In an effort to manage a rising influx of visitors and events, Hillsdale College is restructuring several administrative offices to better facilitate communication and operations between departments.
“We’re trying to build a structure that will support growth and keep things operating in a logical way,” said Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé, noting that administrators began looking into restructuring about three years ago.
Admissions visitors have increased by almost 100 percent over the past five years and the college has seen a 30 – 40 percent increase in applications, said Vice President for Business Development Doug Banbury. The college also hosts an increasing number of donors and events.
To accommodate the growth, the various components of the reorganization “align departments that have similar nature and function together,” Banbury said.
One of these changes involves a merging of part of the marketing department with Institutional Advancement. Bill Gray, until now the director of marketing, is becoming Associate Vice President of National Donor Outreach, moving with a team of three others — Megan Bowser, Gina Gallutia, and Jessie Rurka — whom he’s worked with in the marketing department.
Noting that the promotion is “well-deserved for Bill Gray,” Banbury said the college hopes to see a stronger collaboration between the type of fundraising Gray has done in marketing and that of Institutional Advancement.
Gray said the duties of the new role include expanding the college’s list of active donors, inviting people to take online courses or subscribe to Imprimis, and collaborating with Institutional Advancement to make sure they communicate with donors effectively. His team is different than other Institutional Advancement teams, he said, because it markets to thousands of people at a time rather than one-on-one.
“We’re most excited to bring new strategies and tactics to bear on the college’s overall direct response fundraising program, including optimization and continuous testing, automation for emails and letters, and data mining/modeling to understand our donors and supporters better,” Gray said in an email.
Also related to marketing, the college’s online learning initiative is under the new leadership of Kyle Murnen, who recently complete graduate school at Hillsdale and was an assistant to College President Larry Arnn. The initiative had decentralized ownership across different departments previously, Banbury said.
Murnen said in an email that he is working on a long-term strategy, and his immediate plans include course production, improving user experiences, and marketing the courses to as many people as possible.
The college is also grouping business units and profit centers — including the Dow Hotel and Conference Center, the bookstore, online retail merchandising, and the Rockwell Lake Lodge — to report to Banbury.
These business enterprises all contribute to the the college’s bottom line, Péwé said.
“They’re a helpful tool for connecting parents and prospective students with the college, and they also can be a generator of revenue,” Péwé said. “Consolidating everything to the business initiatives area is going to tie it all together and allow better growth.”
Event-planning functions will report to Péwé in order to better coordinate with facilities, maintenance, AV, dining, and security operations. Communicating, planning, and executing together “will make for better practices in general,” Péwé said.
Other changes include shifting Information Technology Services reporting to Banbury, so that the department can be more aware of the software chosen for campus functions and other decisions, Péwé said. The financial aid department will report to Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Patrick Flannery to bring the college’s financial services together. And all parts of the college’s educational outreach, including Hillsdale Academy and the Barney Charter School Initiative, will report to the provost’s office.
Banbury said for now, the college is focused on realignment and will evaluate hiring additional employees as it goes. The college plans to have this initial reorganization fully in place by the end of the fiscal year in the summer.
“Ultimately we’re trying to put in place an organizational structure that can support where the college is and where it wants to go,” Péwé said. “That’s probably an endless process.”