Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


A Comparison of Academic Administrators and Enrollment Managers' Perceptions of Undergraduate Enrollment Management Functions at a Subset of Four-Year Public Institutions

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Michael Coomes (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Karen Sirum (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Maureen Wilson (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

William Knight (Committee Member)


The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of various enrollment management functions at a subset of four-year public institutions. Specifically, this study compared perceptions of academic administrators with enrollment managers as they related to the availability, need, and effectiveness of certain enrollment management functions. In addition, perceptions between these two groups were compared on the real versus ideal enrollment management structure for their own campus. Chi-square analyses and descriptive statistics were conducted as appropriate on responses to a 58 question online survey. Findings indicated the most significant differences on questions of availability of enrollment management functions, followed by effectiveness, then need. In addition, significant differences were found in responses to activities within the marketing, financial aid, admissions, and orientation functional areas. Finally, rank ordering showed similarities between enrollment managers and academic administrators. In terms of percentages, as well as converted scores, both groups identified the enrollment management division as the most desirable enrollment management structure with the staff coordinator model as the least desirable.

Implications for practice were provided, including the recommendation that enrollment managers and academic administrators routinely share information and collaborate more to be truly effective. In order to be most effective, enrollment managers and academic administrators must engage in partnerships well before recruiting begins to align the marketing and recruitment of students best suited to an institution's strengths and programs so those students can be retained and graduate. Some functional areas measured greater similarities in perceptions of enrollment managers and academic administrators, such as academic advising, career services, and institutional research. It was suggested that practices in those areas could provide insight into more effective practices for functional areas with the greater differences.

Suggestions for future research included comparing self-reported with institutional data for each campus on the availability, need, and effectiveness of various enrollment management functions, conducting focus groups or individual interviews with both academic administrators and enrollment managers to follow up on responses that yielded the greatest differences, comparing enrollment management models in place on a given campus with the ability of that campus to achieve certain metrics such as retention and graduation rates, and conducting within-campus comparisons for academic administrators and enrollment managers.