July 25, 2007

Promotions enhance recruitment, retention efforts

by Andrea Hahn


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Angela L. Royal is the new director of New Student Programs for Southern Illinois University Carbondale, effective Aug. 1.

New Student Programs is one of the four blocks that make up "enrollment management," along with undergraduate admissions, financial aid and records and registration. Both the SOAR (Student Orientation Advisement Registration) program and the Saluki Family Association are part of New Student Programs. Carmen Suarez, interim assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, said New Student Programs is "the first step in retention" of students who include SIUC in their higher education plans.

"We need to focus on how we treat our students, how we help them to stay here," Suarez said. "Angie is an excellent choice for this position. She has a lot of background. She has been a high school teacher, and she knows where high school seniors' heads are. She is particularly skillful at large program planning, and generally has a vast and deep knowledge of bringing students to campus and helping them be successful once they are here."

Royal earned a bachelor's degree in workforce education and development from SIUC in 1996 and a master's degree in higher education from SIUC in 2006. She worked temporarily as an academic adviser for the department of cinema and photography at SIUC in 1997 before going on to teach high school in St. Louis. A Sparta native and a resident of Marissa since high school, she returned to the area to teach high school in Chester from 1998 until 2003, when she came to work in undergraduate admissions at SIUC as an admissions counselor and the special events and group visit coordinator. In 2006, she became coordinator of recruitment and retention for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Her immediate goals, she said, include evaluation of current programs and improvements to SOAR.

"I envision New Student Programs welcoming students to the Saluki family, supporting students as they transition from high school or community college to SIUC, assisting with their social and academic integration to our campus and offering guidance and support to the families of these students," she said.

Royal said families should be part of the orientation-to-college process.

"I was the first in my immediate family to attend college, and I can remember the confusion and being overwhelmed with all the decisions that had to be made," she said, adding that New Student Programs is there to help students and their families understand all the "amazing resources SIUC has to offer" and how to find them.

While Royal is focusing on keeping students committed to SIUC, Katharine Johnson Suski, recently promoted to associate director of undergraduate admissions, is doing her best to bring students here. Suski will oversee the activities of all the office's admissions counselors and their recruitment efforts, including campus visits, programs, open houses and previews.

Suski earned a bachelor's degree in radio and television from SIUC in 1998 and a master's degree in public administration from SIUC in 2004. She began working in admissions at SIUC in 1999 as a researcher. Later, she became an admissions coordinator, working both on the road and at SIUC at the Admissions Reception Center, where she oversaw the campus visit program for individuals and groups.

One of her first projects as associate director of undergraduate admissions was targeting the many camps that SIUC hosts each summer. In the past, the admissions office waited for an invitation from the camp before visiting the camp, but this summer employed a more proactive approach.

"We sent staff to manage tables at all the camps for high school-aged students," Suski said. "We gave each camper a package of Saluki materials. At one camp, we handed out 2,200 interest cards in about five minutes." Suski said the camps are an obvious place to begin recruiting because potential students are already on campus.

Another recent innovation, initiated during Suski's time as coordinator, is incorporating the Saluki Ambassador program into the Freshman Interest Group program. Suski said making the prestigious Saluki Ambassador program available to freshmen was a success in its first year, the 2006-07 academic year.

"I am very happy with Katharine's promotion," said Interim Director of Admissions Jim Carl. "It felt good to hire from within, and the wisdom of the decision has more than been confirmed. I knew Katharine's organizational skills, but her enthusiasm, creativity and curiosity have confirmed to me that she is the right person, at the right time, for the job."

Suski assumed her new responsibilities May 1.


Caption follows story


Angela Royal – Angela Royal, of Marissa, is the director of New Student Programs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Photo by Russell Bailey, University Communications

Katharine Suski – Katharine Suski, of Murphysboro, is associate director of undergraduate admissions at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Photo by Russell Bailey, University Communications