2: Concordia University, Texas – Transitioning to a New Enrollment Role w/ Jennielle Strother

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jennielle Strother, Chief Enrollment Officer at Concordia University, Texas and co-founder of #EMchat discusses how to transition into a new enrollment leadership role and what your first 30 days should look like at a new institution.

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. I'Mericleson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education,...

...and we're here today with Jennie l strather, chief enrollment officer at Concordia University Texas. Jenelle, thanks so much for joining us today. Thanks for having me. Many of you may also know Genel as the CO founder of em chat a weekly twitter chet where participants discuss issues and strategies regarding enrollment management admissions leadership. She's a wonderful thought leader and I'm honored to call her a friend as well. Just this year Jennel joined can courtia university Texas as chief enrollment officer and we're going to have a great discussions today about how to transition successfully to a new enrollment leadership role. But before we get too deep into that, Jeneale, can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Concordia University Texas and your role? They're sure, and thanks for all of those nice comments. It's been it's so great to connect with you any time, but especially like this and talking about a topic that we'd love like. Yeah, I so Cancordia University Texas has in Austin Texas, where Liberal...

Arts University in West Austin. We Are Lutheran University and we have enrollments about twenty five hundred students and I've been here since so about five and a half months, but I was here ten years ago. So I have a very unique experience of being a place and then coming back after about a decade and as far as I'm you know about me, I've been in higher at my entire adult life. Started off it as a collegiate volleyball coach and when I was ready to hang up my whistle, I transitioned into enrollment management. Haven't looked back since. I love it and have been at you a different institutions over the years, but am happy to call Concordia University Texas home. Awesome. I do think your perspective is somewhat unique in terms of returning to a former institution, but also fairly common in our world as well. So I think it's going to be super helpful and any unique perspective for our listeners. Let's talk about that transition to a new enrollment role, especially a leadership one.

What were your first thirty days like? What were your top priorities going into them, and any lessons you learned that you'd want to do differently next time? Sure, yeah, so I reflected a lot about, you know, how to come back to a place where there were many people that were that I knew back, you know, ten years ago, that are still working here and you know, while I kept up relationships, but not on a daytoday basis, like when you, you know, started a job. So I reflected on that. How do you come back after, you know, so many, so many years, reconnecting with folks, but also just really what I wanted to do differently, because I've on boarded at different places at different times, and so the main thing was one is listening. I mean, you hear that a lot, but that's it's really hard to do when you have a short amount of time to make an impact, especially when it comes to enrollment, because you want to do and get things done and the way that you would want them. But I highly encourage listening and going on a, you know, quote unquote, listening tour and just listening to...

...people and their thoughts about enrollment in the university and the direction of the institution. But then reflecting on coming back to a place where I knew people before, is trying not to walk in with assumptions from ten years ago and really approaching the position with new eyes. And while the relationships were great, one of the things that I found was that I walked in thinking I knew a lot about the institution and but that I really didn't. And then, but also on the flip side, I walked in not thinking I knew some things that I really did know, and so I would just say be patient and but also be kind yourself, because you're trying to do a lot in a short amount of time. That's awesome. I love the listening to our idea. I think in some other industries there's a little bit more of a time cushion to take a kind of do no harm philosophy while learning the ropes. For All our listeners. We know that in the enrollment game you don't always...

...have that luxury. You have to start moving quick you got to hit, you know, the next terms numbers. Well, what did that balance look like for you between learning fast and making swift decisions? Well, I'll tell you that. You know. The other thing is, when you started a place, this is this is a phenomenon that typically people, some folks, will come to you and ask you your opinion on something because they want to see a change, a quick change that may not have happened before you got here. Sometimes you learn in the hard way. You make that quick decision and you realize three months down the road, oh, should have you know, just slowed down right. And so I think you have to really part of it's just in our genes as enrollment managers is we're doers and we have to go and we get out there and make things happen. And so for me, and is being is having to coach myself and say, yes, I know they want, they want more for me. They want to see...

...a change immediately, but it's not going to be smart if I if I make that change quickly without thinking and knowing all of the impact that it will make institution wide. And so it was really coaching myself and slowing down and making sure that I'm being thoughtful and bringing the right people to the table. Sometimes that's the hardest part, is not even knowing in the organization who are the people who need to be at the people when you're new. So love it, love it. You have a really strong track record as an enrollment leader. You likely came into this role with a clear, genel vision for for what the future of the institution was going to look like. Talk to me a little bit about how do you embrace the institutions internal vision for growth, their culture, while bringing your own vision and ideas for how to get there? Well, my own personal experience and it's you know what, I coach other folks who are in searches for new positions. Is I hope you're looking at that alignment before you actually sign a contract or, or, you know, accept a new position, that you're looking at the institution's vision and...

...where they want to go in, you know, for the future, and whether or not allignes with your own vision about enrollment and how I can best serve the institution but also my staff, and that it's all in an alignment. and honestly, the institutions where I have served, that's that was the main goal for me, was is will my style and what I think works for, you know, a private faith based institution, and West Austin does that work. And so, ultimately that it happened before I got here. Incredibly helpful advice, Jenneale. Anything else that you want to make sure we covered before we close today, or maybe, specifically, any next steps for listeners who are similarly new to a role or about to make that transition, and some tips on how to hit the ground running effectively and thoughtfully. Yes, reach out to your friends and colleagues for help. I can't tell you...

I've engaged with conversations before the first day I step foot on this campus and ask them what did you do when you prepared for a new position and when you got and then what was the reality and what would you have done differently? And so reach out to colleagues. I would say slow down and pick three priorities that you want to make and those that first thirty days and then, you know, look at three months and then maybe six months after that. Pick out those priorities. But then also, I would say truly, truly, truly take time to think. Take time in your day. You are going to be meeting so many people and listening and you need time to reflect, think about what you've you know what you've heard, and journal do something, because they those first thirty days are pretty precious, because people are taking time to meet you and tell you exactly what they think, and that's important stuff right. So those would be the three things I would say.

And then, just for anybody out there who's in the middle of a transition or looking to transition or about to transition, I'm here. I know Eric is open, but there's a ton of us out there that want to see you succeed and we're here to help you too. So just reach out. Danielle awesome advice. What is the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have follow up questions or if they want to take you up on that offer. Sure so. My social media, you know, of choice, account of choices, twitter. So if you can reach me at my handle is em for enrollment management, em Gennye l Jeannie lllle and then or my email address, Jenny l dot strathor at Concordia, dieed. You, please do reach out. I love have an enrollment friends awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today, Jennel, and all the best in your new role. Thank you so much. Eric. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an 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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