Director of Admissions Kimberly Harvey started a new role as Interim Vice President for Enrollment Services after former Vice President for Enrollment Services Meaghan Arena stepped down on Friday Feb. 1.
Arena left the college after five years to serve as Vice President for Enrollment and Student Experience at Nazareth College. The position appealed to Arena partly because of the opportunity to expand further from enrollment to student affairs.
“I love enrollment, but I’ve been doing it for a long time, and this gives me an opportunity to take on some other challenges that I haven’t worked with yet,” Arena said in an interview with The Lamron from December. “It’s interesting to have the whole life-cycle of the student from when they’re a prospective student, to their experience as a student.”
The Office of Enrollment Services primarily manages the path students follow before they enter the college. Specifically, the Vice President supervises admissions, financial aid and programs that market the college to prospective students.
Before her time as admissions director, Harvey also served as the director of new student programs and worked in residential life for five years. These experiences in different areas of the college’s enrollment services provide a basis for her time in the interim positions as vice president, Harvey said.
“I think one of the major themes in my portfolio is my experience working with students, especially those who are in transition,” Harvey said. “I have a keen understanding of the Geneseo student experience of what it’s like to live here on campus or what it takes to be a student leader as well as the quality of academics that students have in the classroom.” Enrollment management has become a consistent puzzle for administrators nationally. This past semester, Geneseo experienced a retention rate that did not meet the administration’s expectations.
“This year we met our first-year goals, but our enrollment struggles have been more with retention,” Arena said. “It is a struggle. We’ve noticed the changing demographics and how there’s fewer high school students [to attract to Geneseo], but that’s true for Nazareth and others too … I think Geneseo’s in a good place though.”
Arena is the second member of the president’s cabinet to leave the college in the past academic year, after Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark Scott departed directly after his appointment to the position. Arena was also the second-longest serving member of the president’s cabinet before she departed, after Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio.
President Denise Battles wrote in an all-college email that the administration intends to fill the position permanently by the fall. The college will begin a national search to find Arena’s permanent replacement.
“To be quite honest, I’m in day three right now so I don’t have a response to [whether I would want to stay permanently],” Harvey said. “I’m here and I’m committed to serving the college in this capacity and we’ll see what’s in the best interest of the college as we move forward.”