VP candidate Dawn Medley discusses student life at forum


Dawn Medley speaks to Central Michigan University students, faculty and staff at the second candidate forum for CMU's first vice president of student recruitment and retention on Feb. 3 in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room.

Vice president candidate Dawn Medley addressed student life and recruitment during a forum in the ongoing search for Central Michigan University's first vice president of student recruitment and retention.

She spoke to faculty, staff and students Feb. 3 in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room, during the second of four candidate forums.

“This position for me is a return or a culmination of the work that I have been doing for well over 20 years," Medley said. 

Medley is the associate vice president for enrollment management and chief enrollment officer at Wayne State University in Detroit. Before WSU, Medley served in enrollment and retention positions at other institutions, including St. Andrews University, Warren Wilson College, Missouri Valley College, Forest Institute and the University of Arkansas.

Medley used her previous experience at other institutions to bring up effective recruitment strategies.

"I think that going out and getting more freshman is going to be a very difficult task for the entire state of Michigan," Medley said. "We have 15 public institutions and a number of private institutions... and we cannot all continue to fish in the same pond, there are just not enough fish in that pond."

She discussed the importance of exploring the best recruitment strategies for specific groups of people, based on programs and demographics.

"I really think the best strategy is a free puppy because I would go to college where I got a free puppy," Medley said. "I say that facetiously but I also think it's important. (What is) the best strategy for what type of people you're trying to bring?"

There is no one way to recruit multiple demographics of students, Medley said, and recruitment cannot be looked at that way. 

She said in order to boost enrollment and retention, the university needs to focus on student life and the fact CMU is a destination institution. 

"When you are a destination institution that also means you have a thriving student life here," Medley said. "You have sports teams here, you have things to keep students busy, engaged and active, not only through the week but also on the weekends."

Medley mentioned the importance of student life, not only on campus but also in the community. She stressed the importance of the services within the community being able to properly serve the students.

"If you have Muslim female students who are coming to school here, is there a place they can get their hair done where it is purely an all-female salon?" Medley asked. "Are you having those discussions with the members of your town community and how you can strengthen those relationships? You don't want to be the destination campus everyone leaves on the weekend."

The last two candidate forums feature Anne Monroe on Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Jennifer DeHaemers on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The forums will take place at 1:30 p.m. on their respective day in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room. Lee Furbeck, CMU's executive director of admissions, spoke at the first forum on Jan. 28.

The forums can be streamed on the senior officer searches website. Any feedback related to the job can be submitted at the forums by completing the candidate evaluation form or emailing any comments to president@cmich.edu.