18: Faculty’s Role in the Recruitment Process at Calvin College w/ Ryan Bebej

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ryan Bebej, Assistant Professor of Biology at Calvin College, discusses faculty’s role in the enrollment process – what it is, what it could be, and what it definitely shouldn’t be.

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...welcome back to N Romant GrowthUniversity, I'm Ari Golson, AVP of marketing and healits education, andwe're here today with Ryan BB Assistant, professor of biology at Calvin CollegeRyan. Thanks. So much for joining us today. Happy to be here Ryan's bestfriend from high school was my best friend and my roommate in college andRyan, and I first met at thes shared frends Bachelor Party, where I quicklylearned about Ryan's biology, career pursuits and after which I spent theentire night asking Rian about five hours of biological and evolutionaryquestions. He's been one of my absolute favorite minds ever since, and I'mreally excited to get his unique perspective today on faculties role inthe recruitment process, what it is and perhaps what it should be. But beforewe get too deep into that Ryan, can you get the listeners a little bit betterunderstanding of both Calvin College and your role there sure Calvin is aChristian Liberal Arts College in Grand Rapids Michigan we have a little underfour thousand undergraduate students and I'm in my sixth year as a facultymember in the Biology Department. I...

...teach primarily courses in anatomy andphysiology, and my primary area of research is actually the evolution andPaleontology of Marine manmals. Like Wales, I also serve as faculty advisorfor our students, including specializing as the preveterinaryadviser, Preaptoma, try, adviser and also for our biology, neuroscienceconcentration, awesome, Ryan. The reason I wanted to talk to you aboutthis topic was that on social media. I see you constantly sharing the coolstuff that not only your students in your department are doing, but justsharing Calvin love in general, and when you first thought about being aprofessor, I imagine you considered the teaching the advising the researchresponsibilities you'd have. How soon did you realize you'd? Have theserecruitment responsibilities as well yeah? It happened fairly early and Iprobably anticipated some of it before I started, but you're right. Igenerally thought about doing research. I thought about teaching I thoughtabout advising of current students also about service to the college in termsof serving in committees and various...

...things. But when I thought aboutrecruitment, I probably just thought of really two things one. I thought Iwould probably meet with visiting students and their families if theywere interested in my department or my program, and I could meet with Hem. Toanswer questions that they had, and I also figured I'd participate in some ofour visitor programming. We have a regularly scheduled program calledFridays at Calvin where perspective students and their families come forthe day, and we always have lunches that are hosted by faculty members andalso by current students. So I figured that I would probably participate in acouple of those per year as well, but it was probably during my first ormaybe my second year as a faculty member when I first saw these callsheets that they would ask faculty to go through. So these would be sheetswith information about perspective students who had applied to Calvin orwere interested in Cavin and we're on the fence, and they would ask us toreach out to the students either by calling them or by sending them anemail and ther were even sometimes...

...these calling parties where a bunch offaculty and students would get together for a few hours SOM evening and try andreached out to as many students as they possibly could and that that type ofprogram. We haven't really done that in that way. Now for several years, butI'me still pretty routinely asked to contact students that I've met with bysending out emails to them and trying to keep them in the loop, as we figureout, if they're still considering calvin or not, and so I'm empathetic toin Roman's desire for you to participate that level, because becausefaculty interactions during the inroman process or often sited is the decidingmoment when a student can picture themselves there working shoulder toshoulder with with you in your department for the next few years, andso as a professor, I imagine, you also have a bested interest in recruiting astronger class curious, ambitious high. Achieving students is that along astrong enough incentive to put in that extra work. For me, I guess that inparticular is not a major factor, mainly because, even when I meet withstudents that I'm reaching out to students a lot of times, even if theycome into Kavin I'll, never see them in...

...the classroom or in the lab and formost students. The first time I ever meet them is in the classroom, a d. Soyou know, there's probably been a handful of students over the years thatI've met as perspective students who I later got to know really well, but,generally speaking, that's not a major factor for me just given the likelihoodof me ever seeing them in class. So I know that your role provides you with alot of just natural brand building, recruiting activity. Speaking ofconferences, you're doing research with an at museums, you're givting talks tothe general public. Is it more the sales nature of recruiting that youthink not all faculty or comfortable with o? Or is it simply the fact thatrecruitming activities or a perceived distraction from what they believetheir primary role to be yeah? I really think that sales aspect is kind of whatmakes me a little bit nervous, mainly because it's not something. I know muchabout doing well, yeah, when I think about why I became a faculty member. Itis my love of teaching and my love of research an and that's what got me aninto doing this, and I also understand...

...that you know four perspective studentsthat, in that interaction with faculty, is a really key experience for helpingthem decide where they're going to go, and in that sense, I'm more than happyto share about my experiences. My perspectives, the things I love aboutbeing at Calvin, I'm an alum as well- and you know there are a lot of thosethings that drew me back as a faculty member. But I often wonder if sometimeswhen, I'm meeting with these students and their familie is that I' wonderingif I'm saying the wrong thing or if I'm doing or saying something that mightturn them off, because I'm comfortable teaching anddoing research and sharing about that and I'm not really comfortable as as asalesman. But at the same time I understand why we're asked to do someof these things. Thinking about institutions like Calvin, where we needa fairly steady enrollment to bring in the tuition revenue, which is a keypart of our budget. But I also don't just want to bring in students to fillthe seats. It's really important for me when I meet with perspective studentsthat I'm helping them figure out. If...

...this place is the best place for them,and I often will tell them when we're done meeting you know, regardless ofwhether they end up at Calvin or not. I hope that they get a sense of clarityand a sense of peace, about where itill be continuing their education, and Iwonder if that makes me a pretty bad salesman if I'm saying that they mightbe happier somewhere else. I don't know. I think it makes you an amazingsalesman and I'm sure you'R in Roman team would agree while while they dohave, obviously you know revenue goals based on student goals, they also wantstudents that'll persist because it's the right fit for them. So now I thinkI think your approach is actually closer to a traditional sales e, anRoman proach than you may think. Wesurprised I'd love your opinion on this statement.Marketing and recruitment isn't just markings job or in romance job. It'severyone's job agree or disagree. I guess in some sense I agree with that,because I do feel like when I'm engaging in MI normal p professionalactivities I'm representing Kalvin. So...

I need to make sure I'm representingour institution. Well, when I give a nice presentation at a conference orpublish really interesting paper, I see those things as promoting the type ofinstitution that Kalvin is to show how serious we are about, but ourscholarship about our teaching about our faith intigration as well, and I'mreally happy to do that, especially when it's in the context of things andI'm passionate about things that I'm already doing. I am moderately activeon social media and I do like sharing stories about what my students aredoing. What my colleagues are doing other initiatives that Calvin as aninstitution is involved with in so yeah. I guess I would see general marketingof Calvin and promotion of the amazing place that I do believe that it is ispart of my job and it's something that I'm generally pretty happy doing,especially when it's in line with the things that I'm passionate about andthings that a'm already to be involved in right, really good stuff, reallygood stuff. rying. Two final questions for you and I'd love to hear you advicefor for both faculty and administrators.

Here, first, any advice,recommendations you have for new faculty being asked to help in therecruitment process. Sure I think it's important for facultys to know comingin that. This really is a part of our job, and I especially think that it'simportant when perspective students have questions about your program, butyour majors about your field and the types of opportunities they'll have asstudents in your department, because you as a faculty member, will know farmore about those things than anyoneed admissions does, and so it's importantfor us to be able to share that information with perspective studentsin order to help them figure out. If your program and your college is a goodfit for them and for their career goals and thinking about administrators, Icertainly think they should be asking faculty to participate in some of thesethings and leveraging those things hat. The P tha faculty yore passionate aboutand knowledgeable about, but I also think that it might be you appropriateto think about limiting the types of...

...things that you ask them to be involvedin, especially if its a type of activity that somebody on staff mightbe able to do just as well be it sending emails out to perspectivestudents wore making phone calls to see if students have made any decisions yetreally good stuff Rin your the best. What's the best place for listeners toconnect with you if they have any followed questions well, my name is alittle bit unusual in the way that it spelled. So if you, Google me it's Ryanbb Bebej, you should be ealty very easily, find my academic website or myprofile on Calvin's website, and you can feel free to send me an email ifyou have any questions or thoughts, awsome grateful for you time andingrateful. For that, the very unique perspective. It's given a lot of us alot to think about thanks again so much for joining. U Day, Rhyan Noproblemmeric you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until...

...next time.

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