On April 20 and 22, University of Michigan-Dearborn students had the unique opportunity to meet the candidates for the university’s Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life position.
The forums were a half hour long and allowed students to voice any questions, comments, or concerns they had to the candidates.
There were two candidates. First, was Craig Aimar, Senior Director of Advising Services and Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Saginaw Valley University.
According to Aimar’s resume, he has over 13 years of administrative experience in enrollment management. He was responsible for the 5 percent growth in freshmen retention between 2009-2014 at Saginaw Valley. Aimar also emphasized the importance of student life and student organizations on campus.
Aimar said he thinks diversity is an important part of the education students get in college. He said when he was looking for a college after high school he visited one small college he felt wasn’t diverse enough.
“I went there and everybody looked like me,” said Aimar. “It’s okay to not look alike. That adds to your experiences. I believe that firmly…I think diverse backgrounds — whether it’s ethnic, whether it’s socio-economic — you bring all that together it makes you a more well-rounded person.”
The second candidate was Kevin Kucera, Associate Vice President/Chief Enrollment Officer of Eastern Michigan University. Kucera has been at this position for four years, and before that he was Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management for the University of Toledo.
Kucera emphasized his idea of using “data” in order to increase enrollment. Another point he mentioned was closing the socioeconomic gap on campus.
“A great system is when students are eligible for Pell Grants. The student who has the Pell Grant has to meet certain criteria and then the university matches the difference of tuition that the grant does not cover,” Kucera said.
After the forums, all students who attended were emailed an evaluation survey. Students were asked to rate the candidates on overall performance, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as provide additional comments. Students had lots to say about both candidates.
Student Drashti Patel said she thought both candidates were equally qualified.
“I wish that I could combine them both. One is more business oriented and the other is more driven about student organizations,” Patel said.
“I think that Craig could be the spark plug to student organizations that Vice Chancellor Henderson was for us,” said student Mike Ramey. “I would like to see student life expand here and I think he would be someone who could make that happen.”
“UM-Dearborn has some systematic issues that need to be taken care of and I think that Kevin would be able to handle those best,” said a student who asked to be identified as Ali A. “He seems like he has a plan that could be really beneficial to the university.”
The candidates also had interviews with Chancellor Daniel Little, Student Government, and group interviews with staff and faculty members.
They will be replacing Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson who stepped down in January and will be retiring from the position in May.