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Averett Announces Changes in Enrollment Management and Program Development

March 21, 2012

I am pleased to share with you several changes that will advance Averett University’s efforts to increase non-traditional student enrollment and to offer innovative programs that enhance our competitiveness in the marketplace for adult students.

Since joining Averett as Vice President for Enrollment Management in March 2010, Dr. Stuart Jones (pictured at right) has led the University’s traditional undergraduate enrollment management through two years of record new student enrollment; increases in first-to-second-year retention rates; and improvements in the academic profile of new students. As part of our University’s “One Averett” strategy, Stuart will now manage all of Averett’s enrollment efforts, including those for the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) and the Individually Designed Education for the Adult Learner (IDEAL) programs. The GPS enrollment team members around the state will report to Stuart.

In integrating Averett’s enrollment management, Stuart will work closely with Dr. Michael Parsons, Associate Vice President of Graduate and Professional Studies; Christy Pack, Executive Director of Enrollment for GPS; and Susan Rowland, Director of the IDEAL program. This unified enrollment approach allows Averett to recruit more comprehensively for traditional undergraduate, accelerated and distance learning programs.

I believe that we’re positioning the University to realize greater gains and synergies that will result from highly focused strategic leadership not only in enrollment, but also in program development. This reorganization will allow Averett to leverage economies of scale in our enrollment efforts across all of our learning platforms, as the teams will be working toward common goals.

Our Graduate and Professional Studies program is an important aspect of Averett’s value proposition. GPS students make up almost 2/3 of our student body. As many of you know, Averett faces serious challenges in our GPS enrollment, due to external influences like the recession, reduced corporate tuition reimbursement benefits, and the continued growth of competitor institutions.

This restructuring also enables Michael Parsons (pictured at right) and his team to focus more on innovative program development and student services, which will be key to increasing enrollment in Averett’s adult learner programs in the long term. Kendall Carter, Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, is already leading a highly focused effort on GPS student services support.

Michael’s team will now include the IDEAL program, as part of the strategic effort to expand Averett’s already strong array of off-campus, accelerated and distance education programs. Susan Rowland will report to Michael and will continue to create a strong identity for Averett’s flexible IDEAL program.

Averett is rolling out two exciting new programs this year. Pending SACS approval, Averett will offer a RN-to-BSN program, creating an accelerated path for healthcare professionals with a Registered Nurse certification to earn their Bachelor’s of Science Nursing degree in southern Virginia. Starting this fall, Averett will offer an online MBA program across the state. The program will be tablet-based and feature virtual project teams.

I am confident that these changes will make for an even stronger Averett in the future. Stuart’s demonstrated results in traditional enrollment are just the beginning of overall enrollment growth for our University, and under Michael’s leadership our programs for working professional will continue to build on Averett’s focus on meeting the needs of our region and our students.

Tiffany Franks