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    Achieving Personal Mastery with SEM

    In idealistic-pragmatist, Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline (1990), one of the five disciplines is personal mastery (the others are systems thinking, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning). Senge writes, “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs” (p. 139)   So, for our institutions to grow, each of us must find our own path to personal mastery.

    Senge describes personal mastery as “the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively” (Ibid, p. 7).

    Kirsty Wadsley, head of widening participation at the London School of Economics and representative of the UK-based Association of University Administrators, presents a research poster at the 2017 AACRAO SEM Conference
    Kirsty Wadsley, head of widening participation at the London School of Economics and representative of the UK-based Association of University Administrators, presents a research poster at the 2017 AACRAO SEM Conference

    For enrollment managers, one of the ways of achieving personal mastery is through developing professional competencies and proficiencies in Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM).  For those new to SEM, here is one of my favorite definitions:

    Enrollment management is a comprehensive and coordinated process that enables a college [or university] to identify enrollment goals that are allied with its mission, its strategic plan, its environment, and its resources, and to reach those goals through the effective integration of administrative processes, student services, curriculum planning, and market analysis.” (Kerlin, 2008)

    This can be achieved by reading some of the SEM classics and the SEM Quarterly journal, or by continuing the development of personal mastery by engaging with colleagues engaged in their own professional development. 

    Some will choose graduate programs or courses/experiences that culminate in a certification of some type.  But for many of us, it is about coming to the AACRAO Strategic Enrollment Management Conference, which is celebrating this year its 30th conference in Las Vegas on October 25-28, 2020.  Topics typically include: SEM culture, leveraging technology and data, career development, student success, and reaching optimal enrollment.

    An important way to contribute to your own personal mastery in SEM is to actively participate in the conference.  Currently, conference planners are promoting a Call for Proposals, where you can submit proposals for a best practice session, a poster, round-table, or a stop and share discussion on SEM hot topics, SEM research, or innovative ways institutions are implementing SEM. Proposals from multiple institutions or types of institutions are encouraged, as are proposals from Canadian and international institutions.

    If you are thinking of submitting a proposal and want to discuss some ideas, send me an email at Clayton.Smith@uwindsor.ca  (I am the director of the AACRAO SEM Conference!).

    Whether you submit a proposal or not, let me encourage you to join us in Las Vegas this fall to enhance your personal mastery with SEM.

    -Clayton Smith

    Kerlin, C. (2008).  Community college roadmap for the enrollment management journey.  College and University, 83(4,), p. 11.

    Seng. P. M. (1990).  The fifth discipline The art and practice of the learning organization.  New York: Currency, Doubleday.

    Finding the Connection

    Dr. Smith and Dr. Bayley with students from Southwest University (China) who are participating in the Reciprocal Learning Program
    Dr. Smith and Dr. Bayley with students from Southwest University (China) who are participating in the University of Windsor Faculty of Education Reciprocal Learning Program

    Colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada are increasingly becoming ethnoculturally and linguistically diverse which is partially due to increasing enrolment of international students. Currently, 1.4 million international students choose to study at Canadian and U.S. post-secondary educational institutions, which increased by 7.1 percent between 2015 and 2016 (Canadian Bureau of International Education, 2016; Institute of International Education, 2016).

    Currently, campus internationalization initiatives focus primarily on external areas including education abroad and student exchange, recruiting international students, and institutional partnerships. However, this is expected to change as more institutions are developing academic-related internationalization initiatives (e.g., international or global student learning outcomes, related general education requirements, foreign language requirements).  A growing number of institutions are increasing faculty engagement in internationalization efforts. To do this, faculty will need to critically examine their role in campus internationalization and implement teaching strategies that address international student success factors.

    In a recent study, we explored the promising teaching practices for teaching linguistically and culturally-diverse international students by identifying the teaching practices that have high levels of international student satisfaction and student perceptions of learning.  This study is based on the belief that the most effective teaching practices are where promising teaching practices, student satisfaction, and student perceptions of learning meet.

    We found that the promising teaching practices identified as having high levels of student satisfaction also have medium/high student perception levels of learning.  We also found a positive correlation between student satisfaction and student perceptions of learning for each of the promising teaching practices.  In particular, fourteen correlations were reported at the .700 level or higher, suggesting a strong positive correlation, including assessing needs, assignments, clarifying expectations, class preparation, culturally-responsive teaching, feedback, and language proficiency.  Our hope is that faculty who engage in these teaching practices will become more engaged in campus internationalization and improve international student success on their campuses.

    We are currently engaged in a student-informed research project that will see us compare international student satisfaction for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and non-STEM international students to learn more about why STEM and non-STEM students have different views on the effectiveness of the promising teaching practices.

    For more information and to follow our project, here is the link to our research web page.

    Yours internationally,

    Clayton Smith

     

    References

    Canadian Bureau of International Education (2016).  A world of learning: Canada’s performance and potential in International education.  Ottawa: CBIE.

    Institute of International Education (2016).  Open doors 2016.  New York, NY: IIE.