I guess it comes as no surprise to those reading this that I am a numbers guy.
I love to study spreadsheets, trends and formulas. That is just one reason I talk so much about enrollment figures. It’s not the only reason though. The reality is that our work is grounded in data. The data driven decisions, good stewardship of financial resources, and statistics on student success and retention are the vital math of the educational world. There is no denying it: our financial picture changes when enrollment changes. That is why I am such a big advocate in keeping an eye on trends.
That doesn’t mean that our one-on-one, face-to-face efforts with students, our services, celebrations, and activities don’t matter. In fact, truth be told, they are at the forefront of what we need to be doing, because we want each student to have a rich and successful college experience.
Some may argue that a focus on numbers means lack of focus on the interpersonal lens. This is not at all true from my perspective, because it’s not just the recruitment of students that impacts our enrollment, it is also retention and student success. To impact retention and success, it has to be personal. Individual students make a decision to persist in higher education even though we are looking at the data through the big picture. To have a true impact on that choice, we have to focus on the social issues that impact persistence.
We all know this list goes on and on. I am thinking (and, ok, analyzing) this, too. I am interested in the perspectives of students today as they relate to the students’ world view. I ask these questions because I want to know more about the lack of capital and economic, social, and class issues that impact their choices to remain at UTSA.
We don’t have all the answers, but I want us to think about the questions every day. It helps us remember that our individual impact on each and every student eventually transforms the data. Now that I have shared my thoughts with you, it is your turn. Tell me what you think by sending me an email. Also, keep this conversation going with colleagues. Keep asking questions in order to help Roadrunners finish strong.
We Are UTSA! We Are Student Affairs!