Scannell & Kurz Enrollment Leadership Live Blogging President’s Panel

Panel Discussion on Strategic Planning led by three presidents:

George Martin – St. George’s University
Lisa Marsh Ryerson – Wells College
Thomas F. Flynn – Alvernia College

George Martin:
Strategic Planning for the small university for the 21st century

St. Eds – catholic liberal arts in austin texas 5300 students – ending 10 year plan
1999 – 4 months after he arrived presented plan for 2010


distinctive – you must have a niche

must offer high quality programs

serve both traditional and non traditional students – need to create partnerships and discover potential markets and attract support.

campus based facilities of the highest quality facilities

vision of the plan – become the one of the best small colleges in the country

Challenges they faced

Inadequate data

low level of awareness

limited fundraising

no marketing leadership

no integrated IT leadership

many out of date buildings

limited to year to year planning


belief in mission

commitment to transformation

strong financial management


What happened

Grew enrollment

invested 134 million dollars in facilities and invested other monies in technology

Endowment increased 91.5%

Recognized by US news and other national media outlets

How did it happen?

They found NEW ways of working. No stone was unturned. Move indicators of institutional health TOGETHER. you can’t operate in a bubble. Integrated strategic planning. developed in house capacity analysis model. They evaluated their plan annually and always asked what did work and why and what didn’t work and why.

Communication was key to change management. Can’t assume people in our community know what we are doing! People want to feel a part of something larger…






Lisa Marsh Ryerson

Planning needs to be dynamic and integrated.

it all starts with the college mission and the president has the job of supporting and being a steward of the mission.


Private undergraduate – 2004 co-educational move. This fall 30% male in the class. FY class 325 to 575 rural location in finger lakes – annual operating budget 21.4 million

challenges facing Wells in 1990’s

decreasing enrollment

net tution revenue not pulling weight

discount rate through roof

looked at the most critical issues and tackled those first. They did not want to change core mission but needed more revenue immediately.

Reduced tuition in 1998 by $5,000 (30%)

little financial risk and opportunity for increased enrollment

they were concerned that it would say Wells was unstable so they had 2 marketing firms working with them.

they saw 14% increase in enrollment and 23% increase in net tuition revenue.

These were short term fixes. But allowed them to pull community back together. Co-education was the next step to sustain Wells.

She talked about a symphony of planning

strategic plan

senior staff plan

divisional tactical plans

Thomas F. Flynn

second presidency – was a fill in for this session. 3 years at Alvernia.

Will do a more nuts and bolts presentation.

asked 2 questions at planning sessions in his first year –

  • How do we get better.
  • What do you want to tell the President.

Wanted to “think” of ourselves as a university rather than a liberal arts college.

broad inclusive process. They did strategic planning and campus master plan at the same time.

clear expectations for their staff.

they had a disintegrated marketing approach – but it was in pockets

Invested in leadership/marketing/enrollment

getting ready to do a redesign of the website.

Doing things at the same time is difficult but sometimes you need to do things simultaneously.

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