Enrollment Managers have to be skilled in so many areas—data analysis, technology, marketing strategy, staff development, and predicting the future. One skillset that is often overlooked, but is so important to an enrollment manager's success is the ability to Build Institutional Buy-In

We'll talk with Dr. Chris Romano, an enrollment veteran of 14 years about how he builds buy-in with constituent groups on and off campus, the most and least important metrics to present to those groups, and how to educate the campus constituent groups in order to build and maintain a strong understanding of enrollment at a college.

About Our Guest
Dr. Christopher Romano, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, joined Ramapo College in 2007. His portfolio includes leadership of the College’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan and the recruitment and retention initiatives therein. Dr. Romano oversees College Admissions, the Center for Student Success (which is inclusive of career and academic advisement, first-year experience, the Educational Opportunity Fund, the Center for Reading and Writing and placement testing), marketing and communications, Athletics, Intramurals and Recreation, degree completion, specialized services, financial aid, student activities, student conduct, health and counseling services, public safety, and residence life operations. Prior to serving as Vice President, Dr. Romano enjoyed roles with Ramapo as Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and as Special Assistant to the College President. Dr. Romano’s research has focused on strategic enrollment management, the College presidency, and executive leadership. He has presented nationally on strategic enrollment management, student engagement, marketing/branding in the context of enrollment management, and developing institutional models for student success as well as presenting to both new and advanced chiefs of staff on the role within the context of higher education and leadership development. He earned his Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University, his Ed.M. in Higher Education Administration from Harvard University and his B.A. in International Relations from Saint Joseph’s University. Dr. Romano’s high energy level is routinely noted by his colleagues– to this end, he is no longer permitted to consume caffeinated beverages during the work day.

Episode Transcript

Jay Fedje: (00:01)
Welcome to the Enrollment Edge podcast for college enrollment and marketing leaders. I'm your host, Jay Fedje. The Enrollment Edge is sponsored by enrollmentFUEL, a trusted full-service student search and marketing partner to colleges and universities across the country. If you'd like to learn more about enrollmentFUEL services, or you have questions about today's episode, we've included a link to our website in the show notes, you can also email us edge@enrollmentfuel.com. We'd love to hear what you think. You can help us by subscribing to our podcast, sharing it with your friends, and leaving a five-star review on Apple podcasts. On today's Enrollment Edge, I have a conversation with Chris Romano, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Ramapo College about a skill set that is often overlooked by enrollment leaders: building institutional buy-in. Enrollment managers have to be skilled in so many areas: data analysis, technology, marketing strategy, staff development, and frankly, predicting the future. Chris and I will talk about how he builds buy-in with constituent groups, with on and off campus, the most and least important metrics to present to those groups, and how to educate important campus groups in order to build and maintain a strong understanding of the reality of enrollment. I hope you find our conversation and topic valuable. Welcome to the Enrollment Edge, Chris. It's great to have you today.

Chris Romano: (01:47)
Great, Jay. Thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to this.

Jay Fedje: (01:49)
Yeah, you know what, we mutually decided we were not going to be talking about our NCAA bracket picks. So we may have that as another conversation because that's a really sore subject, right?

Chris Romano: (02:02)
Yeah. It's tough when your job is projecting enrollment and also your hobby is trying to project who wins March Madness because both feel like I'm flying blind this year.

Jay Fedje: (02:13)
Oh man. There are connections to that, there really are parallels to trying to predict the outcome of that tournament and trying to predict the outcome of enrollment management, that is for another podcast. And I'll bring you back to talk to you about that one for sure.

Chris Romano: (02:30)

Jay Fedje: (02:31)
So we're talking to Chris Romano today. He is the vice president of enrollment management and student affairs at Ramapo College in New Jersey, USA. And we're talking today about institutional buy-in, how to build it and maintain it. Chris, you came to my attention as we were building these topics out as an expert in this conversation. And as I've gotten to know you, it's no surprise, you have the ability to be able to talk through, you have a great communication style. So, that's the direction we're going to head. I hope we kind of land there at some point, and not fall back on the NCAA bracket. But, when you've looked over your career, you've been in higher education 14 years. And, looking at your career as the chief enrollment officer in charge of not only that prediction, that crazy prediction of where are we going to land, kind of looking in the foggy crystal ball, but also I think one of the underlying skillsets of an enrollment manager these days is educating your team and winning them over, building buy-in. Talk a little bit about as you've experienced that, what are those constituent groups that you have felt have been incredibly important to keep close, to maintain good relationships and build buy-in?

Chris Romano: (04:09)
Sure. You know, it's a great question and I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today and I'm looking forward to our conversation. I think enrollment management, as it has evolved so much over the last 15 years, let alone, since its inception in the 70s. Really it's become an institutional mantra rather than a unit or a structure on campus. And I think that's kind of the beginning of buy-in, right? Is that strategic enrollment management, this notion of SEM that I've heard some of your previous guests talk about. It's this idea that enrollment management, the function of predicting enrollment or projecting enrollment is surely done by an office. But the work of achieving it and understanding how it comes is really a campus wide undertaking, and so chief enrollment officers need to be able to communicate across every constituent group, beginning with your trustees, engaging with your board about the world that you live in as an enrollment manager. Because I think what we're finding, I come from a state college, public institution, is that whether you're public or private, enrollment is still the number one driver of revenue on just about every college campus. And so everybody has a stake in it. Everybody wants to understand not necessarily what you do, but they want to know your outcomes. So your trustees are super important because they're the ultimate evaluators of what you do. And they have that responsibility. And then you look at your cabinet colleagues, making sure that your cabinet colleagues understand the world of enrollment management. Because what the provost and chief academic officer does certainly impacts enrollment tremendously. How we deliver academic experience, what we're offering next, your CFO, if you and your CFO don't have that relationship, it's going to be a bumpy ride, because you're going to constantly butt heads. So you have that, and then you have the faculty who, you know, are the people that deliver on your promise. Then you have your staff and your administrators. And so all of those different constituent groups play that role. Trustees, faculty, cabinet colleagues, and then administrators and staff, those groups have to understand the context of the world you work in. It's just essential nowadays.

Jay Fedje: (07:04)
Yeah. So Chris, in your time, have you felt moments, the need to pull in student buy-in, current students on your campus? And if so, how, how have you done that?

Chris Romano: (07:18)
Yeah. You know, forgive me for not putting students in that constituent group. Because, at the end of the day, it's who we serve, it's who we're called to serve. It's who we exist for. Enrollment management is the process of achieving graduation rates for your institution. But enrollment management isn't about numbers. It's about that student that walks across the stage and gets the diploma. One of the ways that we do it at Ramapo is we actually ask our first year students three months into their semester, are we delivering on the promise that we made you? And we asked, did admissions accurately portray your first semester experience? And that's our real inflection point every year to say, are our students getting what we promised them? You know, I'm a big believer in brand promise. And understanding what you promise and enrollment management for me is connecting your promise and delivering on it. So that's one real way to engage students is to really ask the question, is, are we delivering on what we promised you in recruitment?

Jay Fedje: (08:27)
Exactly. You've talked about trustees, but I'd like to learn more about some of the tactics you've used for alumni. You know, it seems like there's always a vocal agenda from alumni that says they're going in the right direction or they're going in the wrong direction, but there's some touch points that are far more engaging, athletics or performance or theatre arts and so forth that draw alumni in, because there's affinity groups there that seem quite a bit stronger. But they all have really strong opinions about their alma mater. Those affinity groups have a place in also building buy-in don't they?

Chris Romano: (09:15)
They sure do. You know what, I think it's about making sure that other offices have to position enrollment to tell that story. Because I don't interact with alumni on a daily basis. It's when alumni are having an alumni association meeting and they start asking questions that you hope that initial stakeholder group, like I mentioned your cabinet colleagues, like your VP fundraising or your VP advancement, is saying, you know what? These are great questions. Let me bring in our enrollment manager at our next meeting to talk about what we're seeing. And then I think it's really understanding the audience, right? Alumni love to hear, I say at the end of the day, my president says it and I've adopted his mantra because I believe in it, which is the value of being a senior administrator. The job of a senior administrator is to increase the value of that degree every day, by doing something that increases the value of a Ramapo degree. And so when I talk with alumni and I'm asked to come present, I'm positioning our enrollment metrics in terms of how we can do that. And for us as a public regional college, primarily New Jersey based enrollment, for us it's getting applications and awareness out of state. And so how do we engage alumni to say every alum loves to hear how many states are applying to your college? How many countries have applied? But really starting to say, we'd like to do more here. Here's where we want to get more students. And so here's how our numbers have been. How can you help me? Because at the end of the day, that's what alums want, right? Some alums want to send a check and donate. But alums want to be engaged. They want to feel like they're advancing their college or university. It's funny you asked me this, we didn't talk about this ahead of time. A week ago, I was on a west coast alumni zoom because that's how we're doing business nowadays amidst COVID, everything's a zoom, but I got a 20 minute block to talk to alums on the west coast, primarily in California about what's going on in New Jersey enrollment. And it really was a great conversation because they started to understand the New Jersey context we're dealing with. And you talk about where we could do more and you ask them, do you have any connections since you've been out in California? You've been in San Francisco five years, do you know anyone that's in the high school world? And you've done this a long time, you can't email a high school in California as Ramapo College and get on their radar screen. The only people that get to do that are the 64 teams that we talked about a couple of minutes ago, right? You've got to have that name recognition. And so you have to build it through networking and I see alums as the tentacles that really can help build you that way. And then I think the second thing about alums is telling their story to you so you can tell it in enrollment. Because, I think one of the changing elements of enrollment management and enrollment management marketing nowadays is that every college has someone that's a CEO. We can show you what 20 years from now a degree does but parents are paying upwards of a hundred to two hundred thousand dollars for their students to go to college. And they want to know not what 20 years from now, my son or daughter is going to be doing, but what does one year out, two years out look like? And I think being able to engage alumni to tell that story of them so that you can understand what the brand of Ramapo lived is and how it connects to your future audience.

Jay Fedje: (13:22)
Yes, absolutely. You mentioned metrics. I want to dig into that a little bit because as you and I have been in those trustee meetings, those faculty meetings, those administrator meetings, or cabinet, alumni, we've been in those meetings and there are some basic questions that it seems like we always get. First of all, how many applications do you have? How smart is your incoming pool? How active are they, are they high scholars and high performers and, you know, the variety of things. And you mentioned states, the geographic distribution, I think there's a lot of that, but there are important metrics and unimportant metrics. There's things that I think show these groups' health, and then there's things that show these groups almost nothing. It doesn't really matter much if we're up or down in some of these areas. So if I could ask you, tell me the three most important metrics you think these constituent groups need to have, and maybe the three least important metrics these groups probably kind of fixate on and don't really necessarily need to know.

Chris Romano: (14:42)
Sure. And you know, you're dead on right. Metrics matter. But not every metric matters the same, and everybody believes that their metrics matter the most. So, I think the three most important metrics, when you're sitting in the trustee meeting and somebody's asking you about how's enrollment going. I think it's yield. What's your first year retention rate. And I think the third is looking at graduation rates. Those to me, outside of mission specific metrics or strategic plan metrics, are the most important because they signal the strength of your institution at getting people that you want to say yes back to you, that you're delivering on your promise by keeping students, and then you're ultimately fulfilling your mission by graduating students. And I think oftentimes those meetings get caught up and focused only on incoming numbers. And enrollment is so much more than admissions. Yes. It's essential. Right. You know, it's the lifeblood of what we do to enroll the next class. But as any strategic enrollment manager will tell you, it's more cost-effective to keep the class that you bring in than to have to recruit more students to replace them. So educating your board around those metrics, I think matters most as a chief enrollment officer. I'm an enrollment manager that believes that applications are not a great metric. Because there's so many ways to change that number. You can do application sales, free applications, and applications today in today's market, it is so easy to apply to more colleges.

Jay Fedje: (16:54)
Absolutely. I think your visit numbers are more important than your application numbers, because an application can take 10 minutes, but a visit with the whole family is a significant investment of time.

Chris Romano: (17:06)
You're a million percent right, Jay, demonstrated interest. You know, these are the things that are coming to life in trustee conversations and faculty conversations that weren't coming to life years ago. You know, how many of the people visited. How many of people that were accepted to your major had actually visited our campus. And then what's the conversion on visits. Because that's who we are. And, I think depending on your school, it matters more or less. If you're a 20,000 student school, maybe the visit isn't as important. If you're a place like me and Ramapo, that we enroll about a thousand first year students, that conversion rate of visit to application or visit to enroll is huge. But yeah, applications, they don't tell you a whole lot. Because there are lots of schools that people apply to by accident. You know, I always joke in New Jersey, we're all "R"s. You go through, you go to New Jersey and you click "R", woah, there's a lot of "R"s. And so sometimes it's an extra click. So I think that's a really important one to leave aside. So, I think another metric that really isn't that important anymore, is inquiry in the same way that we talked about. Again, this might be different based on the type of institution you are, but less and less students are clicking inquire, like I want more information. It's information overload. And you know, to some extent, I think that schools haven't quite figured out their prospect pools still. What makes a prospect? How many names did you buy? And name buying, let's spend a second there. You know, more and more schools are test optional. Less and less students are sitting down to take the test. We were heading in this direction anyway, COVID accelerated the conversation on test optional. And so this idea of buying names could be a complete thing of the past. Or buying names based on test takers. And so some of those metrics that we used to look at, we had a hundred thousand students at the top of our funnel. The number of people at the beginning of your funnel is sort of irrelevant to the people that make it to the bottom of your funnel. Because we know that a percentage of the top of that funnel is never moving on. And I think that's what enrollment managers in getting buy-in have to start helping other folks become more fluent in that conversation.

Jay Fedje: (20:14)
Yes, you know, I think it brings up a really interesting point and I'm glad you brought it up, the idea of an inquiry or lead. That that definition is changing so dramatically and you bring up a really good point of the test optional. We're seeing it already have some impact. We saw it have impact years ago, and you're right that the pandemic has sped things up to a certain degree. But if in the end, what we're trying to find is someone who clicks on "tell me more", a student that says, "I'd like more information from you". I think schools are going to be seeing fewer and fewer and fewer of those students. They're just not responding in the same way as they used to. So there has to be new techniques and there's a new platform that folks are using called forensic lead generation and trying to identify engagement. So you know, this generation of a prospective student, that 17-18 year old doesn't click on that button, doesn't click on that link, but they do go to your website. And so it takes a lot of forensic technology, to very savvy schools, to be able to identify who that student is on my website, that's running all over the place, investigating me. They're basically running through my store. And if they're running through my store, maybe I need to be able to identify them and contact them. Those students that are engaged are critically important. The other thing that I want to talk a bit more about and get your feedback on is behavior scoring, scoring the student's real time activity and saying, okay, they clicked on this, they went there, they applied at a certain point, they came and visited, the visit was great. That kind of building a metric model for behavior. What a student is really doing, kind of transcends to the next level of predictive score. So you have that idea of where could they land, but now you start looking at what their real engagement is with you. They're responding to your links and responding to your emails, or they're calling you back, that kind of activity. How important is that to an enrollment manager? How important is that to you?

Chris Romano: (22:38)
Oh, it's essential now. Because, as you said, students clicking those links, students aren't doing it. They're over linked, over emailed. Everybody's emailing them, they're getting a hundred emails a day. So it's trying to figure out how to capture behavior in ways that we know students are engaging. If there's one real benefit of the pandemic, it's been that as an industry, we've had to shift to so much more video digital and authentic storytelling because people can't come to our campuses. And I think it's understanding who's watching our videos, how long they're watching our videos. Those are the behavioral pieces that are going to tell us a lot more about interest than clicking on links. And so when I said earlier about inquiries not being important, it's because nobody is actually taking the action to inquire, they're doing things that you have to find out. I like your phrase, the forensic approach. Because it's what we're doing. You're embedding videos and trying to see how long is somebody watching this video. You are pre rolling YouTube videos. What are you doing to get your message out there? And then even more interesting that we're finding that students actually don't want produced videos. They want authentic, holding your iPhone in front of you, videos of a student experience, rather than the music, the production, the logo that flies in and out. They want authentic. That's what gen Z is looking for. It's interesting, there's data out there that students only watch, I think it's a couple seconds of video. But interestingly, when students are engaged on a topic, they will watch playlists of videos. So if you can engage them and you can get a student to watch six 30-second playlists, now you've got three minutes of engagement, right. And that's a behavior that is so important. It's so important for prediction.

Jay Fedje: (25:17)
Exactly. You know, I think it's incredibly important to underscore that this particular generation is extremely challenging to capture attention, to draw into a conversation. I would imagine that the students come to Ramapo for a number of reasons, but one of the reasons is because they created some relationships with some people on campus, whether that's an admission staff member or a faculty, or coach or another student or somebody that they've made a connection with. And so it's interesting at that very top of the funnel, building momentum there is very important, but the relationships are still important, the relationships all the way through. And so it's even more imperative that your faculty and your coaches and administrators and team on campus are all running in the same direction and are on the same page. So that's that instuitional buy-in. I want to switch topics just for a little bit, just kind of go into a different direction here. We're talking with Chris Romano from Ramapo College about institutional buy-in and building institutional buy-in across our campuses. And one of the things I think that is important now is there's always a crisis on a campus. Whether it's an article or somebody shot their mouth off or something happened on campus, there's always something that you have to kind of be aware of and accommodate for. A building kind of is in rough shape, I mean, it could be something small or something significant, but there's always a crisis, it seems like. But then there's a time of what I would call calamity. So calamity is different and in our careers, we've come across maybe just a very few moments of calamity where very little makes sense anymore. The housing crisis in '08, '09, '10, I think was a calamity. Students looked at student loans and the ability to afford, or the ability to qualify for financial aid, and moving to colleges was in question, that was a definite calamity. And then now with the pandemic that has turned campuses kind of upside down, because there's little bits recognizable. So as you have built this buy-in during kind of this ongoing crisis mode, how have you found it different than building that momentum, that relationship with your constituent groups in times of calamity?

Chris Romano: (28:24)
You hit the nail on the head. You know, there's no year that doesn't have something that makes you go, "oh no, this is going to impact the enrollment cycle". Truly, the housing crisis and now, we're in these unchartered territories. John Beckon said, it was in the Chronicle last week, coined an article about enrollment managers flying blind, and he talked about that all the tools that we use to predict are completely blacked out right now. And so, I think what's important first off is that you can't use your times of calamity to point to the context. Because I think what happens is oftentimes enrollment managers are looked at to tell the good story. Everyone wants a year that we're on track to meet enrollment targets. We have more applications than we had the year before. Interest is up. The event was great. Tons of people are clicking on our website. And you know, what ends up happening is we often don't get the chance to tell the context until there's a calamity. Or we're in enrollment crisis. Because there's the institutional crisis and there's social media crisis and there's enrollment crisis. And, you know, I think part of it is we have to get used to telling the story earlier and getting everybody on board with the context and the strategy. I began my career in higher ed as a chief of staff. And so I did a lot of work with our board when I began and what it did was allow me to feel comfortable in explaining the context and the strategy to our trustees. And so, if you ask people at Ramapo, almost anyone can cite the Wiki statistics about the future demographic trends confronting the Northeast, that slide people have memorized. I joke all the time that our CFO does an annual budget forum and one of her first five slides is that Wiki slide. And it's amazing because my CFO is fluent in the context confronting enrollment management, because it does have lasting institutional implications. But that's not something that we just started talking about now because of COVID. We were looking ahead and starting to figure out what were the trends that were going to confront us and how are we going to respond to them? What was our strategy? And so I think what people, your trustees in particular, need to feel confident in is that you have the right strategy. Given the context, your outcomes might be a little off, you might miss a number. But it might not be because your strategy was wrong. And I think sometimes what happens is we focus on the outcome and then somebody wants to change the strategy, but doesn't know the context. And we need to work the other way. Here's the context, here's the strategy, and here's the outcomes. And it takes a while to get there. And, let's be honest. Trustees, when they're appointed or selected, they come with their professional expertise. These are trustees that are willing to give their time and energy and funds to the college. But there's not many trustees that come to a college board with enrollment management experience. You have financial experience on the board, you might have some academic experience. You might have an alum who understands the college experience and the mission. But enrollment management is like sales, but it's not. I always give the example that if we were salespeople and we followed the corporate model, every year our applications went up, we would charge more. Because the brand would be up. So we could charge more, which we know we can't given the calamity of 2008, 2009. And so we need to be able to articulate the context that we work in, not when it's calamity, as part of our reports. Reports can't be, here's the enrollment numbers, let's move on. When they're good, yes. But when they're bad, we have to be able to explain why, and not in a defensive way. And I think that's part of the problem, is that the conversations sometimes happen about context in reaction defense, you miss the class, what is wrong? What did you do wrong? And part of this, I think, is institutional philosophy. I'm fortunate that I've had a great president and a great senior team that I've worked with that really believes in enrollment driving budget, not budget driving enrollment. The budget office doesn't come and say, we have X million dollar deficit, Chris now produce X students that equal X million. You know, we look at the context and say, here's where we believe we will be. How does that factor into your budget equation? Now there's hard conversations. There's strategic conversations, but we're never backed into a number that then puts us in the "oh no, we missed it and now the college is significantly worse off".

Jay Fedje: (34:20)
You know, you bring up a really interesting point, there are moments when you bring that data, those groups want to hear from you, you have to answer the bell and things didn't work. And so you've got to come to the table with explanation of why they didn't work, and then also kind of a plan to turn it around and move in a different direction. So there's one side of that conversation with our constituent groups, the other side of the conversation with that constituent group, and I think sometimes it might be just as difficult if things went well. You know, there are a number of schools during this past year that things were fine, the bottom didn't fall out. They had a decent enrollment, they had maybe a record enrollment or good enrollment and they equally have to respond with why it did go well, when it really wasn't supposed to go well. So they have to explain what happened when it goes sour, but you also have to explain what happened when it goes the right way, how things work. And I think when you win the race and you set the record, then the expectation is you're going to do that every year. See you did it last year, why not do it again this year. So talk a minute about using both a good outcome or a mixed outcome and a difficult or challenging outcome to help with this conversation and building institutional buy-in. Cabinet, administrator, faculty, they all want to know things are going well, but sometimes they don't.

Chris Romano: (36:10)
You're right. I think it's equally hard on both sides, because when you miss, all eyes are on you. And when you succeed, all eyes are on you to do it again. So let me talk about missing first, when you have those misses and how you can use those to drive some change and some hard conversations, and then I'll flip it around and talk about times when successes funnel in there. So, I've been an enrollment manager for 14 years. It's certainly not every year, I haven't always knocked it out of the park. So I've been in those moments where applications are down. And, maybe the people I'm reporting to, that's a metric that's more important to them than it is to me. But, for them, they want to know the answer. And so, I think enrollment is about understanding how to frame things, and how to say here's what happened, but here's what we're going to do next. And so, one area that we have spent some time is refocusing our aid awards, and trying to really understand how to leverage a small budget because we're a public college. As most public colleges, we're only 50 years old, we don't have hundreds of years of fundraising and alumni to provide those funds. And so we miss some key metrics. We made the class but, as you know, you can make the class and still miss a lot of metrics. That's the reality of enrollment. And we really dove into that to talk about it and really drill down into data as to why we missed. And we realized that we were missing a particular EFC range. You know that institutionally and mission wise, we thought was really important for Ramapo to be increasing. And so it helped facilitate a campus-wide conversation about need-based aid and how not just for enrollment management, but how fundraising might think about asking more for need based scholarships, than something else. And until you can show people that data and the narrative behind it. Because as you know, some people are data people, some people are visual people, and some people are narrative people. And so when you can merge all those together, and you can say, listen, this is where we want to be, but we need a change of culture around this. And it's not just changing a couple of dollars here. We have to think about how we funnel money into this program. And so, it started with a conversation. We have this really unique board structure where our chair of our board created what's called a mission fulfillment committee, which is the intersection of academic affairs, enrollment, student life, and institutional advancement. And so what we have to answer, across the three vice presidents, is how collectively we fulfill our mission. And so that's when we're talking about data about the enrollment of particular EFC bands. And we can start saying, we've got to figure out how to get more money into need-based aid, or we have to shift our allocation of funding into need-based aid. And so it was great to see that conversation happen because of a metric. You know, I could go ask for it. But, it had to connect across all the pieces at the same time, and it had to become a fundraising priority. Because as you know, when you're the VP of enrollment, your priorities don't always match all the other VP's priorities. And you've got to get on that same page and you got to keep getting on that same page. So that was a great example where we missed, we used data, and we had some conversations. On the positive side, I think the first job of an enrollment manager is you also have to be, I call this the chief "thank you" officer. You've got to circle back and go to the people that helped and played a role in making your class and say thank you. The faculty that attended open house, the faculty that came to admitted student day, and let them know how what they did impacted the enrollment cycle. It can be time-consuming at times. But it's so important because I'm a big believer that too often in higher ed, we talk about 'us administrators' need 'you faculty' to do this. And it's not an us/you or we/you. It's an us, we're all part of the same team. And, you know, thank you for coming to open house. Of the people that came to open house, this many people enrolled. Or admitted student day, this day with this faculty member had an amazing yield. So, Jay, thank you so much for coming to talk to our prospective podcast majors, because your talk that day led to a yield that outperformed your school's yield. So thank you. And you know, that those are where you can get buy in, because guess what? That faculty member now, when you ask them to participate again, they're gung ho and lots of faculty need this for reappointment packages, tenure, and promotion. There's great opportunities to be connected and thank you and leverage all those things because at the end of the day, enrollment management, as much as we are a data oriented field, it is a people profession. It is relationships and connections that make enrollment management possible. We can get people to the campus, we can predict who's going to walk on campus. But that feeling when they leave campus is not something you can predict. It's impacted by people. And that's where buy-in matters more than anything. Making people feel like what they did mattered and helped make enrollment a success, we don't celebrate our victories enough. I really believe that.

Jay Fedje: (43:26)
I couldn't agree more. I think that there's a basic human desire to be recognized, for good work to be appreciated. And I think as enrollment managers, we get sidetracked with that. We get sidetracked with just the data and not the translation of the data into what that really means. I come away with this mindset that this is an ongoing, never fully attainable, proposition that you're always going to be striving for buy-in, you're never really in the end zone. And so that tends to be one of my biggest takeaways here is that as our listeners are listening how to build institutional buy-in, you're never done. You're never done appreciating. You're never done saying thank you. You're never done with the role of educating folks on what's important, what's not important. I think that strikes me as it should be almost a part of job descriptions, building institutional buy-in. I've never seen a job description that a vice president was responsible for building institutional buy-in, being the friend-raiser across campus, the institutional cheerleader, I think that is incredibly important. So, Chris, you bring up some really, really good points. I have appreciated our time, it has gone quickly today. I'm going to have you back, so just be prepared for the next conversation that we're going to have. So I do appreciate your time today, Chris. Thanks for being on the Enrollment Edge.

Chris Romano: (45:10)
Yeah, Jay, this has been great. Thank you so much. You know, it's a fun world we all live in, predicting enrollment and projecting enrollment and I'm happy to talk about it always. So thank you.

Jay Fedje: (45:22)
I appreciate it, Chris. You've been listening to the Enrollment Edge podcast. Enrollment Edge is sponsored by enrollmentFUEL, a full service student search and marketing partner to colleges and universities. If you're listening on Apple podcasts, please give us a five star rating and review. Your feedback will help us remain relevant and on the edge. The Enrollment Edge is produced by Alison Walls. I'm your host, Jay Fedje. Thanks for listening.