Render report jumpstarts change on campus for Generation Z efforts

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After a $15,000 contract, DePauw University is revamping its admissions program, starting with its tour guides.

According to Robert “Bobby” Andrews, vice president for enrollment management, the Render consulting team has been given a $15,000 contract for their services this year, which includes last semester and the rest of this semester. After a campus visit, Render compiled a document rating their visit and suggesting improvements for DePauw’s  admissions program.

DePauw reached out to Render partially because of Andrews’ familiarity with the company. Andrews worked with Render previously outside of his time at DePauw. When he took on the role of vice president for enrollment management during July 2017, he wanted to get an accurate third party assessment of what DePauw was doing and chose to reach out to Render.

During their initial visit in Oct. 2017, two members of the team (consultants Jeff Kallay, team leader, and Brittany Joyce, senior consultant) visited DePauw for two days to provide a visit audit, or evaluation, of the current student experience during a campus visit. This audit included a 20 page document and photo album that rated the daily visit and made suggestions for improvements.

When asked, Andrews was unwilling to provide a hard copy of the report. “I would prefer not to,” Andrews said due to it naming particular people on DePauw’s campus. “It could make some people feel bad who shouldn’t feel bad about what they were doing.” However, Andrews did provide access to the photo album and the comments within it.

The document included various improvements and changes needed around campus and to the campus visit. The photo album highlighted many of the written changes in addition to acknowledging other elements through a visual aid.

For example, Andrews said the Render team noticed the inconsistency in the tours, as to where students went and what they were told. As a solution, the team is working with admissions to create consistent training for tour guides and ambassadors.

Another element the team noted was the Posse Foundation scarf in the Emison building. In the photo report, Render highlighted that it was a missed opportunity. In their report, they stated, “Missed Cue: In the quest for diversity, we didn't hear about DePauw's Posse group or diversity efforts.”

Render also recommended that DePauw should publicize its Greek life. Currently, Greek life during campus tours is hit and miss. “While we don’t want to actively promote it [Greek life], it is a big part of our campus. You can’t drive through campus without driving by a sorority or fraternity house,” Andrews said.

First-year student Muhammad Saram Waraich, who recently joined Phi Gamma Delta, (FIJI), believes addressing Greek life is necessary. He said, “It [Greek life] should be addressed to prospective students because a large part of the social scene revolves around it here.”

The admissions team plans to look more strategically at their recruiting process. In doing so, they hope to provide more, equal opportunities for all students to get the same type of experience before and during their visit to DePauw, according to Andrews. This includes changes to the tour route, including visits to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and to Peeler as well.

There will also be a shift from information focused presentations, with facts and figures, to a more value based presentation. “This will include talking about DePauw’s goals as an institution, campus climate, and elements like the Gold Commitment,” Andrews said.  

By the end of the year, admissions hopes to have these new elements in place. Through the summer, they plan on working out the kinks with the new training guides, that way it is functional by the start of the 2018-19 school year and moving forward.