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New VP Position Ensures ESU Focus on Enrollment Growth

Shelly Gehrke

A familiar face will fill a new position at Emporia State University that is tasked with enrollment growth. Dr. Shelly Gehrke is being promoted to vice president for enrollment management and student success effective today (Jan. 10, 2022) and will report directly to Interim President Ken Hush.

“This reorganization will accelerate our alignment with the Kansas Board of Regents’ goal for enrollment growth statewide,” Hush explained. “We also are well aware of Emporia State’s role in economic benefits for the City of Emporia and Lyon County. This elevated focus should benefit both Emporia State University and the community.”

The Regents’ goal for access is to “support a growth platform for university and college enrollments that includes strategies to close enrollment gaps for traditionally underserved populations.” The goal includes directives for data-based initiatives that work closely with the National Institute for Student Success as well as studying past enrollment initiatives on campus and review future growth strategies.

According to Gehrke, enrollment growth is a campus-wide effort and about more than recruiting new students. Sustained growth and enrollment management is about the convergence of a comprehensive approach focused on recruitment, student success and retention.

“Emporia State has played a pivotal role in the region for well over 150 years. I am honored and excited to work with the university and community as we fortify ESU’s mission to change lives for the common good,” said Gehrke. “I look forward to working with Interim President Hush and the entire Hornet community to implement a comprehensive and data-driven enrollment plan that will both support student recruitment and success and further advance Emporia State’s vision and strategic plan.”

In her new leadership role, Gehrke will retain supervision of the Office of Admissions, Student Advising Center, Student Accessibility and Support Services and the Academic Center for Excellence and Success. Two other departments heavily involved in enrollment and retention will also move under the new role — Registration and Financial Aid.

“I strongly believe in the value and power of higher education. My entire professional career has been an exciting journey alongside students as they explore, grow and develop. Providing the guidance, support and resources for students to be successful and reach their goals is very rewarding,” said Gehrke.