UD picks finalists for admissions director
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 02:04
The top three candidates for the university’s new admissions director were announced last week, chosen from a pool of 70 applicants.
Peggy Bottorff, the university’s Associate Provost, said the search committee was established in November, and that the final decision will be made July 1. The committee reports to Bottorff, who will then confer with university Provost Tom Apple and others to make a final decision.
Bottorff said the position is highly sought after and an important role to the campus community.
“Many people are extremely interested in this position,” Bottorff said. “The director of admissions is one of the most public faces of the university.”
In September, the current director of admissions, Lou Hirsh, announced he would retire after this spring semester. He has worked at the university for 25 years, and began as director of admissions in 2003.
Hirsh said he has enjoyed his time at the university, but long hours and strenuous time pressures led him to the decision to step down.
“I love working at Delaware, but I have to admit working 60 hour weeks [is tiring],” Hirsh said.
The final candidates to take over his position are Jose Aviles, director of admissions at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, Leon Braswell, director of admissions and financial aid at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Dale Bittinger, director of admissions and orientation at University of Maryland Baltimore County. They will all interview this month on campus.
Aviles has worked at Millersville since 2008 and has worked at other universities in similar positions. Braswell has held his position at Columbia since 2007. Both could not be reached for comment.
Bittinger, who declined to comment, has worked at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2005.
The search and higher education search firm Spelman & Johnson sent the university’s main contact to campus the first weekend of December, who spoke about what qualifications they were looking for. Bottorff said nine applicants were chosen for phone interviews, which were conducted over spring break, and then the top three were selected.
Ardis, the deputy dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, worked with Spelman & Johnson during the process of reviewing applications. Ardis stated in an email message that she is interested in a candidate who can work with under tight time constraints and continue to set goals to strengthen enrollment.
“Most importantly, the successful candidate for this position will be prepared to develop and implement a game plan for achieving the university’s long-term undergraduate enrollment management goals, as articulated in the Path to Prominence, while managing the intense day-to-day pressures facing an admissions office that processes over 26,000 applications per year,” Ardis said.
Bottorff is interested in someone who will bring creativity and make conscientious decisions about which applications to admit.
“We are looking for someone who will continue to help us bring in a diverse […], academically, [and] wonderfully qualified class,” she said. “We want someone who has vision and innovative ideas around recruitment and yield. We want to cast a very broad net and when we admit people, we want them to want to come.”
Student employees in the admissions office, deans from different colleges, those who work with Student Financial Services and several student groups will also give recommendations regarding who to hire.
Bottorff said the candidate eventually selected will have some of the same qualities as the retiring director.
“Hirsh is well-respected, and the school is looking for someone who maintains those very high ethical standards and understands relationships of personal contact,” Bottorff said.
Hirsh will meet the candidates and help the new director become acclimated to his position.
“There is very little in their graduate programs that give them credentials in counseling,” he said. “Very few get trained specifically in how to advise student about college, how to write letters of recommendation, what kinds of things admissions committees need to know about a student, how to work with parents on financial aid issues. Those are things that perhaps I could be helpful with.”