The SEMM 2016 presentation details are below.
The 2017 program will be available in the spring.


  • 2016 Presentation Outlines
    (2017 Program Details will Be Announced in the Spring)
    Why Student Career Development is Critical to the Future of Recruitment and Engagement
    This presentation looks at how a changing employment environment and shifting student perspectives have created the need for a paradigm shift in higher education. While institutions have traditionally dealt with academic learning and career development through separate services, this presentation will present an argument for the need and opportunity to realign existing resources to help students explore options for their future while engaging in personal growth and critical reflection. With governments, employers, students and families so focused on career outcomes, how should enrolment managers, recruiters, and student services professionals respond? What’s working so far and what’s next? What opportunities exist for institutions to create competitive advantage? Hear multiple perspectives from this diverse panel and join in the discussion!
    The Marketing Department of One
    In 2012, Hamza Khan built a one-person marketing department at Ryerson University that dramatically improved student engagement and brand evangelism. He has since scaled out this model into an award-winning team as well as a successful digital agency, all of which are continuing to support student engagement, retention, but especially recruitment. But across the Canadian education landscape, while the challenges of earning students' attention and engagement continues to increase day-by-day, the resources allocated - both human and financial - seem to be shrinking. As such, education marketers must learn how to do more with less. Data-driven digital marketing is the perfect solution to this Catch 22, and Hamza's got the perfect case studies to illustrate this point: York University, Douglas College, Trios College, University of Toronto, and more. In this dynamic session, award-winning marketer Hamza Khan will walk SEMM Forum 2016 attendees through the steps it takes to build a one-person marketing team, and then scale it out. He'll lift the hood on real-world examples and case studies to show that crafting an effective online/social media presence doesn't require a lot of resources. Attendees will gain an overview of the best tools and tactics to create and maintain their institutions' online presence, and feel confident in their ability repeatable and measurable success for students at every stage of the funnel.
    Gamification: the New Tool For Recruitment
    Join ChatterHigh Founder Lee Taal and guest post-secondary recruiters as they talk about creating measurable engagement with the high school community through an awareness-building gamified communication channel used in career education classes. Learn how it works and hear from post-secondary institutions about their success. This edu-game is used free in high schools and is the platform for "Canada's Most Informed School" and "Most Informed Student" competitions to promote active exploration of post-secondary and career options. Called by one BC institute in 2014 the "most effective portal for directly engaging with the BC high school community, bar none", ChatterHigh is now used officially by the NB Government to build labour market and post-secondary awareness, and has grown across Canada, in both languages. Partner institutions include UOttawa, Dalhousie, Bishop's, URegina, ULethbridge, Douglas College and many others.
    Parental Influence on Student Decisions: Preliminary Findings from a New Study Modelling Student Behaviour
    What role do parents play in a student’s decision to attend postsecondary, the field of study that they choose, and the institution that they choose? How can recruitment efforts best approach this under-researched but critically important population? Over the 2016-2017 academic year, Higher Education Strategy Associates is running a longitudinal survey of the parents of prospective students to shed light on these questions.

    This three-wave survey explores the ways in which parents develop a ‘choice set’ of potential institutions, how they establish perceptions and preferences for institutions and for fields of study, and the extent to which they are able to directly influence the choices of their children. No previous Canadian study has ever provided this kind of in-depth insight into the role of parents in the student decision-making process – and certainly none has ever been designed to give institutions the critical insights needed to help them speak more directly and effectively to parents.

    This presentation will share preliminary results from this survey, including insights into the messages and communication channels that are most important for parents.
    Examining the Impact of Student Financial Need/Attitudes on Institutional Choice
    Student choice theory is a much studied phenomenon. Why do students choose one post-secondary institution and not another? What factors are involved in decision-making and what is the importance of those factors?

    One such factor impacting student choice is financial considerations.

    A recent Ontario government study indicates that as many as 1/3 of PSE students have considered not going to PSE due to perceived affordability reasons. So financial considerations matter broadly speaking, and matter a great deal for this 1/3. But this tells us little about the overall influence of financial considerations and information on student choice.

    Academica Group partnered with Edge Interactive to examine this issue more closely. This session will share findings a national survey of 1000 first year students from October 2016.

    Major findings to be discussed include:

    - how many students choose to study locally due mainly to financial considerations
    - how financial considerations impact student choice and location of institution
    - how influential student financial aid and awards are
    - how student financial factors impact the decision to live at home or away

    Key findings and implications for marketing, recruitment and enrolment management, in general, will be shared. Insights into the use of student research panels to inform enrolment and marketing strategy will also be discussed. This information will be of interest to those responsible for student financial awards, policy, enrolment management and marketing.
    SEM in Canada: Innovations, Common Myths, and Lessons Learned
    SEM Works has consulted with over 30 Canadian post-secondary institutions and conducted best practice research, which has included more than 100 Canadian colleges and universities. Insights gleaned from these experiences will be presented, including innovative practices; myths that prevent the attainment of optimal enrolment and retention results; and lessons learned regarding effective planning, implementation, and evaluation of SEM initiatives. Each of these elements will be viewed through the core business functions of SEM: marketing, recruitment, service delivery, and retention.
    Putting the Pieces of ACE@UTM Together: Growing Pains and Evolution of a Student Recruitment/Retention Initiative
    This presentation is about our experience in program development when we had to address an immediate need on campus but without enough time to invest in perfecting the model before it was executed. Using the ACE@UTM program (Academic Culture & English at the University of Toronto Mississauga) as our example, this presentation focusses on the evolution of this initiative since 2011 through three major phases. Phase One: Recruitment/Retention Initiative Identified as a Good Idea, Ran with It Phase Two: Ironing Out the Bumps and Finessing Stakeholder Relationships Phase Three: Refining the Program and Reviewing the Data to Measure Success.

    ACE@UTM program, was designed for students who have been admitted to UTM but who require additional English language skills training and support for success in a rigorous academic environment.

    Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about our journey through program development as well as discuss best practices. They will also come away with five key questions to ask when developing a new recruitment or retention initiative on their campus or in their organization.
    SEM: Recruitment and Retention Success at a Regional College Campus
    Canadian college campuses have never faced this much pressure to grow their enrolments. Demographic shifts, reduced government funding, and intense competition from larger institutions are threatening their existence. Regional campuses must be innovative and if they commit to data intelligence as a foundation for strategic enrolment planning, they can weather the storm and succeed like they never have before.

    By using an innovative student retention planning process and plan, the Pembroke Campus of Algonquin College has had huge success in retaining students by supporting them throughout their life cycle. Participants in this engaging workshop will receive an overview of SEM principles and the approaches used, including the strategic plan, tracking mechanisms, metrics to measure success and how this approach can be adapted to individual college campuses. Learn how Algonquin College’s Pembroke Campus has set record enrolments and achieved some of the highest retention rates in Ontario’s college system by using data to plan great strategies.
    Breaking Down Silos: Using Data to Create Change
    Strategic Enrollment Management is an organizational concept and a systematic set of activities designed to enable educational institutions to exert more influence over their student enrolments. At Confederation College, Institutional Research and Strategic Planning functions are at the foundation for maximizing efficiencies and impacts during institutional planning, policy formulation and decision-making. The synergies that these two departments provide to one another enable Confederation to maximize enrolments.

    In order to mobilize valid and reliable data to create actionable change, a SEM committee was formed to break down silos across various functional divisions. This committee attempts to tackle the more complex and challenging issues faced by the College using both internally and externally acquired strategic intelligence data from the department of Institutional Research and Strategic Planning.

    Throughout this presentation we will demonstrate how Confederation College used a program break-even analysis to influence the creation of a multi-year, organization wide action plan. We will give examples of changes that have already influenced organizational processes across departments such as: recruitment, admissions, academic schools, student support services and corporate areas such as human resources and finance.
    Essentials of Inbound Marketing for Student Recruitment
    Inbound marketing is the most effective method for increasing organic traffic to your college website, inspiring new student inquiries, and converting those leads into enrollments. Successful inbound campaigns integrate numerous “working parts” including:

    • Carefully researched student personas
    • High quality creative content, distributed across all channels
    • Targeted social media engagement
    • Email nurturing
    • Search engine optimization
    • Customized landing pages
    • Google Analytics

    Philippe Taza, founder of Higher Education Marketing, will walk participants through each essential component of Inbound, and explain how they interconnect to attract and convert students online. The presentation will include examples of inbound content strategy and development, plus insights on Google Analytics that any college or university can adapt and deploy.
    Making Postsecondary Affordable: Leveraging Financial Aid in Your Marketing
    Research recently conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities shows that more than one third of students – both those currently in postsecondary and those not yet enrolled in PSE – have considered not attending because of their financial concerns. The Ontario government believes that all qualified students, regardless of background or circumstance, should be able to afford to go to college or university in Ontario. For almost 25 years the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) has been in place to make that possible, and over 2 million full time students have benefited. And yet many students don’t apply for assistance, believing that they won’t be eligible.

    Beginning in the academic year 2017/18, Ontario is moving forward with the single largest modernization of OSAP in its history, introducing a transformation that will make financial assistance easier to understand and will deliver it to students when they most need it. At this session you’ll learn more about this transition, and we’ll share ideas for how you can use information about OSAP to attract and retain students.

    • Information that Financial Aid Offices will need to know
    • How marketing branches and student recruiters can leverage this news to open doors for new students, and help existing students complete their programs
    • Introduce you to tools and marketing assets that you can use in your own outreach to prospective students
    • Results from our research into our 2016 research into attitudes and understanding of student financial aid.
    Academic Context and Integration Matter in Measuring English Proficiency: Introducing the New CAEL Assessment for Study in Canada
    Having reliable information on the English language proficiency of an international student applying to a CANADIAN post-secondary institution is an important part of the selection process. But first, you need the right English language test for the purpose of studying in CANADA.

    Paragon Testing Enterprises, a subsidiary of The University of British Columbia (UBC), has developed a new Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment that clearly, accurately, and reliably assesses English language proficiency in a CANADIAN academic context. This test builds on the existing CAEL Assessment originally created at Carleton University, accepted by 150 post-secondary institutions for admission in Canada and internationally, and recently acquired by Paragon.

    In this presentation, you will learn about the advantages of a fully integrated and topic-based performance test, the importance of incorporating language activities that students will similarly experience in their CANADIAN studies, and many of the exciting innovations that have been added into the new test.
    Gap Years: A Tool for Greater Student Engagement – Using Deferrals, Mid-degree Breaks, Pre-graduate School Recharge or Pre-career Exploration to Your Advantage
    Malia Obama is not the only one taking a gap year. In the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of Canadian youth exploring the option of taking a year away from the typical school continuum and embarking on a gap year. Gap years have been popular in the UK and Australia for decades but are only now gaining traction in North America. With an increased understanding of mental health and globalization, we are now recognizing the benefits to taking a year for self-discovery, recharging batteries, exploring passions and maturing before moving onto the next phase of your life.

    As post-secondary institutions are now experiencing more inquiries about deferrals, applications non-direct from high school from gappers and students are taking leaves from their programs, this session will explore how Universities and Colleges can capture incoming gap year students, can use gap years as a tool to re-engage stalling students, support students between degrees and a tool for greater student satisfaction.

    Mygapyear has been working with Canadian gappers for 9 years and is the leading organization to promote and support gap year pathways. The team will share trends in gapper profiles and why they make desirable students, clarify common misunderstandings of gap years and showcase how gap years might be a tool to use to increase student engagement and recruit the top-students. This workshop will be discussion based and encourage sharing of promising practices and brainstorming amongst peers.
    The High School to PSE to Work Continuum
    What do we know (and importantly, what we do NOT know) about students’ expectations and behaviour, moving from high school to post-secondary education and on to the workplace? This presentation will cover recent HEQCO research on student expectations and experiences of PSE, particularly in relation to the labour market and how these findings may impact student recruitment, retention and success. Fiona Deller will discuss what we know about the perceived skills gap; what students think they want out of PSE and how they pursue it; and, what’s being done to help smooth transitions into and through PSE for all students.
    Dynamic Recruitment Presentation Style: Tools to Command Attention and Excite Your Audience
    This participatory workshop will teach you how to use imagination games employed in acting technique to engage your audience and make your message more compelling. Don’t worry; you do not need to have acting talent to be successful. Just bring an open mind and a willingness to experiment and have fun—and best of all, there is nothing to prepare!
    Best Practices in Student Motivation, Engagement, and Retention
    There are 101 strategies that contribute to student retention and engagement, but which ones are the most effective, achievable and affordable?

    This seminar outlines high-impact retention strategies based on the essential factors in student motivation and retention: improving faculty engagement; maximizing program culture, relationship building and career vision through a Day 1 career launch seminar; building student confidence through 8 To Be Great: The 8 Traits Successful People Have In Common by Richard St. John; student first-impressions survey results; core advisors; pre-exam study workshops; back on-track program for at-risk students; developing a program/career handbook; and, Reboot 101–turning study skills into the 10 Steps to High-Performance Learning.

    Each participant will receive a copy of the college success book, Making Your Mark: High-Performance College and Career Success, 9th edition, by Lisa Fraser (used by over 1.6 million students).
    Form the Right Impression: Best Practices for Responding to Prospects
    Effectively recruiting students in Canada doesn’t take a herculean effort or cost a fortune.

    To determine a benchmark and assess current practices, we performed a “Secret Shopper” survey with Canadian colleges and universities. We asked our Grade 11 co-op student Daniel, to request information from these schools and monitor the speed, quality and quantity of responses. Surprisingly, almost many schools failed to even respond to a request for information. Uncover the do’s and don’ts of prospect follow up and set your own standard.

    At this insightful session, you will discover: - A detailed plan on how to respond to student inquiries - Which methods of communication students prefer (phone calls, emails, mail packages, etc.) - How quickly you should initially respond to requests - How frequently you should follow-up after the initial response - What makes one school stand out from another
    How to Tackle Attrition Before It Becomes a Problem
    Almost half the students who quit before graduation do so in their first year. The cost to students, schools and society are huge.

    Schools take attrition seriously. They’re ready to help with resources like advising, counselling, skill remediation, health services, financial aid and others. All it takes to set the wheels in motion is for a student to come forward.

    But what if you didn’t need to wait for a student to come forward? What if you could identify many at-risk students before they set foot on campus and run into the chain of events that convinces them they made the wrong decision and quit?

    If you know who’s at risk before they start first year, you could focus your resources starting on day 1 to reach out to at-risk students before it’s too late.

    This session explains an attrition alert system that can identify many of your potential at-risk students right at the start of the year.

    The attrition alert system has three components that can be run independently for you or integrated into your existing course registration system. You can adopt one component or all of them together. Or you can build them yourself if you have the time and resources to invest.

    1. A Predictive Test using big data analytics to calculate an Attrition Risk Score for every student so you can target at-risk students with existing resources.

    2. A Student Readiness Test that measures each student’s ability on 7 non-cognitive skills tied to academic success. Students with low scores in one or more areas can be steered to the right resources to address their weakness.

    3. A Transition Success evaluation done around week 7 to check that each student is beginning to engage socially and academically. Failure to engage calls for rapid intervention to get the student back on the right path.