August 20, 2013

Leader of C.U. Undergrad Admissions Resigns

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After two years as Cornell’s associate vice provost for enrollment, Lee Melvin left the University in July to serve as the vice provost for enrollment at the University at Buffalo.

As Cornell’s AVPE, Melvin led university-wide undergraduate admissions, enrollment management and financial aid programs, 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.

During his last year in charge of admissions — for the Class of 2017 — Melvin made possible a 10-percent increase in undergraduate applications and accepted the third largest and most diverse freshman class in Cornell’s history, according to a University press release.

As AVPE, Melvin said one of his primary duties was reviewing Cornell’s admissions and financial aid policies and practices to comply with Towards New Destinations, the University’s new diversity policy.

“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.”

Also under his leadership, the University implemented a number of student service improvements, including online undergraduate enrollment deposits and the electronic delivery of financial aid award notifications, Knuth said.

Soon after Melvin’s leave, the University promoted Jason Locke, director of undergraduate admissions since 2003, to serve as the interim AVPE. Locke referenced Cornell’s record number of applications, larger enrollments and significant gains in diversity in the recent years, and said that he hopes to continue the upward trend.

“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.”

According to Locke, as director of undergraduate admissions, he worked closely with Melvin to ensure they met the University recruitment and enrollment goals of attracting a diverse and qualified student population and providing access to students regardless of economic circumstances.

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

According to Knuth, Locke has substantial experience related to the role of AVPE. In the academic year 2010-2011, when the AVPE position was vacant, Locke led the undergraduate enrollment process.

“Having worked closely with Vice Provost Knuth when this position was last vacant, I have a good sense of the expectations for this position and look forward to the challenges,” 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 AVPE.

Original Author: Jonathan Swartz