Northeast Ohio’s biggest secret: New management position to improve enrollment

This fall semester, enrollment fell for the third consecutive year. In an attempt to bolster enrollment numbers, Youngstown State University hired Gary Swegan to the new position of associative vice president for enrollment management.
For the past 25 years, Swegan has worked for Bowling Green State University’s office of admissions and division of enrollment management as a chief admissions officer and as an assistant vice president for enrollment management.
On November 18, Swegan will begin his new management job at YSU.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity, and look forward to assisting the YSU community in achieving a sustainable enrollment plan,” Swegan said. “I was attracted to the position because it was a newly created role … and I will have the opportunity to shape this role from the ground level.”
Both YSU President Randy Dunn and Jack Fahey, vice president of student affairs, said the creation of an enrollment management position was imperative.
“We have got to have one person to just kind of get in, muddle through and then coordinate in a fashion that is going to allow us to grow some bigger classes,” Dunn said. “The thing about having Gary Swegan here in that chief enrollment officer capacity is he has the ability as one point of contact to work all of the levers that go into making successful enrollment.”
In the past, Fahey conducted enrollment management work on a part-time basis.  He said that a tough enrollment climate throughout the state created a need to hire a full-time
enrollment manager.
“If we are going to improve our position and improve our performance, the place to start is with some strong leadership, a proven winner in that field, somebody who has professional experience to do that,” Fahey said.
Though Swegan said he plans to improve YSU’s enrollment strategy, he did not disclose details regarding these plans.
“I think it is premature … to offer specific plans before I am on the job, and prior to having the opportunity to widely collaborate with a variety of faculty and staff across campus,” Swegan said. “My goals will simply be to accomplish the goals that are set for me by President Dunn and Vice President Fahey.”
Fahey and Dunn indicated that YSU is in the midst of launching a new marketing campaign that will aim to attract students from the northeastern and western parts of Ohio.
Dunn said Swegan has the experience to help manage this marketing strategy and improve enrollment numbers.
“The best predictor of future behavior is what has been done in the past,” Dunn said. “I’m convinced that [Swegan] has the expertise, the background knowledge, the experiences, the national networking to know some things that will work for us. … I think he has the tools to be successful.”
Fahey added that improving enrollment is everyone’s job, not just Swegan’s.
“Enrollment management isn’t something that one person does, it’s all of the faculty, all of the staff, all of the students being ambassadors to the rest of the world helping everyone else understand … the biggest secret in northeast Ohio: Youngstown State is an incredible place to get an education,” he said.