August 28, 2013

Admissions Official Leaves Cornell

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The admissions official who helped the University reach a record high number of undergraduate applications has left Cornell for the University of Buffalo.

Lee Melvin, who served as associate vice provost for enrollment for Cornell from September 2011, officially left the University in July. Over the course of his tenure, Melvin helped make university-wide undergraduate admissions more competitive and increase the enrollment of minority students, according to Barbara Knuth, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School. ­

“During [Melvin’s] time at Cornell, undergraduate applications continued to increase while admissions selectivity and student diversity also continued to increase, maintaining the positive trajectories that had been established over the prior years,” Knuth said.

In his last year overseeing undergraduate admission to the Class of 2017, Melvin helped the University see a 10-percent increase in undergraduate applications, according to a University press release. He also reviewed Cornell’s admissions and financial aid policies and practices so they would comply with Toward New Destinations, a University policy focused on improving diversity and inclusion on campus.

Melvin said he enjoyed working with his colleagues in admissions at Cornell, and that he hopes the University will be able to maintain momentum in reaching its enrollment goals.

“My colleagues at Cornell are outstanding professionals, and it was a pleasure working with them to accomplish our University enrollment goals,” Melvin said in a University press release. “I wish Cornell continued success in attracting and enrolling academically talented and diverse students.”

Jason Locke, who has served as director of undergraduate admissions since 2003, will act as the interim associate vice provost for enrollment until Melvin’s replacement is found. Locke said he hopes to help Cornell continue a trend of seeing a record number of applications, increasing enrollment and significant gains in diversity.

“As a member of Cornell admissions leadership team for the past decade, we’ve produced some great classes,” Locke said. “There is always pressure to improve upon the previous year’s successes.”

Locke said that, in his capacity as director of undergraduate admissions, he worked closely with Melvin to ensure they met the University’s recruitment and enrollment goal: to attract a diverse and qualified student population and provide access to students regardless of their economic circumstances. He wished Melvin well on his new position at the University of Buffalo.

“I enjoyed my interactions with [Melvin] and congratulate him on what sounds like a fantastic opportunity at [the University of Buffalo],” Locke said.

According to Knuth, with his previous experience working in admissions, Locke already understands Cornell’s more complex admissions and enrollment processes. Knuth also said that unlike most universities, where undergraduate admissions decisions are made at the university level, Cornell has a decentralized admissions approach lending a great deal of autonomy to the undergraduate colleges and schools.

“[Locke] brings a keen understanding of the complex nature of undergraduate enrollment at Cornell, and an ability to work collaboratively across the University,” Knuth said. “After little more than a month in the position, Jason is already working on improving communications and enrollment management processes.”

According to Knuth, the University currently has not initiated a search process for a permanent associate vice provost for enrollment.

Jonathan Swartz is a Sun senior writer. He can be reached at jswartz@cornellsun.com and twitter.com/jb_swartz.

Original Author: Jonathan Swartz