By Eric Fung
On Jan. 15, the University of Calgary will accomplish one of six recommendations from its 2001 Enrolment Management by Design report when Mr. Kevin Paul becomes Director of Enrolment Services.
This new position was created by the U of C to oversee its recruitment and admissions, an area in which Paul has 20 years of experience. He comes from the University of Victoria where he was Director of Undergraduate Admissions and developed UVic’s first orientation program. The position in Calgary will offer new challenges, however.
"The U of C is running at about 120 per cent capacity right now, which is a result of taking in new students while at the same time being underfunded," Paul said from Victoria. "Another thing is that the U of C has been lacking strategy in enrolment. What is good is that they’re making conscious changes to improve the situation. The university knows where is has to be and it knows what it has to offer."
Nic Porco, Students’ Union Vice-President Academic, named some additional concerns that Paul will need to address.
"Right now, the wait times for admission are very bad," he said. "The longer a student has to wait for a response from the university, the less likely they are to choose to come here. Still, the university is getting better with prospective students and admissions, for example, and I’m certain [Paul] will bring fresh perspective to the U of C in these respects."
While his concrete plans will depend on impending changes to certain U of C policies such as admission averages, Paul will essentially work with specific priorities
"We want students to know what is going on even before stepping into their first class," he explained. "[The U of C] will take responsibility for the complete experience. We want to revise and refocus with students in mind, so that they feel really good about being here. We want both current and prospective students to be able to get the information they want when they want it."
The advent of direct entry in Fall 2002 will bring additional challenges with individual faculties vying for higher enrolment. Paul has anticipated this and is making plans.
"Some faculties have trouble meeting their [enrolment] goals and the situation has always existed," Paul said. "We want to support these faculties by providing simple means of exposure to prospective students, such as directly contacting scholarship recipients and arranging school visits."
Porco mentioned that this is not an entirely new position, because in some ways it replaces the Director of Admissions. However, enrolment is a broad term, he added, and Paul’s work will be cut out for him.
"[Paul] has to realize that there are many diverse groups on campus, each with their own interests," said Porco. "He will have to collaborate with these groups to work out solutions. As well, a stronger Canada-wide recruitment would be liked, but money is needed and this is something the director will have to deal with."
Amidst the challenges, Paul looks forward to becoming Director of Enrolment Services.
"I’m thrilled to be joining the U of C,"
he said. "I’m also looking forward to seeing real winters."