On October 1, Damon Wade began his new job as New College’s Vice President for Enrollment Management. Wade will take over for Interim Dean of Enrollment Management Sonia Wu and will be the first permanent vice president for enrollment management since Joy Hamm’s resignation in Aug. 2019. Wade began working part-time remotely on Sept. 1, but shifted to full-time on campus on Oct. 1. Wade heard about New College through the search firm hired to find candidates for the position. As vice president for enrollment management, Wade will work to increase enrollment and improve retention rates.
“NCF is one of the best liberal arts and sciences institutions in the U.S., and the mission of preparing ‘intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement’ resonated with my personal and professional ideals,” Wade wrote in an email interview. “I have worked at large and smaller institutions and I enjoy working in an environment where I can engage with colleagues and students more personally.”
Wade left his previous position as Associate Dean for Student Services and Enrollment Management at the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies, a position he held since 2017, to come to New College. During his three years there, Wade managed a 124 percent growth in enrollment, an achievement highlighted by President Donal O’Shea in his announcement email. Wade also brings extensive experience with online learning, as he stated in a New College News article, “98 percent of UVA students were remote over the last three years.”
“At the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the degree programs’ primary audience was adult learners whose classes are primarily online,” Wade said. “While the target audience is different from NCF, my approach to attracting and enrolling students will be very similar.”
In admissions, Wade will ensure the proper enrollment systems and tactics are in place to “drive prospective student engagement and subsequent enrollment.” Wade will develop compelling marketing to properly convey the New College experience and exemplify the school’s educational value. In turn, Wade aims to attract more in-and-out-of-state first time college students. Wade will also build relationships with schools outside of the U.S. and deepen relationships with principals and guidance counselors of high schools in the Sarasota-Bradenton area to bring in more students.
“I will be working with the admissions team to incorporate best practices into our communications strategy,” Wade explained. “A responsive communications system allows us to build trust and rapport with interested students. Quickly meeting their request for information is vital to converting a prospective student into the applicant and subsequent enrollee.”
Wade traded Virginia snow for a Florida winter to come to Sarasota and has begun settling in. Wade has even started a “growing list of restaurants that I have to visit,” he said. Since coming on campus, Wade has enjoyed the atmosphere and looks forward to having more students on campus in the future. Through improvements in the enrollment process, Wade will ideally oversee a much needed growth in enrollment.