Dr. Robert S. Hornberger

Dr. Robert S. Hornberger is the head of the SEM Steering Committee. The Strategic Enrollment Management committee helps recruit students to Missouri State.

Missouri State University is developing a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan to combat the projected drop in enrollment. This plan requires multiple committees and overseers to function. 

The SEM Steering Committee oversees all of the councils, as well as the Data Support Team. It takes in reports, strategies and data from each of the councils and then reports to the Senior Leadership Committee. 

The SLC is co-chaired by Robert Hornberger, associate vice president for enrollment management and services, and Tamera Jahnke, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences.

According to Hornberger, the SEM Committee structure was based off of “industry-standard recommendations.” A widely used model was selected as the structure and then tweaked. Hornberger said MSU added the Academic Programs and Deliveries Council, Marketing and Communication Council and the Senior Leadership. 

MSU formerly had an “Executive Enrolled Management Committee,” according to Hornberger. The committee acted like the SSC but didn’t have a set plan and mainly just oversaw enrollment goals.

He also said when developing the SLC, an effort was taken not to include high ranking college officials as not to intimidate planners.

“When we developed the steering committee, we intentionally did not have them on and so people in that group could feel a little more free in their act to come up with ideas without feeling like, ‘Hey if the president says that we have to do it,’” Hornberger said. “Clif was supportive of that. But because of that, we wanted to make sure we have leadership involved in the flow or the structure, so we created that group and then we report up to that group about our progress.”

Hornberger said he became co-chair of the SSC due to his role experience with enrollment management and his position. The committees are structured to have two leaders, one from administration and the other from faculty.

“So we have a good mix of the two sides working together,” Hornberger said.

Hornberger said the councils were “rather large” with around 15 members on each. This provides them with multiple ways of developing the seven goals of the SEM plan. 

He said it’s been a “pleasure to lead” and that the plan was “going to go very well.”

Abillahi Dirie, student body president, is also on the SSC. Dirie said he was chosen to provide a student’s perspective on the council. 

“I sit there and talk and just make sure that student input and student perspective is included,” Dirie said. “A lot of times students think, ‘We can do some things,’ and admins think, ‘We can do some things.’ Both groups can come together and bring both of their sides, which just makes them think one or the other might not work. So I usually speak up and say, ‘Oh, it might be perfect but do it this way, or tweak it that way.’”

Dirie said the multiple steps and strategies going into the plan affects many students. He also shares ideas and concerns students have to the SSC, so they can further refine the draft to further construct strategies. 

“I like to call it a student success plan,” Dirie said. “So, obviously, everything that’s being planned — it's going to affect students somehow. Getting different types of population students to come to MSU, strategic academic programs, the way we market and communicate to those in our communities. This all affects students. So I give experiences, but also I go back and talk to what was brought up or ideas that (students) have that I'd like to share.”

Dirie said that the plan is still developing, but he is hopeful that it is on track. The long development period means that more students are affected when the plan is finalized.

“We’re still trying to find ways to increase programs, and make sure that MSU continues to grow and be that premier institution,” Dirie said. “So, I've been really encouraged with how administrators and other people for strategic management plan on being able to put a lot of time into this so that we are affecting as many students as possible.”

Dirie finally said while there has been an uptick in campus tours, it is not associated with the SEM plan. Hornberger said he submitted a draft of the plan to the SLC on March 11, with the next draft refinement planned March 26. Though due to the recent COVID-19 situation, the meeting has been slightly delayed as MSU was focusing on the ongoing situation.

Hornberger said while the situation has slightly delayed the SEM plan, it is “not really out of the range of our timeline.” Meetings will continue, and will address the impact COVID-19 will have on enrollment.

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