The same characteristics that attracted Jennifer (Roach) Haughie ’94-’99M to Ship as an undergraduate drew her back home to work on campus last fall. Now, as associate vice president of enrollment and dean of admissions, she extols Ship’s virtues to prospective students in hopes that they will come aboard for an equally positive experience.
“I love my alma mater. With the skill set I had from working in enrollment management, this position was a perfect fit for me.”
What hooked Haughie to attend Ship as a student was its affordability, great size, variety of campus activities, and caring faculty—all attributes that the university continues to offer students, she said. “We have a teaching faculty—highly qualified faculty—who genuinely care about students and their success,” she said. “Shippensburg still has a very family, homey feel.”
When Haughie began her journey at Ship, she toyed with careers in broadcast journalism and education. She enrolled as an undecided student, eventually choosing speech communication. “It fit me perfectly. I absolutely loved my major.”
It was a suggestion by Haughie’s older sister that led to her love for admissions. At the time, her sister was working in the admissions office at another college and suggested Haughie look into a similar opportunity at Ship. Haughie took on an internship in the Admissions Office and began leading campus tours.
“That’s where I fell in love with college admissions. For me, I would always stay in college if I could. Working in higher ed keeps me in college.”
After graduating, she worked in admissions at Central Penn Business College. The interaction with students both on the road and in house was so appealing to her that she decided to return to Ship to earn her master’s in college student personnel. While in the program, she became a graduate assistant for career development, then began her climb in the Admissions Office, first in a part-time role then working up to associate dean.
In 2005, Haughie left Ship to pursue new opportunities at Hagerstown Community College, then moved onto the Community College of Baltimore County, where she was dean of enrollment management. She was happy in her role and settled with her family, not expecting to change jobs again. But a new position at Ship piqued her interest.
“I had the opportunity to come home. My alma mater has always been very important to me, and I could use my skill set to meet the goals of this institution. It’s very fulfilling to me.”
Now settled back at Ship, she’s focused on getting the university to standout against the competition. “My goal is to meet the needs of the institution and educate others about the wonderful opportunities Ship has to offer.”
Two of the biggest challenges Haughie faces in higher education are student demographics and student debt. Because there are fewer high school graduates, especially in Pennsylvania, there is added competition among schools. Haughie said one key is recruiting and retaining students with scholarships that help to make higher education more affordable.
“It’s about having the resources to be able to recruit quality students who can be successful at Ship.”
The Admissions Office also collaborates with other departments on campus to enhance recruitment processes and procedures. For example, she hopes to grow and expand the Alumni Admissions Representative Program, which connects Ship alumni with prospective students. Alumni volunteers provide the personal attention and encouragement that can make the difference between a student choosing Ship over another institution.
“We are trying to personalize the Ship experience,” she said. “The alumni are so important to this process.”
Haughie said she will continue to assess the work of Enrollment Management, which includes admissions, financial aid, and the registrar’s offices. She said they need to consider what makes the biggest impact on students during the decision- making process and make certain that the student entry experience goes smoothly.
“I’m excited to find creative ways to engage students, reach out, and tell our story.”