Enrollment Development is Not a Spectator Sport
Jan 13th, 2004 @ 8:40 am | Author:
Do you like puzzles?
A: Lake Calutaz has 100,000 fish, while Lake Plains has 1,000 fish. Each lake has 100 men fishing on it. Their fishing gear ranges from Level 1 (bamboo poles and string) to Level 10, with professional guides and all the gizmos money can buy. Which Level 2 fisherman will get more fish, the one at Lake Calutaz or the one at Lake Plains?
B: There is an outlet on Lake Plains that allows fish to swim to lakes they might like better. One of the more attractive lakes is Calutaz. Which lake will have the hungriest fishermen?
C: In a contest at Lake Plains, who will get more fish " the fisherman with Level 7 gear or the one at Level 2?
D: It costs double to go up one level in gear, but the probability of catching a fish also doubles with each step up the gear chart. Suppose one fisherman moves from Level 2 to Level 3 and another moves from Level 7 to Level 8. Which one will have a more impressive story to tell at the end of the fishing day?
A: Each Lake Calutaz fisherman is likely to do better because he has an average of 1,000 fish in the lake, while one at Lake Plains has only 10. At Lake Calutaz, fish are jumping into the boats. The fish are symbolic for students in different states, and the fishermen are colleges nationwide. Many states, including California, Utah, and Arizona, have to turn their growing populations away from the limited number of places in their public colleges.
B: Plains fishermen will be hungrier. Already at a disadvantage statistically, they lose ground not only to competitors on their own lake but also to other lakes.
C: The Level 7 fisherman has huge advantages due to his sophisticated fishing gear. Any novice fisherman is sure to catch fish with high-level gear, while low-level gear will catch fish only if the fisherman is both expert and lucky.
D: The new Level 8 fisherman. For example, if the probability of a fish at Level 2 is 5 percent and 20 percent at Level 7, the first fisherman only goes to 10 percent after the upgrade, while the second goes to 40 percent.
For decades, enrollment at Valley City State University has hovered around 1,000 students. This year, it is on the lower side.
We live in Lake Plains. The youth population is shrinking. So is the state budget. Student expectations for scholarships have skyrocketed. Competition from other institutions is intense, and several of them have Level 9 gear.
The old recruiting strategies are not enough. We execute new ones every year. We have innovative scholarships, new majors, new marketing methods, new target markets " you name it. But there are no guarantees in Lake Plains with Level 2 gear.
We know what else we need to do, but nothing we can afford is a quick fix. We need you to herd fish in our direction and help us afford higher level gear. I am asking for your help. You can have great confidence in your university. But none of us can be sure of the lake.