We are honored to feature Don Hunt, Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, at University of California, Davis. UC Davis continues to be a leader in Higher Education, being 1st in the nation for agriculture and veterinary medicine, 2nd nationally among Affordable Elite Colleges, and ranked as the 5th best public University in the United States by the Wall Street Journal in 2018. They continue to prize academic excellence for their students and commitment to our environment, locally and globally.
Enrollment Management leads the selection process for Undergraduate Admissions to meet campus and UC systemwide enrollment goals and initiatives. They provide timely analysis and advice to campus leaders about emergent issues that may affect recruitment, enrollment, retention, various student services and other critical campus operational areas. Don is responsible for Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and the Office of the University Registrar, as well as Enrollment Management Analytics, and provides high level administrative oversight for outreach and recruitment programs.
Another Source has partnered with the University of California system on several hundred critical hires from the executive level to front line staff. Most recently with UC Davis, we have been honored to assist in the recruitments for several Chief of Staff positions, an Associate Dean, and a Chief Administrative Officer for several departments, including Enrollment Management.
How has this transition been for you and your team?
While the transition started out a bit crazy, as with all new environments, now that we have adjusted to a new way of doing things, it appears that everything is moving forward well. It’s difficult to really gage with so much activity that is driven by needing to pivot to adjust to the current health and safety perspective. I would say that overall, the team is doing the best that they can.
Assuming you and your team are working remotely, how is that new dynamic?
With the power of video chatting, I think that has allowed for a better dynamic overall. People can still see and engage with each other almost as if in person. You can see actual expressions, see people smiling, and even see when someone may not be doing as well. All of which offer nonverbal clues to helping each other manage in these circumstances.
How do you see your organization changing in light of this pandemic?
Some adjustments will come out of working remotely. To what extent, it is hard to say. UC Davis is a big proponent of work life balance and with telecommuting, the productivity levels potentially could go up. There will likely also be a significant change in campus operations overall. Housing accommodations, delivery of courses, student life, etc. With expectations of a second, worse wave of the virus predicted in the winter, we have to be prepared to offer a college experience in a variety of ways. This will force us to create new and exciting ways to meet students where they would like us to meet them.
What is your process in determining essential positions at your organization?
At the moment there is a multi-tier approval process. The hiring manager must access, then approval by the next level up, then approval by the division head, followed by approval of a university oversight committee.
When do you expect to start hiring again at a normal pace?
That is too difficult to say due to the unknown of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Given that we do not have a way of gauging how much the pandemic will cost, or what additional cost we may incur if a second wave hits in winter, it is impossible to predict. We are lucky that we are not at a full stop as with other institutions.
What advice would you give to applicants?
For hiring at Davis, I’d say, we are a great institution with the ability to weather this challenge. It might be tough at times, but we will be stronger on the other side.
What critical lessons have you learned about yourself and about your team right now?
We are a very resilient team. We pivoted quickly, had everyone operational in a manner of days, and we were able to keep the operations moving the entire time. With the added stress of incorporating their family life, work life, and personal health, I would say that is a great accomplishment.
What are the positive outcomes you’ve learned so far?
We can handle a lot when we handle it together.