May 7, 1998

Enrolment project recommends sweeping changes

The interim report of the massive Enrolment Management Project (EMP) calls for a new or redesigned student information system to keep Concordia's recruitment and admission efforts competitive with other universities.

Information blockage and jurisdictional confusion are preventing Concordia from doing its best to recruit and admit students, according to the people working on the EMP. Their interim report got an encouraging reception when it was presented to the Rector's Advisory Group on April 20.

The project is aimed at analyzing and radically improving how the University handles students. A team has worked since October to gather information on how recruitment and admission are currently organized. While final recommendations aren't expected until the project is complete, there was enough consensus to suggest that a new or completely redesigned student information system (SIS) is needed.

In fact, the committee believes that unless the SIS is changed radically, the University can expect only incremental improvement in its admissions and recruitment processes.

Ultimately, the EMP team recommends establishing a fully-dedicated recruitment centre that would serve the needs of the Faculties, the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of the Registrar. Both McGill University and the University of Toronto have recently created central recruitment offices.

At Concordia, the same people are doing recruitment and admissions, two sometimes conflicting tasks. The EMP team found that more than 50 units -- specifically, 110 employees -- are spending at least 10 per cent of their time on recruitment, and there are no criteria for measuring the success of their efforts.

Jurisdictional problems also exist, particularly for prospective graduate students. For some programs, students apply to the relevant department; for others, to the School of Graduate Studies.

Part of the problem is lack of information about the students. It should be possible to track students electronically from their first expression of interest in Concordia through the various stages of application, admission, all the way to graduation -- and students themselves should have access to this information.

The EMP envisions a central, autonomous office of professional recruiters with instant access to the information they need.

The team working on the enrolment project includes administrators with years of direct experience with recruitment and admissions at Concordia. It also includes student representatives, who brought valuable insights to the discussion.

The next stage of the EMP, which is expected to continue through the summer, is called "visioning," and involves redesigning the current recruitment and admissions processes identified in this interim report. - BB

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