessibility, reach, and efficiency; and proven skill at using modeling to build and yield the optimal enrolling class; 

Multicultural fluency: an appreciation of difference, strong commitment to inclusiveness, understanding of nuance, and the ability to think intentionally with an awareness of the various ways in which the campus is experienced differently by different students; 

A strong collaborative nature: an ability to work well with a variety of constituents including students, faculty, staff, and other senior leadership; 

Mature communication skills: strong speaking and writing skills with the ability to articulate a vision effectively to all constituencies including prospective students and their families, the enrollment staff, faculty and staff, alumni, trustees, and the public; 

Personal qualities: a sense of urgency and engagement; honesty, integrity, candor, and a strong internal moral compass; hard working; a joy in one’s work; optimism, confidence, and excitement about change; a genuine interest in forming a team with the Provost and deans; loyalty; a personal presence that is active and inclusive; proven skill dealing with complex and diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives; ability to observe, listen, learn, and clarify needs while engendering trust quickly among various constituencies; wisdom, sound judgment; good sense of humor; and 

Credentials and Experience: A master’s degree is required; earned doctorate is preferred; at least five years of increasing leadership responsibility in enrollment management. 

University of Vermont: An Overview 

History 

The University of Vermont was chartered in 1791, the fifth New England college established after Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown. Ira Allen, brother of Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen and a central figure in Vermont’s early economic and social development, led the drive to charter a state university and locate it in Burlington. The university, known as a public ivy, is popularly called UVM, a derivation of its Latin name, Universitas Viridis Montis, the University of the Green Mountains. 

The new university’s charter explicitly declared support for freedom of religion—making it the nation’s first institution of higher learning to take such a public stance. In 1838, Andrew Harris was the first African-American graduate of the university. This tradition of openness continued in 1871, when the university defied custom and admitted two women as students. Four years later, the school’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter became the first honor society in the nation to admit women; two years after that, in 1877, the society became the nation’s first to admit African-American students. 

In 1864, following the lead of Vermont U.S. Senator Justin Smith Morrill, whose legislation established Morrill land-grant universities across the country, Vermont established a land-grant college, the State Agricultural College, and provided the first significant, direct public support for the institution. In 1865, the college merged with the older university to form the university of Vermont and State Agricultural College. By the end of the 19th century, the state added support for a medical school to its contributions. In 1955, the legislature reorganized the university as an “instrumentality” of the state. It added three state-appointed seats to the Board of Trustees and created the first annual general state appropriation in the university’s history. The 1955 reorganization also mandated that the university provide reduced in-state undergraduate tuition in exchange for state support. 

So from the beginning, the University of Vermont has been both public and private in its financing, its governance, and its missions. The institution has retained an independence of spirit, fostered by the state’s history of political and social movements, ranging from abolition to civil unions. This contrarian and civic tradition continues today in the state’s political and community life and finds its own echo in the life of the university. 

UVM Today 

UVM embraces both a strong teaching mission and a dedication to advancing fields of knowledge through research. UVM has been consistently ranked among the nation’s top 60 public universities in U.S. News & World Report and provides a rich environment for teaching, research, and scholarship in many realms of human inquiry, achieved in large measure through a distinguished faculty of accomplished teacher-scholars. 

UVM is classified as a high activity research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is the nation’s smallest land-grant institution with a medical school. It offers an unusually rich complement of academic programs, including more than 100 undergraduate majors, 54 master’s programs, 12 graduate certificate programs, and 26 doctoral degrees. 

The university’s academic units include: 

Other academic units include the University of Vermont Extension; the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station; and the UVM Libraries. UVM’s research enterprise encompasses doctoral programs, advanced research facilities, and major programs in research and public service supported by grants and contracts. The Vermont legislature recently supported the university’s proposal to stand up an Office of Engagement that will help UVM meet its land-grant mission, especially as the state looks to emerge from the challenges posed by COVID-19. 

The university’s research centers and institutes focus on biomedical, psychological, environmental, complex systems, transportation, educational, agricultural, and community issues. Specialized laboratories in every school and college, four research farms, nine university-managed natural areas, a waterfront lake research center and an aquatic research vessel are among UVM’s research facilities. 

Faculty constitutes the heart of the university and UVM faculty is deeply committed to excellence in both scholarly research and teaching. UVM has a full-time faculty of 1,350 and a part-time faculty of 411. In recent years, UVM has brought a heightened intentionality to diversity in its faculty recruitment and today, 15 percent of tenure-track faculty is African-American, Asian, or Native American, and women faculty occupy nearly 40 percent of all tenure-track appointments. 

Over the last decade, the student population at UVM has increased in size, quality, and diversity. The student community today totals 12,772 degree students, including 10,700 undergraduate, 1,594 graduate, and 478 medical students. Non-degree enrollment includes an additional 2,500 continuing education students each year in credit-bearing courses. In the last ten years, the graduate student population has grown by 13 percent, paced by a 25 percent increase in doctoral enrollment from 2010-2019. Approximately 27 percent of undergraduates are Vermonters, with the balance comprising students from 47 states and 43 countries. ALANA enrollment, at 11 percent of undergraduates, a considerable achievement within the context of the state of Vermont, with its limited racial diversity. Still, UVM’s relatively small size enables it to provide an educational experience on a human scale. 

UVM’s fiscal 2020 budget totals $705 million. The market value of the university’s endowment is over $535 million at the end of 2020 fiscal year. State support represents $42.5 million annually and has remained relatively constant over recent years, continuing to represent approximately 6 percent of the overall budget. 

In October 2015, the ambitious $500 million goal of Move Mountains: The Campaign for the University of Vermont was formally announced by the University of Vermont Foundation. By the time the campaign concluded on June 30, 2019, over 75,000 donors had given more than $581 million. 

UVM derives some of its distinctive character from Vermont’s unique culture and sense of place, which instinctively encourages critical, independent thought, and consciously promotes civic engagement. Inextricably linked to the fortunes of the state, the university is essential to Vermont’s economic growth, its educational quality, and its cultural, historic, and environmental preservation. It is also a separate corporate entity from the state, with its governance an explicit blend of public and private. Its 25-member Board of Trustees includes nine elected by the self-perpetuating, private Board, nine selected by the state legislature, three appointed by the governor, and two students. UVM’s president and the governor serve as ex officio members. UVM has invested almost $400 million in the campus over the last decade, including the construction of a state of the art STEM Complex and a new central campus residence hall for 695 first-year students that includes a 450- seat dining facility. The university is in the early stages of an upgrade and expansion of its athletic facilities to create a multipurpose center that better accommodates health, fitness, wellness, academic, athletic, events, and related programs. 

Leadership 

Suresh Garimella, Ph.D., is the 27th President of the University of Vermont. Dr. Garimella has made seminal contributions to the field of thermal management and energy efficiency at nano-scale in electronics systems, and in sustainable energy systems technology and policy. Co-author of over 500 publications and 13 patents, he was inducted as a Fellow into the National Academy of Inventors. He has applied his expertise to national and international issues, having served as a science advisor at the U.S. Department of State and as Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. Dr. Garimella is a member of the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation and also serves as an independent body of advisers to both the President and Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering. He also serves on the seven-person research advisory board of Sandia National Laboratories. 

Dr. Garimella was drawn to UVM as a land-grant university in the home state of Senator Justin Morrill, creator of the land-grant concept that links university and community. UVM’s new president considers the creation of the land-grant university system to be one of the greatest and most successful experiments in higher education. Owing a debt of gratitude to public universities in his own life, Dr. Garimella is excited to now be leading UVM and reimagining the land-grant mission for the 21st century. Dr. Garimella previously served as Purdue University’s inaugural Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. 

Patricia Prelock, Ph.D., was named Provost and Senior Vice President of the University of Vermont effective November 18, 2019, after having been appointed Interim Provost the prior April. From 2009 to 2019, she served as Dean of the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences, which is home to her faculty appointment of Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is also a Professor of Pediatrics in the UVM Larner College of Medicine. Dr. Prelock served as Chair of the UVM Department of Communication Sciences from 2002 to 2009. Dr. Prelock is a recognized expert in the nature and treatment of autism spectrum disorders and has been awarded more than $11.3 million dollars in university, state, and federal funding as a PI or Co- PI to develop innovations in interdisciplinary training supporting children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, to facilitate training in speech-language pathology, and to support her intervention work in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She was named an American Speech-Language Hearing Association Fellow in 2000, was President of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association in 2013, and received Honors of the Association in 2016. Dr. Prelock is a Board-Certified Specialist in Child Language and a Fellow in the National Academies of Practice in speech-language pathology. 

Burlington, Vermont 

The university’s campus sits in the heart of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, with 60,000 people in town and 150,000 more in the greater urban area. The city boasts a bustling shopping and restaurant scene, a thriving arts community, and a picturesque Lake Champlain waterfront. The community offers a wide selection of high quality public schools and excellent health care, anchored by the academic health science center. Burlington is consistently cited as one of the nation’s most livable, safest, and healthiest cities. The spectacular natural setting and dynamic small-city culture make Burlington a fixture on “10 Best” lists. It has been ranked in 2014 the best college town in the U.S. 

Procedure for Candidacy 

Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Candidates should provide a professional resume and a letter of application that (1) addresses the central themes described in this leadership profile, (2) includes a statement addressing their commitment to advancing diversity and inclusive excellence, and (3) provides the names and contact information for five references. References will not be contacted without prior notice to the candidate. Applications should be submitted through the university’s electronic recruitment site: http://www.uvmjobs.com. Nominations and inquiries should be sent to jennifer.Dickinson@uvm.edu. 

Review of applications will begin immediately, and will continue until the position is filled. Applications received by August 28, 2020 will receive priority consideration. 

Compensation arrangements are competitive, will be commensurate with both experience and achievement, and include an extremely competitive array of benefits. 

The University of Vermont is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other category legally protected by federal or state law.

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