Lorna Miles Whalen, an admissions, financial aid and market research consultant who has helped colleges and universities plan admissions strategies for 16 years, has been appointed dean of admissions and enrollment.
Whalen will be responsible for en-rollment of the undergraduate student body at the Homewood campus, consisting of about 2,600 students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and about 1,100 in the Whiting School of Engineering. Reporting to Whalen will be the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment Research, and the registrar.
Whalen has been a consultant on strategic planning and on marketing research and communications since 1979, first for political strategist and pollster Pat Caddell. Since 1983, she has worked almost exclusively with clients in higher education. She has been a partner or principal in several consulting firms and, most recently, account executive since 1997 with Stamats Communications Inc. Her clients there included Princeton Theological Seminary, Southern Methodist University and the University of Maine at Orono.
Earlier consulting assignments included almost two years in the early 1990s working with the Provost's Office at Columbia University to merge the undergraduate enrollment operations of Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
"Lorna comes to Johns Hopkins with a broad background in higher education and with a new perspective and fresh approach to enrollment planning," said Larry G. Benedict, dean of Homewood student affairs, to whom Whalen will report. "She's a very creative and articulate person with strong leadership skills and a lot of experience in helping people and organizations change the way they do business."
"My mandate is to bring to Johns Hopkins the experience I have gained over the last 16 years in integrated marketing, planning and implementation in higher education," Whalen said. "That's my strong suit, working with people, working with teams and coming up with strategies to help Hopkins move forward to achieve the full measure of reward and recognition it deserves."
"I have enormous respect for Hopkins," she said. "It's a wonderful school with great name recognition and a wonderful tradition. The people are fantastic. There's a fabulous staff [in admissions and enrollment] with so much expertise in so many areas."
Whalen will begin work at Hopkins on Sept. 7, succeeding Robert J. Massa, now vice president for enrollment management and college relations at Dickinson College. She is a 1972 graduate of Wellesley College and has done graduate work in education at Harvard University.
Undergraduate admissions is a very different business these days, and its practitioners employ the tactics of an MBA as much as the techniques of a counselor.
Colleges and universities research their "markets" using everything from psychographics to focus groups. They use the data to plot sophisticated recruitment strategy. They design complex computer models to forecast yield.
But business plans and high-tech tools and market share notwithstanding, said Whalen, it's important for every enrollment officer to keep looking at prospective students with the sympathetic eye of that traditional admissions counselor.
"We're talking about kids and families and a really important time in people's lives," said Whalen. College choice is "a big decision, for families one of their major consumer decisions, for students a matter not only of finances but of self-esteem and their future. It's making good matches [between colleges and applicants] that helps students grow into good alumni -- people who go on to do the best that they can do with their lives."