Melissa Stone starts as UM-Dearborn's new vice provost of enrollment management

9/16/2019

Stone's high energy and years of experience in enrollment management are helping her hit the ground running.

You don’t need a resume to see that Melissa Stone gets things done. It’s apparent just by spending a little time with her.
 
At her Delaware home before her position of vice provost of enrollment management officially began, Stone happily takes a UM-Dearborn on-boarding phone call — on a day when she’s already balancing a realtor house listing visit, organizing her home for a several-state move, instructing the kids to pack the LEGOs in the basement, keeping the family’s two big dogs happy, and going shopping with her mother-in-law who’s visiting from out of state.
 
Even reading that makes us want to refill our coffee.
 
But Stone, who started on campus this week, thrives at this level. Her energy is high. And her attention to detail and calm demeanor when it comes to accomplishing what’s needed next makes everything appear under control. She’s looking forward to sharing that energy when she works with the campus to develop a strategic enrollment management plan.
 
Stone’s investment in higher education is more than how she is, it’s who she is.
 
“I’ve worked with students and families over 21 years around the core issue of affordability and access. I was a need-based first-generation college student who did a work-study in my school’s student account’s office. I know the difference a college education makes and the support needed to earn one,” Stone says. “The populations served by UM-Dearborn attracted me to campus. I’m looking forward to learning how I can share some of my experiences when collaborating across campus.” She has an M.B.A. from Niagara University and an Enrollment Management Certification from Noel-Levitz.
 
The former executive director of Enrollment Operations & Student Financial Services at the University of Delaware — where she worked for nearly 14 years — used her keep-moving-forward drive to create change at the largest public university in Delaware. “Melissa’s expertise, energy, and ‘can-do’ approach, along with her deep commitment to students, makes her a perfect addition to the Provost Office team,” says Provost Catherine Davy. “We all look forward to welcoming her to campus and supporting her as she undertakes the development of a strategic enrollment management plan.”
 
Trying to ease things for students, Stone reimagined how the service offices were structured a decade ago to reduce the runaround students would receive when dealing with their student finances.
 
“As college administrators, we have a responsibility to bridge departmental silos to streamline services so that students can focus on their education; and not traveling from office to office in search of the right information,” she says. “It’s essential to look at the big picture of the student experience and align those with institutional goals. It’s important to be a change agent on behalf of students to support and guide them from application through graduation.”

Stone says she’s aware of upcoming challenges that may affect campus in the future. There’s the projected college enrollment decline on the horizon due to a smaller high school population coupled with competition among Michigan’s 15 public universities.

Stone has many ideas on the actions to take to achieve enrollment goals. However, at its core, enrollment management is an institutionwide effort and she looks forward to learning more about the campus culture and fact gathering, so she can begin collaborating across campus to put the necessary strategies in place to achieve strategic objectives. One thing is certain — whatever strategies used, Stone says, will be based on data to support any initiative before launching and metrics will be in place to track success. 

“The best approach is having a data-backed strategy for enrollment and student success that has both a combination of tactical shorter-term goals and longer-term strategic goals. There are many things I want to explore, but I need to evaluate what will work well here first,” she says.

“I look forward to working with my team and the larger campus community on enrollment management and enhancing the student experience. This is something I want us all to think about. We are all here for our students and we all play a role in their success.”

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