Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM) Plan

UVic’s inaugural Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM) Plan launched in 2019. It aligns student enrolment goals with UVic’s Strategic Framework and other key institutional initiatives, and provides a guide to our recruitment and retention efforts for the next five to 10 years.

The Enrolment Management Working Group and four sub-committees work to futher the goals, strategies and tactics outlined in the SEM Plan. Members of SEM Plan committees.

Background and consultations

In 2017/18, the University of Victoria completed a strategic enrolment management (SEM) planning process in order to set enrolment goals for the university that will guide student recruitment, retention and success initiatives in alignment with the Strategic Framework over the next 5-10 years. The SEM process aligns student recruitment goals with student retention and success initiatives in order to optimize resources while maintaining overall student enrolment at about the current level.

What is SEM?

  • Strategic enrolment management (SEM) is an organizational framework and activities that enables the fulfillment of an institutional vision/mission/strategic plan and students’ educational goals.
  • SEM is an approach to setting enrolment goals for the university and systematically examining and aligning student recruitment, retention and success initiatives.
  • SEM planning is collaborative and engages academic and support areas of the university in discussions and work that mutually benefits student success and supports the objectives of the strategic framework.
  • SEM planning is data-driven and informed by best practices, using information to support claims or ideas about how the institution should maintain and improve student success and enrolment objectives.
  • We worked with AACRAO consulting, industry leaders in this work, and they have helped develop SEM plans at institutions across North America.

Why are we undertaking this work now?

  • The university is currently in a stable and relatively strong enrolment position.
  • The purpose of the SEM process is to create sustainable enrolment outcomes aligned with the university’s vision, mission and new strategic plan.
  • SEM plan allows the university to thoughtfully and strategically implement key objectives of the strategic plan related to student enrolment, retention, and success.

What did the SEM planning process look like at UVic

  • SEM planning was informed by and reflected the significant internal and external consultation conducted during the strategic planning process.
  • The SEM process included opportunities for faculty, administrators, staff, and students to provide input and feedback.
  • The SEM process built on the university’s existing approaches to enrolment management.
  • The SEM process was university-wide, and complementary to the work undertaken by faculties and units to recruit and retain students. 
  • The SEM process utilized relevant information from alumni, industry and government partners in the development of SEM strategies and tactics.

What will the SEM implementation process look like at UVic?

  • Four implementation committees will be formed to guide SEM Plan implementation, under the leadership of a newly-constituted Enrolment Management Working Group (EMWG).
  • To ensure continuity of the project, we expect that a few SEM planning committee members may continue their involvement through the implementation phase.
  • All committee members will be invited to participate in a half day training workshop on the SEM process to date and their role in implementation.
  • Committees will meet for the first time in May 2019.  Their initial task will be to prioritize Year 1 and Year 2 tactics for implementation.
  • The four SEM implementation committees include:
    • Undergraduate Student Retention and Success Implementation Committee
    • Undergraduate Student Recruitment and Conversion Implementation Committee
    • Graduate Student Recruitment, Retention and Success Implementation Committee
    • Indigenous Student Recruitment, Retention and Success Implementation Committee
  • The new Enrolment Management Working Group will meet 3-4 times per year to review progress reports from each committee.

SEM plan

In developing our first SEM plan, our planning group worked with AACRAO consulting, who are leaders in North America in helping institutions develop and implement SEM plans. With their guidance, we created four SEM planning committees and engaged academic leaders, faculty, staff and students from across campus. The committees leading this work were: Undergraduate Student Recruitment and Conversion Committee (SRC); Undergraduate Student Retention and Success Committee (SRS); Graduate Recruitment and Retention Committee (GRR); and Data Analysis and Benchmarking Committee. Committee oversight and leadership was provided by the Enrolment Management Working Group (EMWG), chaired by the Provost.

Over the course of the year-long planning phase, individuals and groups across campus provided valuable advice and input into the development of the SEM Plan. For example, Executive Council, President’s Advisory Council, Deans’ Council, associate deans, department chairs/directors, academic and support units, Student Affairs staff, the University Secretary’s office, UVic’s Indigenous Academic Advisory Committee, University Communications and Marketing, and the campus community at large contributed their feedback through meetings and several open campus consultation events. Full details of the consultation process can be found in the SEM Plan.