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Our History

As with most institutions, the history of enrollment management at Miami University can be found by first looking at the origins and evolution of its admission office and practices.

Early records regarding Miami’s admission practices refer to it as a function handled by the Vice President of the University. Beginning in 1939, institutional documents indicate the Vice President also acted as the Chairman of Admission. As the duties of the Vice President grew, the university sought the assistance of faculty members to oversee the admissions operation, and in both 1946 and 1947, a faculty member took a leave of absence to provide guidance to this growing function. Recognizing the increasing scope and responsibilities of admission, in May of 1947, nearly 140 years after its founding, Miami named its first Director of Admission, Harry Gerlach, a Miami alumnus twice over.

An aerial view of the campus green.

Admission to Miami from 1947 through 1958 was defined as “open admission” meaning anyone who applied was admitted until the class was filled. There was a surplus of “girl” applicants and since women were required to live on campus, as soon as the housing quota for the women’s halls was filled, applications for women closed. Throughout this time, the deadline was getting earlier and earlier as housing spaces filled quickly for women. For a woman to secure a place in the incoming freshman class, she had to apply as early as the end of her junior year in high school. Also at this time, applications from “boys” were scarce and their deadline to apply was extended to March 1 of their senior year in high school. Men could live on campus or in town, so their numbers were not restricted by an on-campus housing requirement.

In 1956, Miami’s 16th President, John D. Millett, considering a new admission policy, suggested the University adopt a new “selective admission policy.” In 1958, Miami’s Board of Trustees adopted a policy giving preference in housing to students showing “intellectual promise.” This preference to those with the highest academic potential was a significant shift in previous practice which admitted everyone on a first-come, first-served basis – including those on warning (students in the lower half of their high school graduating class). It was soon further determined that because Miami was a residential college, it could not accept more applicants than housing facilities allowed – 6,200 total students. This was the origin of limiting enrollment based on the space available in the residence halls, and thus, Miami’s practice of admitting students entirely on the basis of their high school academic record.

Along with Student Financial Assistance, the Office of Admission reported to the Vice President for Student Affairs until July 2002. In that year, the reporting structure for both offices moved to Academic Affairs, with each office reporting directly to the Provost.

Following a downward trend in enrollment and period of national economic uncertainty and faced with an increasingly competitive landscape of higher education, in May 2011, the Offices of Admission and Student Financial Assistance, along with the Office of the Registrar, began reporting to the newly created position of Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. The institution’s first AVP for Enrollment Management, Michael S. Kabbaz, reported directly to the Provost with a dotted line to the President. With this intentional organizational shift, both structurally and in terms of its approach to enhance and further develop the University’s strategic efforts to recruit and enroll the brightest and best students, Miami began its multi-year implementation of an integrated enrollment management model.

In 2014, the University further solidified its commitment to strategic enrollment management with the creation of the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Success (EMSS). A leader in and advocate for data-driven decision-making and student-centered services, the division was charged with creating and ensuring a culture of engaged University-wide partnerships to facilitate the design, implementation, and support of strategic and research-based enrollment and student success practices.

Today, the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success serves as the University’s chief enrollment and retention officer, is a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet and Council of Academic Deans, and reports directly to the President. The Vice President provides leadership to the Offices of Admission, Bursar, Career Services, Enrollment Communication, Enrollment Operations and One Stop Services, Enrollment Research and Analysis, University Registrar, Student Financial Assistance, and the Student Success Center. EMSS collaborates across the University to lead and support the full student lifecycle from recruitment through graduation to lifelong success.

A sharp-angle photograph of Nellie Craig Walker Hall.

Division of Enrollment Management and Student Success

Nellie Craig Walker Hall
301 S. Campus Ave.
Oxford, Ohio 45056