Canada’s Largest Conference on Post-Secondary Marketing, Recruitment & Enrolment Management

SEMM Forum brings together more than 300 professionals involved in every stage of the student experience from attraction through to graduation.

By connecting leaders in marketing, recruitment, admissions, enrolment management, and student services,
SEMM Forum creates an opportunity for sharing across disciplines and supports a holistic approach to strategic enrolment management.

Attend SEMM 2019 to gain indispensable knowledge and learn valuable best practices while networking with top experts from Canada and beyond.


Countdown to Regular Ticket Price Deadline

Register in advance to get the best ticket prices!

Speakers (many more TBA)

Many more speakers as well as program details will be announced soon.





Testimonials

Matt Stiegemeyer
"This day was extremely valuable. A great chance to connect with Canadian enrolment management staff and share ideas."

Matt Stiegemeyer
Director, Student Recruitment
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Concordia University
Terri Ann Fitz-Gibson
"Attending SEMM 2018 exceeded my expectations. I walked away with new knowledge that I am already working on applying to existing and future projects. Networking was another highlight and equally as valuable as the workshops themselves. Can't wait for next year!"

Terri Ann Fitz-Gibson
Student Experience and Assessment Coordinator
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Lethbridge College
Dr. Keith Christopher Hampson
"The SEMM Forum is one of the better run events of its kind. You can expect a great deal of interaction between conference participants and a strong mix of speakers that address the key issues in enrolment management and marketing."

Dr. Keith Christopher Hampson
Founder
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HigherEdManagement
Nicholas Shalagan
"SEMM is a great opportunity to network, learn, and engage with the professionals responsible for the recruitment, admission, and retention of students. Attending SEMM is essential for staying up-to-date with the most recent trends and best practices being implemented across the country."

Nicholas Shalagan
Recruitment Officer
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Western University

Pre-Conference Workshops

In advance of the SEMM Forum 2019 we will also be offering four highly interactive pre-conference workshops:

Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshop A:
Strategic Planning for Post-Secondary Professionals
Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshop B:
Foundations of Canadian SEM Success


Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshop C:
Creating a Memorable Campus Visit Experience
Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshop D:
Digital Marketing Strategies to Boost Enrolment



SEMM 2019 Preliminary Program

(Additional Presentations TBA)
  • Timing TBD

    November 13 & 14, 2019

  • In this presentation Dr. Woolf will outline the current and likely immediate future global and national context for higher education. He uses the word ‘threats’ rather than the euphemism ‘challenges’ deliberately—there are some potentially existential threats looming to the PSE system in Canada as we know it, some endogenous others emanating from changing global circumstances and technological change. The presentation will examine such issues as changing student/parental expectations as to what a university education should ‘buy’, including employment prospects, blue-chip mental and physical health supports, and a stress-free or ‘safe’ environment. It will also examine external threats such as increasing governmental intrusion into university affairs; unstable revenue streams; the difficulty of balancing research and economic development expectations with a commitment to teaching; the relative lack of levers that university administrators have to effect change; the promise and also risks of internationalization; and, the threat to traditional liberal values in a highly polarized world. The final part of the presentation will suggest some ways in which universities can protect the core of what they do best and also adapt to face these new circumstances.

  • Developing students’ financial literacy is integral to their success and ability to complete their studies. In 2018, Algonquin College's Financial Aid and Student Awards Department piloted its Smart Money Plan, a program to build students' financial literacy. A major component included personalized monthly emails to all domestic students to deliver timely information, establish relationships between students and their financial aid officers, and spark conversations about financial literacy. With open rates above 50%, we proved that email isn't dead -- it just needs to be relevant. This session will explore how we successfully leveraged email, built our content plan, and the lessons learned along the way.

  • Everywhere we turn there is easier access to 'data'. Survey information and 'big data' are great for answering many questions, but often leave us wondering 'what do they REALLY think, say, do, feel or even wish?’ This is the critical role that qualitative research plays. Only qualitative research can help build empathy with your target at any stage of their journey. We will show with specific case studies how online qualitative methods like in-the-moment video-based mobile tools, and online discussion boards can uniquely and efficiently bring you into the moment. These tools provide us with amazingly candid and relevant insights. They enable you to engage directly with students, prospects, alumni, employers, faculty and staff (or any target group for that matter) in a way that is convenient and comfortable to them. Further, we will demonstrate how mixing qualitative methods and use them iteratively, consistent with design thinking principles, enables faster and more confident decision making.

  • In this presentation Josiah will share how predictive analytics can better help marketers make data-driven decisions on where to put their next marketing dollar. Josiah will share what machine learning is and isn't and how we can use tools and platforms to help us as marketers achieve our enrolment objectives leveraging the latest technology on tight budgets and limited resources.

  • Janet Hyde’s presentation will touch on the nature of post-secondary education in 2030, including differing views of what the academy may look like and how it may operate. Through research, example and discussion, she will present some of the challenges and opportunities inherent in supporting the emerging economy, changing demographics, and changing expectations of post-secondary educators. She will suggest some approaches to consider that could lead to more nimble post-secondary organizations and will conclude with techniques for achieving meaningful change in the post-secondary sector that require collaboration between SEMM professionals, academic leaders, and faculty.

  • In 2015, Fort McMurray dipped into a serious recession. When this was followed by a wildfire in 2016, enrolment dropped by 25%. Layoffs, restructuring and regular changes at the executive level removed any connection to previous SEM work. Needing to rebuild, required us to plan for "SEM Again". We will share the process, the journey, the successes and the challenges that we have experienced in our first two years of "SEM Again". Using collaborative tools, we have built a very solid foundation for our roadmap moving forward. Connecting business change management in our pursuit of enhancing the student experience is providing us with the vision to truly achieve Strategic Enrollment Management. The dream team on this project includes key people: the SEM manager, the Organizational Development Advisor and the Institutional Research Analyst. By combining the talents of topic expertise, organizational expertise and research expertise, we bring a comprehensive approach to SEM again.

  • Students are being asked to answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? This question perpetuates the myth that they will be just one thing: one profession or one job title. This is no longer true. What is much more likely is that they will work on several different challenges, problems and opportunities over the course of their lives. To recruit and retain students in this new reality, we must be help them make the connection between their program of study and the impact they want to have on the world. The Challenge Method addresses this new reality head on by engaging students to 'flip the model' of career development: First, choose a problem you want to solve. Next, find companies that are working on this problem. Then, learn about the people who work there, their skills and their paths. Finally, choose an education program based on what you need to know to solve the problem you chose. Participants will learn how Canadian colleges and universities are using game-changing tools to 'flip the model' of career development to recruit, engage and retain students.

  • In the endless war between marketing and communications professionals and the academics and administrators of higher education, leave this session equipped with new ammunition for the battle of "Less is (actually, quite a lot) more". We aren't writing rubrics, syllabuses or policies, but our stakeholders are. While keeping your compassion hat on for the concerns, anxieties and limitations all stakeholders face, learn how you can challenge the status quo and improve your stakeholder relationships so that you can create dynamic, engaging and interesting content for Gen. Z, helping you to recruit prospective students and keep current students interested and informed. Join Laurier's MARCOM duo as they share trials and triumphs of ongoing relationship building and communications refinement. Learn how you can empower stakeholders to adapt their communications, why the Viewbook isn't everything, and how to leverage research to promote data-driven decision making.

  • This presentation will review the usage of agents as a strategy for attracting international post-secondary students. With Memorial as a case study, the presenter will provide an overview of the usage of agents, particularly within the Canadian university context. If your university/school is (1) interested in seeking best practices information, (2) wanting to assess the value of students recruited via agents or (3) determine how your school compares with others, this presentation is for you.

  • As a SEM initiative, Humber College undertook a consultation and review of its printed calendar and other recruitment collateral, to determine whether current practices were aligned with the needs of its key stakeholders, now and in the future. Humber's Marketing, Recruitment & Conversion committee engaged in this multi-step, consultative process that included surveys, interviews and focus groups, in order to create an implementation plan with short, medium and long-term recommendations. The focus was on the needs of the audience - prospects, parents, guidance leaders and even current students - and how Humber will continue to engage with them in an increasingly digital environment. This session will describe Humber's rationale and methodology for this project, challenges faced, and key project outcomes. We will share our strategy for prioritizing implementation initiatives.

  • For those institutions with on-campus residences, there exists an amazing opportunity to retain students and turn those living on campus into brand advocates. Advocates that will be embedded and actively engaged in the university or college experience. Many will thrive socially, and bring other students into #reslife. Some will carry on into residence leadership roles, while others succeed in their studies. All of this delivers engaged students or advocates that will carry forward the institution’s brand during and after their time on campus. There are studies that confirm students excel academically and personally in-residence vs those that live off campus. However, to ensure they stay involved and engaged year after year, institutions need to look beyond rooms, beds, and burgers. Powerful #reslife experiences offer vibrant social programming and activities, community spaces that foster creativity, ‘making’, socialization and fun, as well as food services that feel like the Marche or Whole Foods. Well fed, well rested and involved students come back, stay connected and are loyal. They’ve lived (literally) the institutional brand and will be strong advocates going forward. In this session, Sean Williams will speak about the connection between residence living, student retention and brand loyalty. An alignment that will foster a never-ending level of engagement.

  • Chatbots offer new possibilities to higher ed institutions to provide popular content, answer questions, complete tasks and guide prospective students to optimal outcomes. The promise of this technology sounds great, of course, but the challenge for marketers and web administrators is to crack the complexity of these new tools, determine their best use cases and to implement them in complex web environments with limited resources. The goal of this presentation is to reduce some of that complexity by providing information, insight and practical examples of how a chatbot can deliver value to web managers, higher ed marketers, and students and to demonstrate specifically how a chatbot can be applied in a student recruitment context. This session will describe how George Brown College, Continuing Education, developed a hybrid, decision tree/natural language processing based chatbot, to support recruitment for an online technical training certificate program (https://www.plctechnician.com). This talk with offer key questions, decisions made, and lessons learned, ranging from project goal setting, software selection, content development, implementation, and vendor relations, to on-going analytics, chatbot development and maintenance.

  • Workshop participants will learn proven methods of maximizing institutional buy-in and engagement in SEMM planning and implementation. Campus stakeholders are reluctant to embrace concepts and practices that they do not understand or necessarily value. Faculty and staff are extremely busy, so unless they see the institutional and personal value of investing their time in marketing and enrolment efforts, they are unlikely to become SEMM champions. Through a highly participatory process, workshop attendees will develop an internal communications and engagement plan for their school.

  • There is always a need for reliable data in Canada’s post-secondary institutions, but an even greater need to make sure that data supports real choices with real impact. This presentation will focus on the many ways that your SEMM team can not only gather the data it needs, but also act on this data and share it across your institution to build confidence in your SEMM efforts, especially when converting applicants to enrolments. Best practices in data sharing and decision support will be drawn from Academica Group’s experience of working with institutions across Canada and beyond to ensure that SEMM data is actionable instead of inert.

  • Who is our audience? Will they care about what we’re saying? How do we get them to start talking to each other about our institution? Developing a strong social media strategy means connecting with your team to ask the hard questions and get reliable answers. In many cases, this means performing timely and relevant research to get the answers you need to make the most of your creative messaging, ad buy, and daily social media efforts. This session will feature tips and tools that any social media manager can use to optimize their social media strategy, including conducting a social media audit, understanding target audiences, performing a comparative analysis, mapping your network, experimenting, and getting the most out of your social metrics.

  • Demand for online programming continues to climb. And supply is up, too. Reports indicate that the majority of mid to large colleges and universities in Canada and the US are increasing the number of online and hybrid courses and programs they offer. With this growing commitment comes a greater dependency on the institution's capacity to compete effectively through digital learning; to support the institution's broader financial, academic and status objectives. However, data from multiple sources makes clear that a small percentage of institutions are capturing a disproportionate percentage of total online enrolments. In this talk, Dr Keith Hampson examines the strategies deployed by these institutions and whether they could be adopted more widely in the sector.

  • Adult learners represent a new and underserved market for Canadian postsecondary institutions, and their numbers are growing. This presentation will explore how economic forces are disrupting the labour force, creating a demand for short, flexible training programs that are geared to adult learners. The presenters will describe what the evidence suggests are the ideal elements of adult-focused upskilling programs, and explain why competency-based education, which is growing in popularity among US postsecondary institutions, is a promising model with the potential to better serve Canadian adult learners.

Conference Venue

Marriott Downtown Toronto Eaton Centre
525 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2L2
 

Past Attendees

The Following are some of the Organizations that have attended past SEMM Forums

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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