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What is Strategic Enrollment Management or SEM? 

Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) is a comprehensive process that helps institutions to determine, achieve, and maintain their optimal recruitment, retention, persistence, and graduation rates, where “optimal” is, defined in the academic context of the institution. 

How does the Strategic Enrollment Management Process connect with the Rowing Not Drifting Strategic Plan? 

Based on Key Action 1 of phase two of UNC’s Strategic Plan (Develop and implement a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan), the campus established an organizational structure to facilitate broad participation in the development phase of a SEM plan. 

What is the purpose of SEM? 

The purposes of SEM are achieved by: 

  • Establishing clear goals for the number and types of students needed to fulfill the institutional mission  
  • Promoting students’ academic success by improving access, transition, persistence, and graduation  
  • Promoting institutional success by enabling effective strategic and financial planning  
  • Creating a data-rich environment to inform decisions and evaluate strategies   
  • Improving process, organizational and financial efficiency and outcomes
  • Strengthening communications and marketing with internal and external stakeholders
  • Increasing collaboration among departments across the campus to support the enrollment program 

Updated Goals and Strategies 2023-24

  • Goal 1

    Increase the recruitment and retention of degree-seeking undergraduate (UG) and graduate (GR) students to align with UNC’s strategic vision for a diverse and vibrant community.


    1.      Enhance student data collection measures and leverage the data across university systems to  support recruitment and retention across all stages of the student life cycle.
    2.    Become an Hispanic Serving Institution in ways that celebrate the rich diversity of the student body and affirm students' cultural and familial backgrounds.
    3.     Develop data-informed multiyear UG and GR recruitment and retention plans with specific and measurable targets for first-year, transfer, and international populations (for Greeley, Extended, and CUE campuses).
    4.     Evaluate promising practices implemented within the last five years and prioritize those for 
    continued investment.

  • Goal 2

    Increase non-degree, for-credit enrollment across undergraduate and graduate programs to support our communities’ educational needs and professional growth.

    1.    Create and maintain a simplified and accessible application and enrollment experience as well as financial options for certificate, micro-credential, and non-degree seeking students.
    2.    Expand existing and develop new service or partnership agreements with regional high schools.
    3.    Identify and promote courses appealing to non-UNC, non-degree seeking populations.
    4.    Implement communication and marketing infrastructure to promote non-degree seeking enrollment opportunities.
    5.    Investigate and implement academic offerings to support workforce needs and professional development.

  • Goal 3

    Ensure that institutional policies and practices promote equitable access and opportunity for ALL students to succeed.

    1.    Incorporate DEI priorities into enrollment goals in alignment with the comprehensive university-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan.
    2.    Biennially conduct a comprehensive analysis of policies, practices, and procedures at the institutional and unit levels and make changes to address issues of disproportionate access, impact, or barriers experienced by students.
    3.    Expand the use of effective and inclusive recruitment and retention practices and policies.
    4.    Recognize and reward faculty who adopt inclusive pedagogy that leads to equitable student outcomes.

  • Goal 4

    Foster a shared sense of responsibility for students’ success.

    1.    Enhance and promote shared expectations among faculty and staff in student retention and success.
    2.    Develop and promote timely and relevant co-curricular programming that aligns with students’ interests and institutional learning outcomes.
    3.    Develop and implement activities or programs that foster meaningful connections between students and faculty/staff, creating a campus culture of servingness.

  • Goal 5

    Maintain an academic portfolio that reflects our high-quality standards and commitment to career readiness and lifelong learning.


    1.    Develop and deliver curricula that address the needs of today’s learners and ready students for future jobs and careers.
    2.    Enhance the student employment experience and access to career readiness opportunities.
    3.    Design student employment opportunities that embed career readiness skills into employment expectations.
    4.    Increase the visibility of the Office of Career Readiness and student participation in affiliated programming.

  • Goal 6

    Sustain a distinctive and inclusive identity that reflects UNC’s strengths, attracts, and retains undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff, and enhances philanthropic opportunities. 

    1.    Elevate the UNC brand to make UNC a destination of choice.
    2.    Build and sustain local, regional, and international partnerships.
    3.    Utilize the recent brand audit findings to build and promote UNC’s brand identity, appealing to and inclusive of all students regardless of program, college, or campus location.
    4.    Identify and leverage institutional data, promotional narratives, and points of pride to promote the value of UNC and its learning outcomes.  

  • Goal 7

    Maintain the fiscal vitality of UNC while ensuring attendance is financially manageable.

    1.    Increase the campus’s awareness of the relative cost of attending UNC.
    2.    Identify financial barriers for students and enhance institutional practices and priorities to sustain affordability.
    3.    Enhance faculty and staff grant-seeking to align with the institution’s priorities.  
    4.    Identify the financial gaps impacting students and develop a philanthropic strategy to expand the institution's capacity to assist.

Who is leading this process?

Pete Lien (co-chair)

Associate Vice President, Enrollment Services  

Stephanie Torrez (co-chair)

Assistant Vice President, Student Academic Success

Debbie Farris

Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Dr. Jeri Lyons

Associate Vice President for Research & Dean of Graduate School 

Dr. Melissa Malde

Associate Dean, College of Performing & Visual Arts

Dr. Chris Marston

Associate Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Erika Pepmeyer

Director of Admissions

Dr. Sonia Schaible Brandon

Director of Institutional Research & Effectiveness

Dr. Colleen Sonnentag

Dean of Student Development

Nick Dix

Director of Enrollment Extended Campus

Phillip Wyperd

Chief Information Officer & Assistant Vice President of Information Management and Technology 


Phase I Final Report

Phase II Final Report

What is the timeline?

  • Phase I

    Fall 2022

    Develop Goals

  • Phase II

    Spring 2023

    Launch Recruitment and Retention Subcommittees 

    Develop Strategies and Tactics

  • Phase III

    Spring 2024

    Integration of SEM Plan into UNC Strategic Plan, Rowing Not Drifting 2030