SEMM 2019

  • Enrolment Management, Recruitment & Engagement

    The 2019 Strategic Enrolment Marketing & Management Forum offers two full days of workshops and presentations by leading authorities from across Canada and beyond.

    Take advantage of this opportunity to invigorate your campus with fresh thinking about recruiting, engaging, and retaining today’s students.

    Bring your colleagues to share in the discussion and come away with an expanded network of industry experts and peers you can count on to support your success.

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  • The Program

    Learn from recent case studies, discover current research, and explore best practices at SEMM 2019.

    The SEMM Forum is your opportunity to:

    • Explore post-secondary enrolment trends
    • Share marketing and advertising case studies
    • Discover effective recruiting tactics
    • Learn strategies to create an effective brand
    • Examine emerging technologies affecting student recruitment
    • Understand today’s students and how to connect with them


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  • Who Should Attend?

    The SEMM Forum attracts people from many areas across campus, including:

    • recruitment
    • enrolment services
    • admissions
    • registrar’s office
    • international recruitment
    • student success centres
    • financial aid
    • academic advising
    • marketing & communications
    • student life
    • career development
    • and more.

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2018 Program (2019 Program TBA)

  • Day 1
    Wednesday, November 21
    7:30 AM - 8:30 AM
    Registration & Networking Breakfast
    8:30 AM - 9:00 AM
    Welcome & Opening Remarks
    9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    Recruiting and Retaining Generation Zed Students
    Gen Zed individuals were born in 1995 or later and represent the vast majority of traditional-age students on college and university campuses today. Even so, if you have not adjusted your strategies to address their unique needs and preferences, you will not seize the biggest opportunities that exist to ensure their initial enrolment and ongoing persistence. The session will include an overview of the Gen Zed population with related implications for recruitment and retention methodologies.
    10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
    Social Media and Its Impact on Marketing, Branding, and Student-Relationship Building
    This session will focus on social media platforms and the extent to which they influence marketing, branding, and student relationships.Social media's role in a student’s educational journey will be examined, and results from a three-year survey on student social media preferences will be shared. This presentation will also delve into the role that university presidents share in marketing and communications via social media. This presentation will conclude with some findings regarding the value that students place on social media channels, and the presenters will make some suggestions as to how to more effectively reach students and market/brand educational institutions via social media.
    Indigenous Student Recruitment: Are We Setting Indigenous Students Up To Fail?
    Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Calls to Action in June of 2015, there has been increased interest in recruiting Indigenous students to post-secondary institutions. Indigenous people have lower educational attainment and participation rates than their non-Indigenous counterparts; this gap is especially acute at the degree level.

    However, successful recruitment of Indigenous students requires a specialized, targeted, and multi-tiered approach that employs techniques and strategies that can be considered unconventional when compared to working with a general prospective student audience. It also requires a shift in how the institution as a whole orients itself with respect to Indigenous communities and ways of knowing. The institutions and programs we are recruiting Indigenous students to must be prepared to adapt to the unique experiences and perspectives that Indigenous students bring to our campuses to ensure their success.

    In her work as the Indigenous Student Programs Coordinator with the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, Savanah Knockwood’s portfolio encompasses Indigenous student recruitment and retention initiatives for health science programs at the University of British Columbia. She created a theory of “holistic recruitment”, which outlines key areas of focus that need to be targeted to successfully recruit and retain, Indigenous students that can be applied to any program. In this session attendees will learn about the historical context of Indigenous peoples and their relationship with Canada as it informs the theory of “holistic recruitment”, examples of successful recruitment and retention programs and initiatives as evidenced at the University of British Columbia, and how to best utilize the strengths of our institutions and communities to build relationships, partnerships, programs, and strategies that will promote excellence for our newly recruited Indigenous students.
    The Decision Factory at Utilitarian University: Processing Applications in an Admissions Office
    This fictional case study will highlight the usefulness of applying queuing design and control methods to operations in an admissions office.Every year, universities around the world face the challenge of processing a high volume of admissions applications in a timely manner. Their admissions offices are in essence a factory, one whose output is decisions, but with a critical difference. Where a factory has some degree of control over the timing, quality and volume of inputs, an admissions office has far less control over the timing, quality and volume of applications received.

    The application process starts with a pool of prospective students then proceeds through the stages of application initiated, application complete, decision (admit, deny or waitlist), offer (accepted or rejected), and finally to matriculation for those accepting their offers. In recent application cycles, Utilitarian University received a volume of applications so high that the Admissions Office was taking over a month to render decisions on files ready for evaluation. Respondents to an ‘offer declined’ survey noted they received offers from Utilitarian’s main competitor – Veritas University – two weeks prior to receiving the Utilitarian offer. In response to this trend and out of concern for the potential detrimental impact on future enrollment, the Provost of Utilitarian asked a professor in the Department of Statistics, Dr. Cue, to analyze the applications queue in the Admissions Office.

    The hope is that Dr. Cue’s recommendations for improvement would be implemented over the course of the summer so that next year the University would be ready to handle the volume of applications with fewer delays. As Dr. Cue reviewed the current situation, it was immediately apparent that the complexity of the applications queue, with its peak period and lack of steady state, merits a variety of approaches: analytical calculation based on queue characteristics to explore boundaries and approximations (Allen-Cuneen, deterministic fluid queues) as well as simulation modelling with RISKOptimizer and @RISK. What recommendations will Dr. Cue submit to the Provost to help the University’s ‘decision factory’ tame its unwieldy applications queue?
    11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    11:30 - 12:30
    How to Use the Power of Micro Influencers in Higher Education
    Micro-influencer marketing has taken the marketing world by storm. We've all seen the impact of celebrity influencers on massive brand campaigns on instagram etc., but now these micro influencers have taken centre stage with 5x higher engagement and a much better ROI.

    Influencer marketing has just started to take hold in the Higher Ed. sector and already Colleges/Universities using this powerful tactic are seeing phenomenal returns. Hear from the experts that have executed dozens of micro-influencer campaigns in the Higher Ed. industry on best practices and how to execute your own successful micro-influencer campaign.
    Bridging the Communication Gap: Non-verbal Communication in Public Presentations
    This session will outline the various aspects of communication in public speaking, with a focus on non-verbal communication and its effects on the audience. Tips on vocal preparation and health, and on structure of the speech will be included.
    Using an Ecosystem Model to Maximize Student Enrolment
    The common viewpoint of many faculties is a programmatic or graduate/undergraduate level of individual program offerings, each with their own recruitment and marketing strategies. This results in programs and levels of study each pursuing their own common, but seemingly unrelated interests, which leads to resource redundancy and wastage.

    The ecosystem model demonstrates the interconnectedness of the various program offerings within a faculty and the benefit of adopting joint marketing and recruitment activities to maximize the lifetime value of an applicant or student. The result of this joint approach to operations is a more streamlined marketing and recruitment strategy which benefits from a more clearly defined audience.

    Our presentation will identify how to go about transforming a faculty perspective from one of programmatic viewpoints to a shared and more robust outlook on faculty operations. This is done by mapping the relationships between faculty interests, acknowledging the complete customer lifecycle and developing actionable tactics that make the ecosystem a workable model.
    12:30 AM - 1:30 PM
    Networking Lunch
    1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    Becoming a Brand Champion at Your School (No Matter What Your Title)
    Having a brand means making a promise. Having a good brand means keeping it. But what basic promise is your school making to students, community stakeholders, and its own staff? How is this promise seen by others? Do they think you’re keeping it? Many post-secondary professionals in Canada might think of institutional branding as someone else’s job, be it someone higher up the institutional food chain or a third-party creative agency. But branding is something that can be impacted by professionals working in many different capacities across a school. This presentation will draw on work performed with hundreds of institutions across Canada to highlight case studies of individuals who’ve had a major impact on their school’s brand. The session will explore how these individuals worked within an environment of limited resources to change their schools for the better, and will highlight the key attributes that can make any higher ed professional a brand champion at their own institution.
    2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
    Student Journey Mapping: Who is Using It and What Kind of Results Are They Seeing?
    Student Journey Mapping has been a topic of discussion and the focus of many multi-year projects across higher education over the last few years. How far have we come? How has our sector, as a whole, accepted this process and where have we implemented it?

    In an effort to advance the collective knowledge of Post-Secondary Education in the area of student-centric decision making, JP Rains will cover a variety of ways in which his colleagues have leveraged student journey mapping and share what type of results they have found. Sharing successes and failures, both his own and from others, he will aim to give an assessment of how Student Journey Mapping has influenced our space. This process has been used in a variety of ways; from building new websites, to social media strategy, and to redefining a student admissions experience

    Each of these ways advances the positive influence we can have on those who matter most - our students. Having personally interviewed half a dozen veterans of Student Journey Mapping (and having delivered the "how to Journey Map" presentation last year at SEMM 2017), his aim is to deliver key takeaways for conference attendees. His hope is to deliver this talk and move the needle on student-centric decision making, arming our attendees to better understand their students, and almost more importantly, help their executives better understand their core audience.
    Using Virtual Reality to Drive Applications: A Live Case Study
    Shawn Chorney, Vice President Enrolment Management, Indigenous and Student Affairs at Canadore College and Mike Leon, Managing Director of Brand Heroes Inc. a Digital Marketing Agency, will walk through a live case study of an integrated digital campaign designed to increase reputation and enrolment for the Aviation Programs at Canadore College.

    Boasting an impressive increase in applications, this innovative campaign leveraged state of the art virtual reality video, coupled with event collateral as well as a unique High School student awards program; all with the goal capturing hearts, minds and applications. This campaign brought in Industry, Community and Government Partnerships, and created an experience that highlighted the unique selling features of the Aviation programs in a very personal way. Shawn and Mike will walk through the campaign, and provide many value add tips and tricks on brand storytelling that connects wow factor with results!
    Promoting Pre-doctoral Fellowships to Indigenous Students: A Case Study of New Niches and Niche Marketing
    In Vicky Arnold’s presentation, she will tell the story of how her faculty created new niche positions and how Vicky promoted them to a niche market while finding a new niche for herself. Based on recommendations in the TRC report and a renewed focus on both scholarly research and faculty renewal, the Faculty of Arts and Science launched four new Pre-doctoral positions for Indigenous scholars.

    The first challenge/opportunity was that pre-doctoral fellowships are almost unheard of in Canada and the second was finding the numerically small but extremely significant market for theirs: Indigenous PhD students at universities other than Queen’s who had completed all of their degree requirements except their final project/dissertation.

    An additional challenge was that she had just started a new position and was working with a new cast of characters to demonstrate our Faculty’s commitment to Indigenous education to both internal and external audiences. The morals of Vicky’s story: the importance of continuous learning, listening and storytelling, building relationships, and creating community when trying to fill a niche for Indigenous students.
    3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Student Recruitment Marketing: A Detailed Discussion on Current Challenges, Best Practices and 2018 Trends
    Get into the mindset of your fellow marketers and recruiters! Based on survey results taken from professionals in the field, this workshop will examine the current challenges marketers and recruiters face in developing effective strategies, working within budget constraints, staying on top of digital trends and reaching students. This workshop will allow you to explore new concepts, develop ulterior strategies and make connections. Through practical exploration, you’ll return to your work setting with new ideas to connect, collaborate, and expand your work.

    Learning objectives:

    - Communicate and collaborate in groups to identify effective student marketing strategies
    - Discuss current challenges and develop solutions for how to address obstacles in student marketing and recruitment
    - Pinpoint emerging trends and discuss how to best capitalize on them
    - Identify where areas of your recruitment/marketing budget could be better spent
    Managing the Organizational Change Associated with SEMM
    SEMM results in a transformational change for many areas of the post-secondary organization. The impact of this change is often overlooked, which can result in serious implementation challenges, which in turn can undermine achievement of SEMM objectives.

    This presentation will focus on the change management aspects of a successful SEMM implementation including highlights from international literature on organizational change in post-secondary organizations, areas where change management should be considered as part of the SEMM implementation plan, examples from multiple projects and specifics on how change management can be implemented to enhance SEMM outcomes.
    Exploring Our Engagement with Indigenous Student Recruitment
    Recruiting Indigenous students is a growing priority for our institutions. However, it can be daunting to know where to begin and how to navigate integrating targeted recruitment strategies for Indigenous students into our current work. This interactive workshop session will give participants the opportunity to explore themes and topics in Indigenous student recruitment in a safe and structured environment. Participants will work together with the facilitator to explore what fears, assumptions, and challenges exist when considering this work. After identifying these areas, participants will brainstorm solutions, ideas, and next steps that can be used when integrating Indigenous students into their recruitment plans.
    5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    Networking Cocktail Reception
  • Day 2
    Thursday, November 22
    8:00 AM - 8:45 AM
    Networking Breakfast
    8:45 AM - 9:00 AM
    Opening Remarks
    9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    What Students Are Thinking: Surprising Findings from Maclean's
    This year, Maclean’s magazine surveyed more than 30,000 post-secondary students across Canada to get their perspectives on the value of their education, campus life, money and whether they feel prepared for life after school. This session will offer insight into a number of surprising findings from the survey and what they illustrate about what students are really thinking about. Plus, we’ll answer any thorny questions about the magazine’s annual rankings themselves.
    10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
    From First Year to World-ready: Putting Skills at the Centre of the Student Experience
    Our global economy is changing at an unprecedented pace and scale. As students and employers anticipate the disruptions and opportunities that lay ahead, they look to our post-secondary institutions to impart the skills needed to meet tomorrow’s economic needs. Institutions are responding, offering programs and resources designed to develop technical and transferable skills. But are students and prospective students aware of these skill development opportunities? How do they perceive them? This presentation will explore student awareness and perceptions of two such opportunities: Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and online video libraries. We’ll offer evidence to inform marketing and recruitment strategies, including results of recent student surveys that provide insight into student skill development needs and how they relate to institutional offerings like online learning and WIL.
    Branding Is for Retention, Not Just Recruitment
    Today, institutions are more focused on branding than ever before. It can be extremely challenging managing a brand in the higher education sector, especially when potential and current students live in a world driven by snaps, stories, AI and emojis.

    It's impressive and exciting when an academic brand breaks through, makes a connection, and wins the heart of a student. Some would say that once the new student has registered, and shows up for class, the branding job is done... but it's only just begun. What many forget is that strong branding is more important to those already connected to the institution versus those being recruited to join it.

    In this session, Sean Williams will speak to the importance of branding, the impact it has on current students, and how it helps keep students coming back year after year. He will highlight and speak to how key areas across campus support the institution's brand, and ensures students stay loyal, committed and engaged.

    This session will speak to the undergraduate and graduate years, as well as highlight how best to transition students into active Alumni that are vocal brand advocates. Advocates that will help recruit new students, give back to the institution or simply stay involved.
    Markets, Competition, and Media: The Unique Characteristics of the Online PSE Market
    The percentage of total registrations in Canadian post-secondary education attributed to online courses and programs grows each year, as does institutional dependence on online education to meet enrolment targets. Yet, few institutions have a clear picture of how competition in online education operates, and of the new roles that university recruitment professionals can play in leveraging the unique properties of this market.

    This workshop is an opportunity for workshop participants to bring their insights and questions to the review of a number of critical issues, including:
    - Why the tangible (and reproducible) format of online education presents new opportunities (and threats) for PSE marketing;
    - How institutional reputation in online education differs from the campus-model;
    - The characteristics commonly found amongst the fastest growing online education programs and institutions in North America;
    - How value is defined and realized in online education;
    - And how technology is enabling new types of education providers to compete with traditional higher education.
    11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    The Future is Immersive: Bringing Virtual and Augmented Reality to Campuses and Classrooms
    VR and AR aren't flash in the pan tech fads. They offer new ways to enrich learning and make classrooms and campuses more interactive, and are hugely popular with Millennial audiences. Virtual and Augmented Reality is the future of the digital media landscape. Popularized by games like Pokemon Go, Google Daydream, and social media apps like Snapchat, they are also proven formats for engaging Millennials. They unlock huge possibilities within post-secondary education--for campus discovery, classroom content exploration, practical applications in learning, and more.

    This session will uncover how leading post-secondary education organizations are using AR and VR technology to engage prospective and current students, and ways that educators and management alike can leverage this tech for better outcomes.

    The agenda will be as follows:

    Defining the 'Immersive spectrum' - VR & AR Overview, concepts, and definitions
    User adoption - stats on usage of VR headsets, AR gaming, general industry expectations
    Examples in education - specific projects and initiatives that are available right now, including 360° content, 3D classroom models, AR viewbooks, and more.
    Project management - explanation of the workflow involved and high level budget allocations for deployment

    What's next? Trends to watch out for in VR/AR
    Tell Macleans What You Really Think!
    Have you ever wanted to tell Maclean’s what you really think of their rankings? Now, you can! In this candid session, we’ll discuss some of the magazine’s plans for 2019, what it could do better in its coverage and listen to story ideas. A similar session last year led to substantial changes to the magazine’s student satisfaction survey.
    Gap Years - A Tool for Recruitment and Retention
    Explore with the Canadian Gap Year Association how to connect with and recruit students who have taken gap years, how to use gap years as a retention tool and leveraging this experimental learning tool at your institution.

    We will look at it from a practical and policy lens and seek to enhance strategy around gap year students.
    12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
    Networking Lunch
    1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    International Student Growth: Communications Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for PSE
    Canadian post-secondary institutions have excelled globally in International Student recruitment and are poised for even further growth. Yet within the excitement surrounding this growth, institutions are also taking new measures to ensure that international students have an exceptional experience once they land on Canadian soil. First, many institutions have capped their growth and are turning their attention to international student success and retention objectives. Second, there is growing pressure to focus on a broader definition of ‘internationalization’ that emphasizes intercultural exchanges between students, faculty, and staff in an effort to enhance each group’s global outlook and skills development. Finally, there is a growing challenge associated with international students achieving meaningful employment leading to permanent residency in Canada.

    This workshop will see the expert presenters engage directly with participants to articulate and explore the challenges and opportunities associated with these developments. The session will focus on the sharing of experiences in order to allow every participant to leave the session better-informed about how they can use best practices and communications strategies to ensure the continued success of their institutions, international students, and broader campus communities.
    Relationship-Building: Is It the Key to Converting Leads and Student Prospects?
    In this digital age, we know how important relationship-building is in order to stand out from the crowd, but how important is it really when it comes to converting prospective students?

    This session works to deliver an answer to this question. Based on a secret shopper survey of several institutions, as well as student feedback, Chris Wilkins and Lauren Lord of the SchoolFinder Group will lead a detailed discussion on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to building relationships with student prospects.
    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!
    2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
    Networking & Refreshment Break
    2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
    Students, Careers & The Impact of Post-Secondary Education
    We know that gaining qualifications and readiness to start a career is the number one reason that most students pursue post-secondary education. But exactly what role do career aspirations play in their education decisions. How does post-secondary education influence students' career confidence? And perhaps most importantly to administrators, how does career intention affect student retention and academic success?

    Based on new research conducted in 2018 with more than 13,000 post-secondary students, this presentation will dig deep into the relationship between career development and post-secondary studies. It will also explore the effectiveness of certain interactions on campus with students and how those affect students academic and career confidence.
    3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
    Closing Remarks

Pre-Conference Workshops

  • Full-Day
    Pre-Conference Workshop A:
    Strategic Planning for Post-Secondary Professionals

    Presented by
    Graham Donald, President, Brainstorm Strategy Group Inc.

    Tuesday, November 12, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

    Driving change starts with effective planning that engages your team, your stakeholders, other departments or faculties, and even your broader communities. This full-day pre-conference workshop will provide training in strategic planning that has been developed specifically for leaders of departments or divisions on campus.

    Learn More

  • Full-Day
    Pre-Conference Workshop B:
    Foundations of Canadian SEM Success

    Presented by
    Dr. Clayton Smith, Associate Professor, University of Windsor and Senior Consultant, AACRAO Consulting

    Susan Gottheil, Vice-Provost (Students), University of Manitoba

    Tuesday, November 12, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

    Are you looking to re-boot you institutional SEM efforts? Or perhaps you’re new to SEM?

    This full-day, pre-conference workshop outlines how strategic enrolment management (SEM) serves as a planning framework for shaping enrolment and supporting student success at higher educational institutions of all types. In this workshop, we examine SEM core concepts, explore the changing demographic and social environment, discuss how SEM can support the achievement of recruitment, retention, and completion goals, compare SEM practices across Canadian colleges and universities, and identify the campus culture factors that support successful SEM implementation.

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  • Half-Day
    Pre-Conference Workshop C:
    Creating a Memorable Campus Visit Experience

    Presented by
    Dr. Jim Black, President, SEM Works

    Tuesday, November 12, 1:30 – 4:30 PM

    It’s past time to throw out the traditional playbook for campus visits. There is nothing unique or memorable about the “old school” approach to the campus visit experience. Visits to campus represent the “make or break” decision point for many prospective students, so the experience deserves the same level of investment, planning, and execution that Disney gives to every attraction at its theme parks. Disney innovatively designs every “guests’ experience” to ensure a lasting memory emerges. Colleges and universities can benefit from the lessons learned by Disney.

    Learn More

  • Half-Day
    Pre-Conference Workshop D
    Digital Marketing Strategies to Boost Enrolment

    Presented by
    Victoria Bomben, Independent Consultant

    Tuesday, November 12, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

    During times of political turbulence, financial pressures, enrolment challenges and demographic shifts, it is now more important than ever for higher education marketers, recruitment and admissions specialists to recognize how student decision stages fit within the context of the enrolment management pipeline and align their digital strategies to attract, recruit, and admit the right students into the right programs.

    Learn More

Need Approval to Attend?

  • Download the Business Case

    Attending the SEMM Forum is a great investment to support the success students and your institution.

    It’s probably obvious to you that attending would be great for your professional development. The more expertise (and broader network) you bring to your work, the better.

    But your boss might need a little more convincing. So, we’ve created a template you can use to prepare your business case to persuade your leaders that attending will be an excellent investment. Click the button below to download the template.

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