Academic journal article College and University

Interview with Dr. David H. Kalsbeek

Academic journal article College and University

Interview with Dr. David H. Kalsbeek

Article excerpt

David H. Kalsbeek currently is vice president for enrollment management at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. In that capacity he leads the marketing and enrollment development strategies for the nation's largest and fastest-growing Catholic university, enrolling 23,000 students in eight colleges and six campuses throughout the greater Chicago region. His broad responsibilities at DePaul encompass admissions and financial aid, student information systems, university marketing and communications, marketing and enrollment research, public and media relations, TRIO programs, career center and employer relations, and university internship programs.

Known as one of the pioneering thinkers in enrollment management and marketing in higher education, the innovative approaches and models he has developed have been showcased as "best practices" nationally and internationally by numerous professional associations including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (case), the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (ACB), and the American Marketing Association.

Dr. Kalsbeek is a frequent speaker at conferences in the U.S. and abroad. He has been a consultant to dozens of colleges, universities, consortia and associations on issues related to strategic enrollment management and marketing, and has authored chapters in six different texts on higher education administration.

Chronologically, you are at mid-career. Please describe your professional journey, beginning with your graduate work and culminating with your current vice presidency position at DePaul University.

I entered higher education administration right after my undergraduate studies because in the most general sense I was. just naturally drawn to life in an academic setting. As a philosophy major, I had become intrigued with what happens to young adults as a result of the college experience-especially in how people develop in levels of moral reasoning and critical thinking-and I was interested in how colleges could be more intentional about shaping that experience and thereby improving student learning and development.

I began as a researcher inquiring about students, their experiences, their backgrounds, attitudes, opinions, enrollment patterns, and developmental changes during college. As I was completing my masters program in Higher Education Administration at The Ohio State University, I published results of some research I had completed there on the impact of residential communities on student developmental outcomes. That research brought me in touch with Dr. Charles Schroeder, who was then the chief student affairs officer at Mercer University, and was engaged in similar research. Charles, more than any colleague I've ever known, was a leader with a real passion for data. He was driven to use information, data analysis and research in improving the quality of campus life, student programs, student learning outcomes, enrollment profiles, and the entire institutional experience.

As a result of our common interests and inclinations, I joined his team-first at Mercer and then at Saint Louis University-to develop an institutional research function focused solely on students: student development, student programs, student characteristics and experiences, enrollment patterns, and so on. In the early 19805, he and I built a comprehensive and innovative research program recognized nationally as a best practice model of student-centered assessment and analytic inquiry in a student affairs organization.

As my research agenda grew and my own interests broadened, I began doing market research, admissions validity studies, geo-demographic analysis, retention research, and financial aid leverage analysis-all the kinds of things now considered fundamental parts of enrollment management, but which in the mid-1980s were far from common. We were doing this innovative analytic work before there was much discussion at all about enrollment management in higher education. …

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