VP of Enrollment and Student Development finalist Adrian Haugabrook visits FSU

Adrian Haugabrook is the current Vice President for Student Success and Engagement at Wheelock College. (Photo by Brad Leuchte)

Faculty, staff and students asked Vice President of Enrollment and Student Development finalist Adrian Haugabrook questions during an open forum Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Haugabrook is currently the Vice President for Student Success and Engagement at Wheelock College.

The forum is “a great opportunity for me to not only see Framingham State University again, but to feel the University,” said Haugabrook, adding that he lives “right down the street.”

Haugabrook said FSU is a very strong institution with a location to grow and interact with the MetroWest community.

According to his resume, which is available on myFramingham along with those of the other Vice President of Enrollment and Student Development finalists, he served as the Assistant Dean of Student Services and Multicultural Affairs at Framingham State from 1994-99 and as a visiting lecturer for undergraduate and graduate sociology and multicultural education courses.

While he was at FSU, Haugabrook started his doctorate at UMass Boston and “really began to funnel my research into looking at success factors – what are the best ways that you can predict success, particularly for students of color, in American higher education?”

Haugabrook went on to work with high schools and focused on improving the trajectories for all students in relation to college.

At Wheelock, he helped increase retention rates, which then increased overall enrollment and graduation rates.

Librarian Millie Gonzalez asked how Haugabrook would use his experience in helping students transition to college at FSU.

Haugabrook said FSU has done “tremendous work” by reaching out to the surrounding community and creating the College Planning Center. He added he has worked with Brockton High School to modify the advising system for seventh and eighth graders going into high school.

“We found if you’re not doing [advising] earlier, you’re not allowing them time to plan” for college, said Haugabrook. For FSU, he would suggest looking into using organizations as a resource to increase the “pipeline” and reach out to local businesses as well as non-profits.

Residence Director Jay Hurtubise asked how Haugabrook would plan on supporting residence life in helping students.

Diversity and inclusion, Title IX and the overall quality of life for students are important factors to focus on in terms of supporting students, according to Haugabrook.

He said the re-emergence of student activism on college campuses calls for changes to curriculum and social issues. These concerns are carried with students not just during the protest, but in classrooms and residence halls, and should have room for adjustment, he added.

At Wheelock College, Haugabrook said they focused on Title IX not just in terms of female sports but sexual assault as well. “We do a ton of education on campus,” he said, adding it is a “pervasive issue” on campuses today.

Haugabrook said today, college campuses are an “environment where students grow up and into” themselves, and the demand for technology and accessible resources for students is essential.

He added, “We need to ask how to meet the quality of life for our students.”

Claire Ostrander, director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD), asked, “How would you define an engaged student, and how would you describe the value of engagement to our incoming and current students?”

Haugabrook said an engaged student is someone “who is academically and socially integrated,” meaning they are able to use their sense of agency to know what their strengths are and how to use resources to develop academic skills.

For social integration, he said, “I met with student leaders this morning, and one of them said, ‘Things are a lot better now than they were four years ago … but,’ and it’s thinking about those ‘buts’. What are elements of our identity and how do we think of ourselves as members of our communities?

“My question to students is, ‘What do you want to do in life?’ Not ‘What do you want to be?’” he added.

Will Reddy, program coordinator for SILD, said, “There is a growing push towards civic engagement and civic learning across campus,” and asked what Haugabrook has been involved with to help push a sense of civic engagement with students.

Haugabrook said he is “a big proponent of service learning,” which he defined as “a tool that can be done in a myriad of ways,” such as classrooms, SILD, on and off campus and international service learning experiences.

“It’s not to suggest that community service does not have purpose, but this has a purpose to it that is more than just ‘OK, we are going to go down and we are going to serve the food line,’ – although that’s a worthy service that needs to be provided – but what is the context for understanding why we’re doing that.”

Haugabrook added understanding the social, political and economic dynamics can help determine what caused the need, what the population and outcomes are.

“That’s not the only way that it can be done,” said Haugabrook, “but I think that part of what we do at [Wheelock] is that we build a sense of service learning, civic engagement, and because of our mission, we build it earlier on in the admissions process and it becomes part of the fit equation for the students as they come to the institution.”

Dean of STEM Margaret Carroll said retention in the sciences has been a concern, with “freshmen having a 50 percent chance of surviving their first year” with a science major. Carroll asked how he would integrate student services with academics in order to address retention rates.

Using an “all-encompassing approach,” Haugabrook would help students know what resources are available to students, such as peer tutors, and he would work closely with faculty.

Dean of Arts and Humanities Marc Cote said FSU recently created four new colleges and wanted to know how Haugabrook would intend to help support deans and faculty members in assisting students from an academic perspective.

Haugabrook said he hopes to work with deans and faculty members to help improve student enrollment. “Enrollment, by my definition, is the recruitment, retention and graduation of students, both undergraduate and graduate,” he said, adding enrollment should be an institutional priority and he would plan on looking into how to best support the newness of the college system.

David Merwin, geography chair, asked Haugabrook what he would do to increase retention to ensure students can graduate within four years, especially in the case of transfer students. In response, Haugabrook said at his current institution, Wheelock College, he and administrators looked at the different pathways students take to graduate.

“We built into our advising model program maps to ensure students are getting accurate credit evaluations and see the pathway they can take,” said Haugabrook. He added advising is important to help students, and at Wheelock College students have professional advisors for the first two years of college and then move to advisors within their majors.

In response to senior Tyler DeMoura, Haugabrook said if he were the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Development in his first year he would conduct a thorough assessment to better set goals and understand the University as a whole.

“The important piece for me is that we’ve identified who the constituencies are – faculty, staff, students, is there an external constituency that we need to be considerate of – so really thinking about the framework.

“For me, it’s really about that process of building that plan,” he added.

Because Haugabrook’s current position is at a private university, Scott Greenberg, associate vice president of academic affairs and dean of continuing education, asked him what are the differences or challenges undergraduate students face at private versus public universities.

Having worked in both, Haugabrook said the “setting may be different, but in many regards, students are typically the same.

“The obvious issue is affordability,” said Haugabrook, adding a big part of higher education, private and public, is structuring the institution around student experience.

Haugabrook is the first vice president of enrollment and student development finalist to participate in an open forum at FSU. Lorretta Holloway, interim vice president of enrollment and student development, will participate in an open forum Wednesday, Feb. 17 in the McCarthy Center Forum from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and Kara C. Kolomitz, vice president of student affairs at Regis College, will participate in an open forum Monday, Feb. 29 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Forum as well.

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