In the next 10 years, the number of college-bound students will decline in the Midwest while surrounding regions will show little or no decline, Kyle said.
Currently, St. Olaf's dependence on Midwest students is heavy (nearly half of its students come from Minnesota alone), and the college must extend its influence to attract more students across the United States.
"We must respond to today's challenges with more active and collaborative recruitment strategies," Kyle said. "I envision a recruiting culture where alumni and faculty become more active stakeholders and our alumni community becomes more connected to the college's priorities through the recruitment and admissions processes."
In extending St. Olaf's admissions process, a focus on attracting more applications from families with the ability to afford a St. Olaf education will be important Kyle said. Other recruitment strategies include ways to capitalize upon the college's strengths, such as its music programs and religious heritage.
"Recruiting highly able students is as competitive today as it has ever been, and our situation is no different," Kyle said. "When you add the reality of a shrinking pool of students who have traditionally considered St. Olaf College to an already competitive marketplace, the future holds some exceptional challenges."
Asked specifically what he plans to do as the new Vice President of Admissions, Kyle stated the following goals: He plans to set a direction and establish a vision of the future to achieve enrollment stability and effectively develop new markets. Second, he plans to align people and to communicate a new direction, including an emphasis on recruitment, marketing and collaboration. Third, he plans to provide leadership by achieving results, acting with integrity and demonstrating concern for the health and well-being of St. Olaf College. And finally, he plans to be an effective, collaborative member of President Thomforde's leadership team.
"I look forward to working with Michael," Thomforde said. "He has the innovation and qualities we need in admissions."