May 13, 2021

Veteran higher ed professional to become SIU’s next associate chancellor of enrollment management

by Kim Rendfeld

Wendell-Williams-sm.jpgCARBONDALE, Ill. — Wendell Williams, who has extensive experience in growing enrollment at various institutions, will become Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s next associate chancellor of enrollment management, pending approval by the SIU Board of Trustees.

In his new role, effective July 1, he will lead the development of a comprehensive, multiyear strategic enrollment plan and oversee the offices of admissions, financial aid and registrar. In his career, he has developed many university and college enrollment plans, has led the development of a strategic enrollment plan and collaborated with academic units and other departments to carry out recruitment strategies.

“I’ve always been attracted to a challenge,” he said. “SIU Carbondale is a unique place, with unique people who present the greatest opportunity to serve students who want to succeed. Everyone is interested in growing the institution.”

SIU chose Williams after a national search. The search committee included representatives of multiple campus groups and employed the services of the global executive search firm WittKieffer. Williams and the other finalists interviewed with the campus search committee, enrollment management staff and student ambassadors in Admissions, the Chancellor’s Cabinet and Deans Council, a Faculty Senate and Graduate Council ad-hoc committee and the university’s Enrollment Management Task Force.

Chancellor Austin Lane said the feedback he received made Williams stand out.

“Comments from participants in the interview process were overwhelmingly positive for Mr. Williams,” he said. “They highlighted the impressive record and experiences he will bring to the university as we collectively work to grow SIU’s enrollment from day one. Those responding were clearly impressed with his passion for ensuring students have access to the opportunities higher education can provide and helping students succeed on the path to graduation.”

Williams, the first in his family to graduate college, said SIU’s values align with his.

“I have a passion to help students see the value of an education, show them a pathway to achieve their vision and eliminate barriers that may hamper their ability to succeed,” he said. 

“Each person I have met at SIU Carbondale has exhibited that same passion, and I look forward to joining the team. I sincerely believe that in our local communities and abroad, we have a chance to not only grow, but also thrive with the help of a strategic enrollment plan. We have the chance to make a difference with the help of faculty, staff, students and alumni who know, and have experienced, the value that a Saluki education can bring to a person, a family and the community. We have such a huge opportunity.” 

Williams most recently served as special assistant to the president at Texas Southern University, where his responsibilities included revitalizations and reorganizations in student affairs and enrollment services. He has also served in administrative roles at Mid-South Community College (where enrollment grew 10-fold in six years), Grayson College (where he created a one-stop enrollment shop and redesigned registration processes) and Lone Star Community College.

He also has served as benchmark leader in redesigning the Education Advisory Board (EAB) customer relationship management platform and was a key member of Houston GPS – a collaboration between universities and community colleges that led to improved transferability of courses and increased transfer enrollment at the partnership universities.

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Arkansas State University. He and his wife, Gloria, have two daughters, Britni and Cortni.

Williams will serve on the chancellor’s cabinet, where he will join three others who have recently assumed new leadership roles:

  • Julie McReynolds was named interim executive director of finance in the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance area, effective May 1, and is fulfilling the vice chancellor’s responsibilities. A two-degree alumna of SIU and longtime university employee, she has over 25 years of experience in a public university setting with a focus on finance and budgeting.
  • Kim Rendfeld was named interim executive director of University Communications and Marketing, effective Feb. 19. With a long career in journalism and higher education, Rendfeld joined SIU in October, after 13 years at Ball State University.
  • Amanda Sutton, a two-degree alumna and longtime professional at SIU Carbondale, started serving as interim director of admissions in April. Sutton leads SIU’s efforts to grow enrollment by recruiting high school seniors, transfer students and others seeking an associate or bachelor’s degree.