CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is beefing up its student outreach in two cities that have long been key sources of new Salukis: St. Louis and Chicago.
In the next few months, the university will transfer a new, full-time recruiter to each city, and advertise for an additional full-time Chicago-based recruiter, to be hired soon, according to SIU Associate Chancellor for Enrollment Management Jennifer DeHaemers.
“About 15 years ago, the number of out-of state institutions with a presence in Illinois, and specifically in Chicago, grew exponentially, and the competition for students did as well,” DeHaemers said. “This will help us be more competitive for markets that have been important to SIU through our history.”
Currently, both cities receive frequent visits from Carbondale-based recruiting staff, though SIUC has no permanent St. Louis recruiters and just one Chicago-based recruiter, who focuses on community college transfers, DeHaemers explained.
“By having people on the ground year-round, we will be able to provide better service to students, their families and high school counselors,” DeHaemers said. “Recruitment is all about relationship-building, and these staff will be in a better position to do that.”
Recruiters are often the university’s first point of personal contact with prospective students.
Increased presence in St. Louis and Chicago will allow recruiters to participate in more events at local high schools and community colleges, build relationships with community-based organizations, and engage SIU alumni interested in aiding in recruitment, DeHaemers said.
Meanwhile, the university will continue to have Carbondale-based staff who visit Southern and central Illinois, as well as portions of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, DeHaemers said, stressing that SIUC is “not taking our eye off the Southern Illinois population.”
Overall, the university will advertise to fill at least six recruiter positions this year, plus two leadership roles: associate director and assistant director of recruiting.
Many of the openings are the result of staff movement to other departments on campus, DeHaemers said.
“To have a full staff will be very beneficial for us in our next recruiting cycle, allowing us to provide greater service to students and families in their college selection process,” DeHaemers said.
DeHaemers, who was hired to lead SIUC’s enrollment efforts last April, is also looking at ways to make the university’s recruiter positions more attractive to potential candidates, she said.