–submitted by Carol Toussaint; photo by Valerie Renk
As Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Andre Phillips has a key role in determining who will or will not become a student. He described both the opportunities and obstacles to his Rotary audience Wednesday emphasizing that he works with a team in the Division of Enrollment Management in the Office of the Provost. Several from this team were guests at the program. Phillips came to Madison in 2011 after extensive experience in similar positions at the University of Chicago.
Phillips emphasized that he works with a “Wisconsin First” policy as directed by the Board of Regents of the UW System. “Everything starts with Wisconsin” is the way to think about the job. Phillips said that it is a big job which starts by being in touch with high schools in the state. Assuring the audience that the team reads everything submitted with the application, he went through some of the requirements. Acknowledging that high schools offer a variety of opportunities, he noted that they look to see what a student has done with what was offered. The importance of organizing thoughts in response to questions asked on the application reinforced the value of writing with clarity.
“We want to know why the applicant wants the UW-Madison but we also need to learn why some of our top students aren’t applying here” was the opening for presenting information for what Phillips referred to as “Wisconsin Prime”. Saying “we need to recruit more of our own” he described work that is being done starting with high school sophomores through visits to individual schools and bringing these students to the UW. Outreach is also focused on first generation multi-cultural students.
Rotarians raised questions as to issues of affordability. Phillips said he was not free to discuss some new plans we’d hear about fairly soon. In fact, we were sworn to secrecy but without learning any details!
As the program concluded a number of Rotarians were heard commenting on whether or not they would be accepted under the high standards and competition of today. Andre Phillips would probably respond that each of us should know that a lot is expected but each applicant is fairly judged.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.