I began working with John Dysart in 1998 when Saint Xavier University was in the very early stages of a set of strategic recruitment initiatives. While the University’s executive leadership team appreciated the vital role of ‘data-informed’ decision-making, the institution lacked the operational experience and know-how needed to translate our lofty recruitment goals into reality.
John Dysart’s guidance and mentoring turned our dreams of success into reality. He showed us how to filter and shape data into useful information through weekly and biweekly statistical summaries. He taught us how to track progress towards goals at every stage of the recruitment cycle, and to foster a shared sense of accountability within all units responsible for student recruitment and enrollment. Through multiple years of tutoring and assistance, our management team gradually developed a ‘culture of evidence’ that endures and continues to grow to this day.
It is said that ‘without a vision the people perish;’ our experiences with John Dysart taught us that ‘without data the vision is lost.’ The proof of our new adage is found in the results. Our first set of strategic recruitment goals were met and surpassed three years ahead of schedule. Between 1998 and 2004, freshmen applications tripled; overall undergraduate applications more than doubled; the size of entering freshmen classes grew by 50%, and overall undergraduate enrollment increased 31%. Over the same time period, our resident population doubled and the average ACT composite of new freshmen grew two full points. All of this was accomplished while keeping our overall tuition discount rate well below the national average for institutions like Saint Xavier University. None of this would have been possible without the assistance and help from John Dysart.