Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management (AVP)
Download the position profile Wayne State University seeks an innovative and strategic enrollment management leader to serve as the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management (AVP). Reporting directly to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management will develop systems and operations to advance the enrollment practices of Wayne State University in the context of a compelling and forward- thinking strategic plan at one of the nation’s eminent research universities. Leading a team of approximately 82 staff, the AVP is responsible for undergraduate admissions, financial aid functions, and student service center of the University. Additionally, the AVP will serve as a strategic thought partner and enrollment leader in the development of enrollment management plans for masters and certificate programs throughout all of Wayne State’s schools and colleges.
As a leader on campus, the AVP will shape policies and processes that will support the University’s commitment to access and degree attainment for a diverse community of learners. The AVP will join a diverse university community with demonstrated commitment to student persistence and economic impact, as evidenced by its distinction as the number one university in Michigan for upward mobility for economically disadvantaged students and the increase of six-year graduation rates over the last decade, now exceeding 60 percent. The AVP will be a bold, highly adaptive, and innovative leader who will design, implement, and assess new enrollment strategies that will build upon strengths and enhance enrollment in the context of a changing demographic in an urban university.
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University, founded in 1868, is a nationally recognized public, urban research university in Detroit. Wayne State is Michigan’s only urban research university and is known internationally for its contributions to the sciences. Committed to educational opportunity, research, and community enrichment, Wayne State serves a critical role in Michigan’s higher education landscape. Wayne State University’s campus, located in the University Cultural Center and Historic District in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, encompasses approximately 200 acres. The University enrolls nearly 25,000 students making it the third largest among Michigan’s 15 public universities and one of the largest in the nation. Wayne State has vibrant student life, with over 500 student clubs and organizations and competitive NCAA Division II Athletics. Committed to access, research, and community, Wayne State serves a critical role within the education landscape of Michigan and is one of a few institutions nationally to hold the highest Carnegie designation in both research and community engagement. Just as the City of Detroit is undergoing a remarkable renaissance, the University is a preeminent urban research institution that serves the students of Detroit and the world.
Wayne State boasts the most diverse student body among Michigan’s public universities, with students from nearly every U.S. state and 70 countries. In a recent survey, students ranked campus diversity very high among the University’s strengths. This is evident in the breadth of diversity across student, staff, and faculty groups. At a time when most research universities are struggling to attract a diverse students body, over 20 percent of Wayne State’s 2023 first-year class identify as African American, 10% as Hispanic and 12% as MENA. Among Wayne State’s faculty, over 30 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty are from under-represented groups. Indeed, amongst all R1 universities, Wayne State has the third most diverse graduate faculty in the country and is in the top five for the percentage of African-American tenured/tenure-track faculty. Among non-academic staff, nearly 50 percent are from under-represented groups and 62 percent are women. Wayne State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evidenced in programming, professional development, and the work of the Social Justice Action Committee.
Wayne State University is Detroit’s seventh-largest employer, with nearly 7,100 total faculty and staff employees and more than 2,000 student employees. Wayne State has 2,310 faculty members—of whom 1,531 are full-time—and nearly 5,000 administrative employees. Approximately two-thirds of faculty and staff are represented by one of the 13 unions on campus. Wayne State has nearly 300,000 alumni throughout the country, of whom about 75% live and work in Michigan.
The University’s comprehensive academic programs are offered through 13 schools and colleges: the Mike Ilitch School of Business; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts; the Graduate School; the Law School; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the School of Information Sciences; the School of Medicine; the College of Nursing; the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; the Irvin D. Reid Honors College; and the School of Social Work.
Students attending the School of Medicine have access to a variety of educational resources through 11 affiliate hospitals, including the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. A leader in green technology, the College
of Engineering was first in the nation to launch an electric-drive vehicle engineering program and offer an alternative energy technology master’s program. Alumni of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts include a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and recipients of and nominees for the Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, Obie, Screen Actors Guild, and Caldecott awards. The Hilberry Theatre is the nation’s first and longest-running university graduate repertory theatre. Wayne State Law School educates a substantial number of Michigan’s lawyers and jurists, with 80% of its graduates choosing to live and work in the state. Study-abroad opportunities are offered in 16 countries on five continents.
Wayne State’s advancement of its research mission is augmented by collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University in the University Research Corridor,
an alliance that accounts for 94 percent of all federal research dollars awarded to Michigan each year. Annual research funding awarded exceeds $300 million. Wayne State has a thriving research and technology park called TechTown Detroit and a number of partnerships with government, industry, and business. The University houses one of 41 National Cancer Institute- designated comprehensive cancer centers – the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute – as well as the NIH funded Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors.
Wayne State University ranks 68th among public American universities, according to the 2018 National Science Foundation Research rankings. Among the U.S. News and World Report rankings, include the School of Medicine as 68th for research and 28th for diversity, the Law School as 58th, and in the 2022 Best Graduate Schools rankings, the College of Nursing’s MSN and DNP programs rank 32nd and 40th, respectively, in the country.
In its 2023 rankings, U.S. News and World Report identified Wayne State University as one of the top performing research universities in the nation, and the best in Michigan, at helping economically disadvantaged students succeed and graduate. With a commitment to student persistence and retention, Wayne State has invested in resources and strategies to support its students. The University’s new six-year graduation rate exceeds 60%, a 120% improvement in the last decade.
Wayne State University’s location in the heart of Detroit is an integral part of their identity, and Wayne State will continue to enhance it's leadership in Detroit’s revitalization; develop innovative, sustainable, and mutually beneficial community-based service-learning experiences; and maintain and enhance Wayne State’s reputation for high-quality community engagement.
The incoming AVP will join the Wayne State University community during a historic time for its enrollment. In fall 2023, the University welcomed one of its largest and most diverse classes in its history. First-year freshman enrollment is up 17% and transfer students are up 12%. Wayne State is the top university for community college transfers in the state, and first-time enrollment has grown across campus.
Equally important, 55% of this fall’s incoming first-year students will attend Wayne State tuition free, thanks to a combination of financial aid programs including the Wayne State Guarantee, the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge which offers free tuition for graduates of Detroit high schools or Detroit residents earning a high school diploma and the Detroit Promise. About a third of incoming students are taking advantage of the Wayne State Guarantee, which is made possible in partnership with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Michigan Achievement Scholarship. At the time that record numbers of students are able to attend Wayne State with zero out-of-pocket costs, the discount rate decreased significantly.
For more information please visit the Wayne State University website.
Vision, Mission, and Values
As a diverse and mission-driven research university, Wayne State University is guided by the following:
We create and advance knowledge, prepare a diverse student body to thrive, and positively impact local and global communities.
We will be a preeminent, public, urban research university known for academic and research excellence, success across a diverse student body, and meaningful engagement in its urban community and around the world.
- Collaboration: When we work together, drawing upon various talents and perspectives, we achieve better results.
- Integrity: We keep our word, live up to our commitments, and are accountable to ourselves and each other.
- Innovation: We are unafraid to try new things and learn by both failure and success.
- Excellence: We strive for the highest-quality outcomes in everything we do.
- Diversity and inclusion: We value all people and understand that their unique experiences, talents and perspectives make us a stronger organization and better people.
- Leadership: We are proud of our long history as an anchor institution in Detroit and will continue to serve our community while playing a lead role in the city's resurgence.
The Strategic Plan
In 2021, Wayne State University completed its Strategic Plan, “Distinctively Wayne State,” with highlighted accomplishments in capital investments, fundraising, and graduation rates. Building upon the opportunities and identified challenges from the previous plan, the Board of Governors approved Wayne State's 2022-27 strategic plan, "Our Moment in Time." The plan focuses on Wayne State University's long-term vision and goals in the following key areas: research and discovery; teaching, learning and student success; outreach and engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and financial sustainability and operational excellence.
Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., President
A leader with more than 25 years of experience in higher education, President Espy previously served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where she championed social and economic opportunity by promoting affordable access to a top-quality research university education.
During her tenure, UTSA earned the distinction of an R1 classification by the Carnegie Foundation and was invited to join the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities after earning the Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education for its commitment to serving Hispanic students — and, by extension, all students. UTSA also was named a 2022 Degree Completion Finalist by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Her work played an important role in making UTSA one of only five research universities nationwide to receive a $40 million gift from Mackenzie Scott in 2021 to advance student success to those underserved by higher education.
As UTSA’s provost, President Espy strived to advance social mobility through improved student learning, which she strengthened through a strong focus on the recruitment and retention of outstanding diverse faculty who are leaders in their disciplines. Working collaboratively across every corner of campus, she furthered an outstanding academic environment, including the establishment of the University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio (in partnership with UT Health San Antonio); the merger with Southwest School of Art; and the reorganization of the College for Health, Community and Policy and the Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.
Under her tenure, UTSA strengthened its commitment to preparing students for success beyond graduation in collaboration with the city’s business and community leaders. In 2020, the university established the Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement, which enabled systematic career preparation activities for students across the institution. President Espy also played a key role in UTSA’s contributions to San Antonio’s economic development. The San Pedro 1 Building, the home for UTSA’s School for Data Science, opened in 2022 and was a major university investment in the city’s downtown. For her commitment to the community and her work as an agent of change, she was recognized with a Women’s Leadership Award from the San Antonio Business Journal.
Prior to serving as UTSA’s provost, President Espy was senior vice president for research
at the University of Arizona, where research and development awards increased to record levels. She also served as vice president for research and innovation and dean
of the graduate school at the University of Oregon, where she helped secure funding
from the Oregon state legislature to advance economic development and value to the state. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, President Espy developed collaborative interdisciplinary teams for large-scale proposals, including the ADVANCE initiative that increased the number of female and other diverse STEM faculty. She started her academic career at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, a rural, community-oriented medical school where she taught first-year medical student neuroscience using the then- pioneering problem-based learning curriculum, which has been widely adopted across the United States.
President Espy is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2002, and she has earned more than $22 million in funding to study how young children control their attention to promote later learning, academic and health outcomes, and how such skills can be affected by medical, environmental or social factors. As both an American Psychological Association Division 40 Early Career Award winner and Elected Fellow, President Espy has chaired NIH study sections, served other review panels and actively contributes to the scientific literature in her field.
President Espy received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rice University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology from the University of Houston. She also completed a clinical/pediatric psychology internship at the University of Louisville School of Medicine/Bingham Child Guidance Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, and a native of Cincinnati.
President Espy was the Wayne State Board of Governors’ unanimous choice for president. She is the first woman to serve in this role in the institution’s history.
Guided by the University’s strategic plan, Enrollment Management supports the University’s mission by engaging the campus community in developing and implementing a student life cycle enrollment plan that is strategic, inclusive, and forward-thinking and by creating a structure, processes, and culture of shared responsibility that engages the academic enterprise and integrates the voice of faculty in enrollment efforts. An integral part of the Office of the Provost, Enrollment Management is responsible for the oversight of the undergraduate admission and financial aid operations for this research university, including:
The Office of Admissions is responsible for all undergraduate admission functions. The Office of Undergraduate Admission is staffed by a team of 27 enrollment professionals who execute a dynamic recruitment and marketing plan to attract first-year, transfer, and international students to the University. In 2023, Wayne State increased its FTIAC enrollment by 17%
while providing financial aid to enable over half the class to attend Wayne State with zero out-of-pocket tuition of fees. Wayne State continues to develop strategies to create opportunities for enrollment that are access centric and supportive of a fully diverse undergraduate experience.
The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for the strategic allocation of financial resources to the student community. Among other resources, generous state, federal, and institutional, financial aid programs support the University’s commitment to access and degree attainment. In addition to need-based aid and a variety of scholarships, Wayne State has launched unique programs to make a Wayne State University education attainable. The University works closely with RNL consulting and has invested in a comprehensive, multi-year, financial aid model analysis.
The Student Service Center, the University’s centralized center for admission, financial aid, records and registration support for its students.
Using enhanced enrollment planning and modeling, and in conjunction with deans and other college leaders, the AVP will lead enrollment planning strategy around a portfolio of graduate programs. The AVP will work to remove hurdles to enrollment, maximize the usefulness of Slate's CRM tools, and facilitate seamless recruitment to registration pathways for master's students.
Reporting directly to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the AVP will work closely with the Vice President of Academic Student Affairs and Global Engagement and with other areas within the Provost’s Office, and with the Schools and Colleges to support the University’s academic achievement, academic progress, student retention, and degree attainment goals. Working collaboratively with campus stakeholders, the AVP will bring strategic focus to increasing enrollment of first year, transfer and graduate students and will optimize financial aid to support access, diversity, and quality among the student population in the landscape of an urban university.
The Associate Vice President will design and execute a comprehensive and highly sophisticated undergraduate enrollment management strategy that is data-driven, innovative, student-centered, and consistent with the goals, mission, and resources of Wayne State University. As the senior undergraduate enrollment officer, they will define admission and financial aid policies and processes that will attract quality candidates to the University. They will leverage data to develop a multi-faceted recruitment, financial aid, and marketing strategy that aligns Wayne State University with enrollment goals in the context of the evolving landscape of higher education.
The AVP is a collaborative visionary who can identify opportunities and connect campus stakeholders from across functional areas to develop cohesive enrollment initiatives. In their capacity as a strategic thinker, the AVP will identify enrollment opportunities beyond the first-year student and develop coordinated enrollment activities to enhance the composition of the applicant pool.
In total, the Associate Vice President leads a team of over 82 unionized individuals and
a total operating budget of approximatively $5.9 million. The AVP directly supervises 22 admission staff, 37 financial aid staff, and 18 student services staff. Under their leadership, the AVP is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive financial aid strategy that allocates $97.5 million annually in financial aid to Wayne State University students.
Among the identified opportunities and responsibilities for this role, the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management:
- Directs efforts designed to identify immediate and long-range enrollment goals and leads the development and implementation of enrollment strategic plans that are vigorous, creative, data-informed, and responsive to the needs of the 21st century student experience.
- Designs and manages predictive yield models to enhance selectivity, forecast enrollment, and maximize financial aid outcomes for first-year students in a need-sensitive environment.
- Leads a team of enrollment and financial aid professionals and identifies opportunities for strategic investment in resources, technology, and personnel to enhance the entire enrollment enterprise.
- Assumes accountability for achieving enrollment objectives and monitors progress toward completion of goals by the departments they supervise.
- Provides strategic advice to recruiting identified student cohorts such as honors students, residential students, Detroit Promise students, and out-of-state students.
- Develops systems and structures that support first-generation and historically marginalized students in the admission and financial aid process.
- Works collaboratively with academic deans and members of the Office of the Provost on setting admission policies, policies, and enrollment strategies.
- In partnership with academic deans and key graduate program directors, the AVP develops and uses existing and emerging technologies to communicate and build relationships to strategically grow graduate enrollment. The AVP will leverage the CRM to effectively deliver communications, track engagement, and analyze digital behavior to inform data-driven decisions for the outreach and recruitment of graduate students within identified programs.
- Maximizes financial resources to engage with vendors and agencies to increase visibility and market reach of Wayne State University and utilizes data to assess impact of these relationships.
- Strategically leverages the institution’s financial aid resources and utilizes data and predictive modeling to achieve enrollment and revenue goals.
- Monitors the allocation of financial aid and develops high level and sophisticated reporting on scholarship utilization, discount rate, net tuition discount, and residential revenue to evaluate financial aid distribution throughout the enrollment cycle.
- Ensures campus compliance with all federal and state agencies’ financial aid regulations and policies.
- Within university environment, collaborates with the campus constituents in establishing specific department, unit, or program goals and developing enrollment strategies and tactics to actualize these goals.
- In partnership with central marketing, leads the development of an annual integrated marketing and communications plan to promote the Wayne State University as an option for high-achieving high school students in a national and international context, including development of relevant on-campus visitation programs and off-campus presentations, the continued development of a digital presence, and utilization of current and emerging social media in support of this objective.
- Collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to develop and execute early-enrollment K-12 opportunities with community partners.
- Manages the functionality of Slate as the undergraduate and graduate admissions recruitment and selection technical platform and its associated platforms; assesses new and emerging technologies to determine their utility within the University’s recruitment and selection practices.
- Supports graduate enrollment efforts as needed in developing marketing and recruitment strategies with academic leadership.
- Partners with the Department of Athletics to support a comprehensive and compliant recruitment and scholarship strategy that attracts qualified NCAA Division II athletes to Wayne State University.
- Serves as an ambassador of the University and will be an active presence at university-wide and admission events, both on the campus and more broadly.
- The AVP serves as a member of the Provost’s senior staff and the University Leadership Council.
The Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management will be an experienced enrollment professional with a vision for what is possible and the ability to articulate and inspire others to unite in achieving that vision. The successful candidate will have a commitment to the value proposition of a mission-centered and diverse research institution in an urban environment that is committed to equity, access, and student persistence. Ideal candidates for this role will employ excellent communication, customer service, and collaboration skills, with a collegial and mature leadership style. The AVP must possess a deep understanding of the issues facing higher education enrollment and a demonstrated record of successfully meeting enrollment goals in the evolving and competitive student market. The AVP will possess formidable analytical skills, proven strategic planning experience, and an ability to generate excitement about the University’s programs and mission.
In addition, strong candidates will offer:
- A master’s degree or advanced degree is preferred.
- Extensive knowledge of regional, national, and international student enrollment trends, both undergraduate and graduate, particularly within public universities and research institutions.
- Extensive experience and a track record of developing and implementing strategic, data-driven enrollment management plans based on effective use of marketing, information technology, predictive modeling, and CRM analytics.
- Evidence of significant partnership with campus constituencies to develop innovative enrollment and marketing strategies.
- A deep understanding of contemporary enrollment management strategies and processes.
- A high standard of ethics and integrity.
- Expert knowledge of a broad range of strategic, technological, and operational methodologies, tools, and practices governing undergraduate and graduate admissions.
- An ability to lead targeted outreach and marketing strategies appropriately for distinctive programs, schools, and students.
- Strong competency in enrollment analytics, financial aid modelling, policy, and compliance.
- Evidence leading admission and financial aid teams in a diverse, university setting.
- Demonstrated evidence of a commitment to diversity and inclusion within professional staffing, student recruitment, and student services.
- Demonstrated experience leading high performing teams and experience with unionized staff is a plus.
Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and a major port on the Detroit River, an international waterway that connects the western Great Lakes to Lake Erie and the Saint Lawrence Seaway.In 2021, the city had a population of over 630,000, making it the 27th most populated city in the United States. Detroit’s population is primarily African American, though it is becoming increasingly diverse as new residents representing all ages, races, and cultures flock to Detroit to participate in its rebirth. Southwest Detroit has a vibrant Latino/a community, and the nearby city of Dearborn has the largest Arab American community outside of the Middle East. The combined Detroit-Windsor (Ontario) metropolitan area forms a critical commercial center on the U.S.-Canada border, with a total population of 5.7 million. Known as the nation’s traditional automotive center, Detroit is synonymous with the American automobile industry and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated in the city’s two familiar nicknames, “The Motor City” and “Motown.”
Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood is home to Wayne State as well as to excellent museums, theatres, libraries, concert halls, and professional sports venues. Among the cultural institutions within walking distance of the main campus are the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Michigan Science Center, Detroit Children’s Museum, and the Detroit Historical Museum. For more information about Midtown, visit http://midtowndetroitinc.org.
Wayne State University promotes cooperation among Midtown’s three anchor institutions: Wayne State, Henry Ford Health System, and the Detroit Medical Center. Wayne State has assumed leadership roles in collaborations designed to ensure public safety, promote local transportation, boost economic development, and beautify the area. Since 1999, the University has committed nearly $700 million to projects on and adjacent to the campus, changing Midtown’s landscape and ambience. This includes the new Integrative Biosciences Center (IBio), which will push the frontiers of multidisciplinary health sciences and attract faculty and economic development from across the nation.
Compensation & Benifits
Salary for the role is currently anticipated to range from $200,000 - $240,000, commensurate with experience, skills, and the qualifications required for this role. In addition, Wayne State University offers a generous employee health and benefits package.
Amy Sugin and Laura Bertonazzi of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please fill out our Talent Profile. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
Wayne State University is an equal opportunity employer. No person will be discriminated against in employment because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, arrest record, height, weight, sexual orientation, qualified Vietnam era veterans, qualified special disabled veterans, recently separated veterans and other protected veterans, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal or state law.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.