Mike Maxey on the Vice President for Enrollment Management’s (VPEM) Responsibility to an Institution’s President

photo of mike maxey

Former Roanoke College president, Mike Maxey, recently visited the MARKETview office to share his perspective on enrollment and leadership, having served as the Vice President for Admissions Services for 17 years before becoming the college’s eleventh president in 2007. 

Read his thoughts regarding the pressure May 1 puts on admissions and financial aid teams.

Maxey, who served as VPEM before becoming president outlined four key responsibilities to the president for someone serving in that role.

They need to “take admissions off the worry list of the president.” 

“There are certainly things that only a president can do,” Maxey said. “A VPEM’s job is to handle the enrollment area so well that a president’s time is devoted to the things that only the president can do.”

Provide predictable results.

In addition to taking admissions off the president’s worry list, a VPEM should also provide predictable results. When Maxey was a VPEM, his goal was to land the class “within +/- 3% of the enrollment target.” Maxey admitted this is harder to do in today’s environment.

“That’s why we call on MARKETview to help us,” he said.

He reiterated the need for a VPEM to help presidents know what to expect in a class, especially in a market with extreme volatility. Presidents need accurate projections of enrollment so that they can make informed financial decisions for the future of the institution. 

Be the resident expert on what’s happening in the market.

Maxey pointed out that presidents often have insulated ideas of what is happening in the market. A VPEM needs to help them see beyond what they think they know.

“This is why MARKETview is so compelling. You can tell us what the other schools are experiencing.”

Former Roanoke College President Mike Maxey

Educate leadership about admissions and financial aid.

A successful VPEM should know more about the nuances of admissions and financial aid discounting than anyone else on campus. It’s incumbent on them to own their role as subject matter experts and educate presidents, the board, and the cabinet about things those groups might not understand or have incorrect assumptions about.

“They know less than you. You need to supplement them with rich, wonderful data. VPEMs see trends that no one else does,” he said.

As a VPEM-turned-president, Maxey has a deep understanding of the challenges someone in this role faces and how they must work with a school’s leadership, particularly as the marketplace becomes more volatile. He noted the delicate balance for VPEMs—schools tend to remain conservative in their decision making, yet they’re being called on to be innovative. 

“MARKETview supports us in that way,” said Maxey. 

Mike Maxey served as Roanoke College’s president for 15 years, retiring in 2022. The MARKETview team is most grateful he was willing to spend time with our team.   
Image courtesy of Roanoke College.