Open forums begin to determine new admissions vice president


Katherine Johnson Suski, candidate for Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, shares why she would best fit the role. This is the first time a position like this has been offered at ISU. 

Jake Dalbey

Beginning this week, the search for a newly introduced associate vice president for enrollment management and student success role has commenced with a series of public forums at the Memorial Union.

Leading off on Tuesday, the first of four forums featured Katharine Johnson Suski. Suski is the director of admissions at Iowa State.

Being asked to present her aspirations for the admissions program at Iowa State, Suski proposed several new additions she feels will improve student relations with the university.

Suski stressed the importance of selling the university to prospective Iowa State students, citing that happy future graduate equals more alumni donors. 

These satisfied alumni would then also serve as model recruiters for Iowa State, spreading the positive goals of the campus.

Citing this vision as imperative to the success of Iowa State, Suski outlined several ways that the office of admissions could help achieve this goal. 

This included outperforming other collegiate competition in innovation and customer service, being an employment destination and having consistently strong student enrollment.

Because of Iowa State’s rapid growth rate, a plan to understand what the numbers will mean for the university as whole is a need Suski sees being addressed in the future.

“It’s no accident that we are where we are,” Suski said. “It’s because of the current plan we are using. We have to know about our competition so we can stay ahead of the curve. We don’t exactly have a plan for growth such as when we are going to stop growing, so this is something we can pursue.”

One of Suski’s planned additions to Iowa State, in the event she receives the position, is that of a yearly enrollment management and student success summit.

“We aren’t necessarily on the same page at the university,” Suski said.”There are many people doing great things but we aren’t all aware of it.”

The summit would aim to fix the issue of a disconnected staff and faculty base by providing statistical analyses of each college and allowing participants to see educational trends.

Referencing the large popularity of forensic-based majors in the early 2000s, due to the emergence of shows such as “CSI,” and its eventual downfall in enrollment, Suski hopes to take a look at the popularity of individual majors within specific colleges. Using enrollment data, up-and-coming majors can receive the attention they need in order to succeed, and struggling programs can be assessed.

When speaking on the issues of the current campus climate at Iowa State and how it affects students, Suski sees the problem as more of an opportunity than a detriment.

“Lots of things live under the rug,” Suski said. “Whether we want to see them or not, they represent what students tell us has been hidden. 

“This forces hard questions like why students don’t feel safe to be addressed.”

Open forums for the associate vice president of enrollment management and student success will continue Wednesday with Mary Aguayo scheduled to speak.