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In assessing areas of opportunity for impacting enrollment, don’t overlook the value your faculty bring to the student journey.

Institutions only have so many chances to distinguish themselves in a student’s mind. The faculty touchpoint could be the key connection that makes your institution stand out.

Unfortunately, in many cases faculty interaction fails to resonate; in part because interaction is minimal. One professor’s boring presentation of program particulars blends into the next professor’s recitation of program particulars.

This should come as no surprise. Professors know their disciplines, the career fields and marketplace. But faced with a high school senior seeking direction and clarity, many faculty members do not know how to present their programs or engage the student.

We can help. We recently conducted a professional development workshop at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The school’s College of Engineering Technology needed to distinguish itself from the competition. During the three-hour session, we gave faculty members the tools and mindset necessary to connect while presenting and, yes, selling their programs.

If you feel your institution could benefit from a workshop and enhanced faculty engagement, here are some tips to ensure success.

#1 Enlist the support of your Chief Academic Officer

Many institutions are siloed. In most cases, the VP for Enrollment can’t go to the faculty and say, “We need your help. Would you do this workshop?” Build the case with your VP of Academic Affairs who can say, “Let’s try this workshop.”

#2 Build faculty confidence around the process.

To many faculty members, professional development in academic sales and program promotion might be a foreign concept. We have conducted workshops at some schools where faculty had never participated in professional development of this kind. Partner with your faculty on this. Ease any apprehension by telling them why you’re doing it and how it will help them.

#3 Make sure faculty understand their role in recruiting. Then prepare them to fulfill that role.

Taking No. 2 a step further, clarify their evolving roles. We’re not asking them to recruit students – that’s the role of Admissions. As subject matter experts, faculty can have an immense impact on how students view their program and the institution. Help faculty appreciate that it’s not about their program, it’s about each student. Have faculty ask students questions before launching into their program’s story. This will engage students and make the material relevant to their lives. Give faculty the tools they need to be successful with students.

#4 To be successful, all full-time faculty members have to attend.

Full faculty participation in a session like this is a must, which can create scheduling challenges. Work to schedule around faculty availability, maybe mid-August, just before Christmas, mid-January, or right after graduation.

#5 Plan on at least three hours.

A workshop of this nature can’t be good and be fast. So make sure it’s good: Plan for at least three hours.

In this competitive environment, you can no longer afford to leave things to chance. Every touchpoint is a critical touchpoint. And your faculty is uniquely positioned to connect to potential students.

Make student-faculty interaction a truly positive experience. Give your faculty the tools and confidence they need to lift your enrollment marketing to the next level. Schedule a faculty workshop today.

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