The first candidate for the open position of the vice president for enrollment management spoke about leadership methods, strategizing admissions and increasing retention rates during his visit to Ithaca College on April 18.
Dennis Craig, vice president of enrollment management and integrated marketing at SUNY Purchase since 2006, is interviewing to replace Eric Maguire, who left the college last summer. Approximately 30 faculty, students and members of the administration attended the open presentation and discussion, which was held in Textor 102.
All the students present at the event were part of the presidential search committee, who declined to comment. All other members in attendance were unable to comment.
Faculty members asked Craig about his experience in recruiting and retaining students, and what his goals would be should he get the position. Craig described his early experience with international management training while working as an employment recruiter at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Towers, and how he has applied that knowledge to enrollment marketing for international admissions at colleges and universities. Craig said one of his main objectives would be to help the college achieve its goal of building its international student population through market research.
Before starting at SUNY Purchase, Craig served as the director of admissions at Fairleigh Dickinson University, The Culinary Institute of America and Montclair State University over a span of 15 years.
Craig talked about his experience with utilizing data as a tool for identifying problems and formulating solutions for increasing enrollment and retention rates.
“For me, data is really a neutralizing type of force for informed decision–making,” Craig said. “It brings more capability to others in the collaborative process, and we’re much better enabled to establish goals that we feel confident in.”
He said studying issues through numbers can help remove emotion from the decision-making process to formulate better questions and subsequently more effective solutions for issues ranging from student affairs to finances.
When asked his thoughts about the recent issues raised at the college about diversity and inclusion, Craig said it is important for the administration to be active in open discussions and conversations on campus.
Regarding opportunities for diverse recruitment, he said, the college needs to not only reach out to students but also establish strong relationships with the schools they are coming from.
“It is important to build trust and confidence with specific high schools in specific areas to know that their students will be successful at this institution,” he said.
Craig said the college must be confident in the message that it is a “safe place for all people to be valued and respected.”
Craig said what attracted him to the college was its “impressive pedigree of experiential learning” and a feeling of collaboration across campus. He said his leadership style is built around trust, and he feels it is important to be an active presence on campus to build relationships with students — not just be a part of the administration.
There will be open forums held for the rest of the candidates throughout the upcoming week. The sessions will be held on these dates: Noon–1 p.m. April 22 in Clark Lounge, noon–1 p.m. April 25 in Textor 102 and 12:15–1:15 p.m. April 26in Textor 103.
This article was updated to correct the open position’s job title.