By Kaitlin Carman
What is your educational and professional background?
I have been in this field for 35 years. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master's degree in counseling psychology. I started at Arizona State University, went to Seattle University, and then got a job at Boston University. And all of those jobs were in financial aid. Then I was ready to move up into a new experience and got a job at Quinsigamond Community College as the director of financial aid. But I've been in this enrollment management space since the beginning of my career. I went to Dean College from there as the associate vice president of enrollment management, and now here. I have lots of experience to draw on, which has been really useful with different types of schools and different types of students.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love doing puzzles. I like knitting. I like baking. Those are probably my top three
Picks. … I love solving problems - I've always been a problem solver.
What are some of the goals you would like to accomplish here at Framingham State?
Number one is to increase enrollment. Framingham State University is one of the most wonderful universities that clearly not enough people know about. I don't know how that happened, but we're going to fix that. I haven't even been here for four months yet and every single person I have come across has been amazing. Phenomenal people and the university as a whole is a phenomenal place. I feel like it's this hidden secret that not enough people know about. We need to tell our story and we need to get it out more. I'm focusing on developing a more strategic communication plan. We have a new website that's being worked on right now in the marketing department and [it] is anticipated to launch by the end of April. Everybody knows there was a new logo and some new brand messaging that was created, and now the website is the next piece of that project. I was at the Board of Trustees meeting last night [Sept. 20] and there was this senior I was so impressed with. I would bet we have dozens of people like that if not hundreds. Those are the kinds of stories that we need to get out there so people understand the amazing opportunities that are available here, regardless of where you come from. You don't have to come from a wealthy family. You can be a first-generation student. You don't have to have it all figured out in high school or shortly after high school or as a transfer student. We are here to lift you up and to give you all of those resources and experiences to help you figure it out so that by the time you leave, you're going to have an amazing professional and personal life ahead of you. So that's my focus - telling that story, getting the word out there, getting more students to apply, and more importantly, of the students that are accepted, to come and choose Framingham.
What are some of the challenges prospective students might face when it comes to accessing higher education?
While the high school population is declining a little bit, the bigger issue is fewer are choosing to go to college from high school and maybe ever. There are a number of reasons for that. Some of it is the media that's talking in very negative ways about “Is a college degree worth it?” The media often finds a real outlier, you know, the person who borrowed $150,000 to go to college. That's not happening at Framingham. It's like the media is painting a picture that's not quite accurate. There certainly are good alternatives for some students to take a different path [like] going into trades. Those are fantastic jobs, but they're not for everybody. You might decide not to go to college right away and then get to a point where it’s like, “I can get further if I had that college experience.” At least make the effort to learn what's available, apply for financial aid, find out what your cost actually is, and then work with us where we can help you understand how you can make it.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
Ask questions. Come visit and feel it. It's like you can walk onto a campus and you can meet a few people and say, “This doesn't feel like a fit to me.” OK. Then start. There are lots of options out there. Others will come to campus and say, “I could totally see myself here,” but they don't know that just by looking at a website. If you don't know what questions to ask, then we're going to try to help give you the information we think you need and that might spur questions. … Keep engaging with us. We want you to be happy and we want you to graduate.