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The Antelope

The Antelope

Strategic enrollment task force

issue 3 cover


UNK’s Strategic Enrollment Management Task Force has been working since fall to counteract a
steady decline in UNK enrollment numbers. At the end of January, the Task Force held a campus-wide
presentation in the hopes of educating and familiarizing this issue, as well as looking to staff and even
students to be active advocate of and recruiters for UNK.
Kelly Bartling, UNK’s assistant vice chancellor of communications and community relations, said
that one of the biggest concerns following the presentation is that people may suspect the presentation
itself is what the task force’s work resulted in. She ensured that this is not the case.
“There’s a lot that goes into enrollment management, it isn’t just recruiting harder,” Bartling
said. “It’s looking at the whole picture, and who you are trying to recruit and what kind of material do
you target to those perspective students. That is why involving the entire campus has been so
important, because everyone plays a role.”
By ‘everyone’, Bartling referred to over 80 people who have already worked on the recruitment
plan and the retention plan, and the innumerable others involved in various committees and capacities
from UNK’s colleges and departments. These individuals worked to produce a viable plan and aim
towards making this plan come to fruition.
Despite this plan being made and many programs already set in motion, there are still things the
Task Force needs to examine further.
“The heart of the plan is organized under three groups: do now, plan, and study,” Bartling said.
One significant study is that of UNK’s continuous change in student demographic. While UNK
maintains a substantial number of traditional college students, the incline of international students,
online students and nontraditional students has turned UNK into a diverse campus with distinctive
As a University with unique needs, Bartling and the rest of the Task Force look to make unique
changes in how UNK markets and self-advocates.
“UNK has traditionally focused on that first-time full-time student, and in particular those
Nebraska high school seniors coming to live and study at UNK,” Bartling said. “When you look at the
demographic trends, we just have to diversify and look more at the nontraditional student. And that
isn’t to say our ‘traditional student’ population isn’t important — we need to double down on [each
group in the demographic].”
By sticking to the plan and each of its respective divisions, Bartling suspects significant and
positive changes in UNK semesters to come.
“Everybody is working together,” Bartling said. “Enrollment is a critical issue for UNK, and I think
everyone has entered that conversation with eagerness and some excitement in looking to execute some of these ideas.”

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