The long journey to USU Eastern for Greg Dart
Getting 4,000 students makes Greg Dart invaluable to recruitment at USU Eastern. He was appointed the Director of Enrollment Services last summer.
Dart is from Alaska, although he graduated from Mountain View High School in Utah. In high school, he learned to develop his ideas and put them into words and action as he got involved with the school newspaper and student government.
Dart’s desire to be involved carried with him when he attended Snow College. He was selected to be an ambassador for the school and got involved with the Snowdrift, the school’s newspaper. Those two areas of involvement exposed Dart to what would later be a double major and a career.
After finishing two years at Snow College, Dart received his associate’s degree and moved back to Alaska to attend the University of Alaska in Anchorage. True to his passion since high school, Dart studied journalism and even began working for the Alaska Star, the local newspaper, as well as a local magazine. There he worked as a reporter, as well as an editor.
At this time, Dart decided to double major in public relations as well as journalism.
“After I had finished my under-grad, I had been working for the newspaper and magazine for about four years,” says Dart. “I decided it was time to make the jump from journalism to public relations.”
With these tools, Dart was able to do some great work where he was able to see some personal success. He worked with several politicians on their political campaigns, including Nancy Dahlstrom and Lisa Murkowski.
But Dart says, “We had always talked about the idea of coming back to Utah and working in higher education and working in student recruitment.” That is when he and his wife decided it was time to move again.
A position opened up at Dart’s old school – Snow College. It turned out to be just the opportunity that Dart was looking for. The original position that he started at was assistant director of admissions. A year later he was the associate director of admissions and public relations and later still he was director of admissions, scholarships, and communication. On top of that, he was teaching media writing and was the adviser for the Snowdrift – the very newspaper that he wrote for while attending the college years before.
Of his time there, Dart says, “It was fun because as a student, I was writing for the Snowdrift, and then I was advising it. As a student, I worked in the admission’s office and was an ambassador, and then I was the ambassador advisor and was the director of admissions. It was fun to see that what I did as a student could become a job.”
Given his position as director of admissions, he participated in an aggressive growth campaign in which the school set a goal to have 5,000 students in five years.
Dart says, “It was to be an increase of almost 2,500 students, almost doubling the campus. In these last years, we have seen the most significant enrollment increases ever in Snow College.”
When Dart left last August, they were well on track to meet that goal in the fall of 2013.
So what brought Dart to USU Eastern?
“This spring I began looking at making a move. The position that I was in was not going to allow me to start a doctorate degree. My schedule just wasn’t going to allow it.” Dart says, “I needed something that was going to fit that way, and also something that was just a new challenge.”
After making the decision to move again, he said, “I interviewed in seven different states, and had job offers in seven different states.”
One of those offers was USU Eastern in Price, Utah.
“I felt like USU Eastern was at a crossroads.” Dart says.“This institution had a lot of potential but needed a lot of help to reach it. I felt like I could be part of helping Eastern reach its potential.” Dart saw USU Eastern as an opportunity to help create something.
Since hiring Dart and his team, the school has seen an almost 700 percent increase in applicants for the fall semester 2013.
“As of this day last year, those who had been admitted for the fall of 2012 were 167. This year we have 829.”
What is Dart doing differently?
“We put together a whole new marketing and strategic enrollment plan, which lays out markets we are going to be looking at,” Dart explains. “We have opened up new markets to recruitment, including out of state and are doing things differently internationally.” If they are going to reach their goals, they must determine from where those students will come. “We have set enrollment goals not only by year, but also by region.”
When “marketing” USU Eastern to prospective students, Dart tells them, “What sets Eastern apart from any other school in the state is that students can be as involved as they want, in whatever they want. Access to involvement is unparalleled anywhere.”
Getting students to come here is just a matter of helping as many students as possible to understand that.