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Student-first strategies earn mathematics advisor recruiting award


Pictured is Dr. Annette Leitze (right), winner of this year’s GEMMY Award, with Dr. Carolyn Kapinus, Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.

Each year, graduate program advisors who receive funds to support their recruiting efforts are eligible for the Graduate School’s GEMMY Award, named for the Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM) Program. This year’s winner, like her predecessors, used a student-centered approach and some creativity to increase applications and enrollment in her program.

At Ball State University’s annual Graduate School Recognition Ceremony the Graduate School honored Dr. Annette Leitze for her recruiting efforts in graduate education. As a mathematical science graduate advisor, Leitze has been actively involved in the GEM Program, showing evidence of increased applications and enrollment, and employed innovative recruitment strategies that serve as a case study to be shared with other departments.

“Ann is a tremendous asset to Ball State,” said Online and Distance Education Marketing and Communications Director Nancy Prater. “In all of my interactions with her, it is obvious that she puts students first. Her graduate students are working teachers who are juggling many things in life. She is always thinking about what is best for them.”

Through her participation in the GEM program Leitze has continued to refine her recruiting efforts and using varied strategies to attract students from across the state. With Ball State being a leader in teacher education in the state, Leitze has maintained a strong focus on recruiting Indiana teachers who are aware of Ball State’s reputation.

But one of the most important, and often time consuming, aspects of recruiting is the continued personal contact with prospective students. Leitze said knowing her audience and their needs helps her determine the best type of communication and the kind of information they need and when they need it. Software can assist with sending out emails and managing contacts, but the message is just as critical.

In the fall, Leitze, like past GEMMY winners, will have the opportunity to share in more detail her recruiting efforts during a training session for graduate program directors and advisors.

This post was written by Ciara Johnson, a second-year graduate student at the Center for Emerging Media Design and Development and a former graduate assistant at the Graduate School. 


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Recruiting ambassadors assist students on their paths to graduate school

It can be daunting to even think about graduate school, let alone apply. Unfortunately, many students don’t consider grad school as being “right” for them, that they’re not the “type” to go to graduate school, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. People from all walks of life go to grad school, and an advanced degree might be a better fit than some people realize. This was part of the motivation behind a new initiative the Ball State University Graduate School debuted this school year—connecting current graduate to those considering graduate school. We’re calling them our Graduate School Recruiting Ambassadors.

They are all current grad students here at Ball State. In addition to their graduate schoolwork in the various colleges and programs in which they’re enrolled, the ambassadors have agreed to assist with recruitment to the colleges they currently call home. If you’re looking for information on grad school (how to apply, how to get funding or graduate assistantships, how to live as a grad student, etc.) there’s no better people to ask than the ambassadors. Our ambassadors are approachable, knowledgeable, and always willing to help. We are so excited to introduce them and invite those interested in learning more about graduate school to contact them.


Chelce Carter

Chelce Carter is a second year master’s student in the anthropology program, studying applied anthropology with a focus in domestic violence intervention and prevention. She has volunteered at two domestic violence shelters in Indiana, and plans to continue her work in the Delaware County area after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, spending time with her husband and cat daughter and caring for her pride of barn cats on a small family farm.



Spencer Coile

Spencer is a second-year master’s student in the Communication Department, with a focus on media studies and the rhetoric surrounding HIV Disclosure. He received his bachelor’s from Bowling Green State University from the great land of Bowling Green, Ohio. He currently teaches COMM 210, the Fundamentals of Public Communication, and also serves as a coach for the Ball State Speech Team. His research interests include television and film studies and queer media, particularly when those two coincide.



Morgan Gross

Morgan Gross is a third-year student in the rhetoric and composition Ph.D. program and the graduate assistant director of the writing program. This semester, Morgan will be teaching ENG 213: Intro to Digital Literacies. She holds a bachelor’s in English from Southwestern University and a master’s in rhetoric and composition from Texas State University-San Marcos. She recently submitted for publication collaborative writing center research that examined the potential benefits of the “Habits of Mind” for tutoring practice and student learning. Besides writing center theory, practice and administration, Morgan’s research interests include composition pedagogy, critical theory and language diversity. 



George Hickman

George Hickman is in the final year of his master’s program at Ball State in creative writing. At Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Penn., he studied philosophy and classics and was the president of his school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance. He also founded the first gender neutral housing on campus and worked with Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition to create anti-bullying legislation for LGBTQ students in the state of Pennsylvania. By teaching English 103 and 104 at Ball State, he aims to keep up the same advocacy for diversity by centering his courses around themes of family, gender and sexuality. As a creative writer, George has been published in “Fire & Ice,” “The Copperfield Review,” and “Louisville Review.”  His current thesis explores the intersection between gender identity and place identity by juxtaposing characters who have moved away from their gender assigned at birth and characters who have moved away from their birthplace.



Hilary Janysek

Flutist and educator Hilary Janysek has been featured as a soloist with the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, the Texas State University Orchestra and as the Victoria Bach Festival Young Artist. She frequently performs with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra as second flutist and assists with outreach programs. An enthusiastic educator, she has experience teaching all levels of students, from classroom settings to private lessons. Hilary is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Arts degree in flute performance at Ball State University, and is a graduate assistant in music history, where she teaches music appreciation. She also holds a Master of Music degree from Ball State University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Texas State University.



Chelly Neuenschwander

Since high school, Chelly has pursued counseling, and she is currently a first year Ph.D. student in Ball State’s counseling psychology program. She strongly values human relationships and lives by the phrase, “People need other people.”  She constantly works toward strengthening her relationships with others, and she enjoys teaching others how to have healthier relationships in life, at work and in classroom settings.  She earned her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Ball State, and she was a double major at Anderson University in psychology and business administration for her bachelor’s. Chelly plans to run her own private practice after finishing her Ph.D., and she plans to transition to full-time university teaching when she is 50 years old.



Preston Radtke

Preston Radtke is a first-year student in the Center for Emerging Media Design and Development. Preston completed his undergraduate career at Ball State in spring of 2016. When he’s done with school Preston wants to work as a writer, or as an adaptive technology specialist.



Jes Wade

Jes Wade is a second year graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in public administration. She attended Ball State for her undergraduate degree in telecommunications with minors in leadership, communications, and sociology. Jes founded the Cardinal Kitchen Food Pantry for Ball State students in 2014. She currently serves as the unit director. She has been an active member of the Ball State Women’s Rugby Club for the last five years and currently plays scrum half.



Robert Young

Robert Young was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind. He is a second year master’s student in English with a specialization in creative writing at Ball State, where he also completed his undergraduate degree. He was the lead poetry editor for the spring 2015 issue of “The Broken Plate,” Ball State’s undergraduate literary magazine. When he’s not teaching first-year writing courses or studying writing as a student, Robert enjoys writing poetry, fiction and hybrid works in between. His work has been published in “Noble/Gas Qtrly,” “Easy Street” and “Exceptions Journal,” and is forthcoming in “Midwestern Gothic.” Currently, he is working on a manuscript of hybrid work that combines different styles and genres that he enjoys.



With ambassadors in a range of programs, from creative writing and music performance to counseling and anthropology, they are ready to help. If you have any questions at all for any one of them—about graduate school in general, about their specific programs or if you just want to chat—they’ll have an answer. They’re working hard to inform students and professionals about graduate school. Whether you’re currently enrolled in a grad program, making the transition to a grad program, or only thinking about grad school as a possible path, don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.


This post was written by Ambassador Robert Young.

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Educational psychology professor leads department toward success in recruiting

Jerrell Cassady, the 2015-2016 Excellence in Recruiting Award winner, shares recruiting insights during a fall training session.

Jerrell Cassady, the 2015-2016 Excellence in Recruiting Award winner, shares recruiting insights during a fall training session.

It’s important for us at the Graduate School to recognize excellence, but even more important is to share knowledge and support within the university community. So each year, when we give a program director in the Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM) program the Excellence in Recruiting Award, or GEMMY Award as we call it, we also ask the winner to share insights in a training for other leaders in the GEM program.

The 2015-2016 winner Jerrell Cassady, who oversees two masters and one Ph.D. program in the Department of Educational Psychology, was nominated for not only the breadth of his recruiting, but also for the innovative ways in which he used recruiting best practices.

“The most notable aspect of Jerrell’s efforts as a recruiter is that he is not just active, but proactive, in every possible avenue for attracting students to our programs,” wrote Sharon Paulson, chairperson of the Department of Educational Psychology and a professor of psychology, in her nomination of Cassady for the award.

During the training earlier this year, Cassady illustrated his proactive efforts, particularly with changing one of the master’s programs into an entirely online program. Cassady anticipated a drop in enrollment in the department’s master of arts program in educational psychology due to changes at the state level related to teacher pay scales and advanced degrees. To remain solvent, Cassady knew the program would have to make some changes to attract new students. But many of the students in this new audience were choosing other programs over Ball State.

“If you can’t beat the competition, change the game,” he said.

The answer, Cassady found, was to change the program’s delivery mode, a move that proved to be beneficial.

“We wouldn’t have survived otherwise, because we weren’t accessible,” Cassady said.

But Cassady emphasized that he doesn’t work alone. He often calls on experts from across the university, including those who work in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Division of Strategic Communications, to assist with marketing materials, messaging and data to drive decisions. He also credits his colleagues in the department, including 2016 Meritorious Service Award-winner Linda Jones, with providing care and support to students from even before they apply all the way through graduation.

Cassady shows that it’s not only about the tools within reach, but how and when those tools are applied that can make a difference in providing an experience that prospective students want to be a part of.

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Tireless efforts earn CICS director Graduate School Exemplary Recruiter Award

If you meet Steve Jones, director of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences, in line at the grocery, be careful—you might be recruited to the center’s graduate program. His spirit, hard work and abilities to cultivate relationships earned him recognition from the Graduate School as the recipient of an Exemplary Recruiter Award.

“Dr. Jones is a recruiting machine,” wrote College of Communication and Information Sciences Dean Roger M. Lavery in his letter nominating Jones for the award. “He has strong relationships with several feeder programs across campus, and he constantly recruits students in the hallways, at the pool, at his church…everywhere.”

Beyond the university and the Muncie community, Jones has made connections with feeder institutions across the states of Indiana and Michigan, making regular trips to maintain relationships with faculty at other colleges and universities and creating student pipelines to the CICS program through his efforts.

Jones’ commitment to students begins even before they apply and extends well beyond graduation. He serves as a professor, mentor, career counselor, some students’ best reference and has even officiated the wedding of a former student.

“Dr. Jones spends more time building and maintaining relationships with alumni and employers than any other person I know,” Lavery wrote.

Jones’ efforts have helped the CICS program improve the quality of its applicants and maintain a high placement rate of 95% for students, even before graduation, according to Lavery’s nominating letter.

“[Jones] devotes 10- to 12-hour weekdays in the office to accomplish the many achievements and maintain the relationships that keep CICS in the top-tier nationally of information systems graduate programs,” Lavery wrote. “I can think of no more suited for this prestigious award.”