For some decades following the emergence of Enrollment Management there have been aspiring young professionals who have asked AACRAO leaders where to find an approved program to prepare one for such a field. These voices stirred responsible and talented enrollment personalities to ponder how a customized program could be offered.
The topic went on to be discussed in professional AACRAO circles for years, but met with the realities of logistics, cost, ownership and management. Therefore, the AACRAO annual conference and SEM sessions continued to be the response for best practices, but fell short of satisfying the credentialing question.
A SEM credential was first considered by AACRAO in the mid 1990’s when a fact finding effort was proposed by Joe F. Head to determine the interest and shape of what might be involved. AACRAO President, Stan Henderson, authorized a two year study in 1997 and charged a task force (Chaired by Joe Head, retired AVP Enrollment Services at Kennesaw State University) to look into the possibilities. Meetings were held in various regions of the United States to gain feedback. The committee’s report concluded that sufficient interest was apparent, but great difficulty prevented such a program to become operational regarding delivery, access, cost, sponsorship, instruction, content and staffing support. As a result the topic was rested until circumstances were more favorable.
As the internet became more prominent in subsequent years, the state of Georgia launched a registered enrollment professional program for its membership entitled, "Georgia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers Institute for Strategic Enrollment Management" or GISEM. This was a field and conference based experience sponsored by GACRAO concluding with a registered enrollment professional certificate. The program was initiated in 2005 and attracted the attention of several other neighboring states that also attempted to launch a similar program.
As a result, AACRAO became re-interested and Executive Director Jerry Sullivan asked Joe Head and Bob Bontrager to work together to establish the Strategic Enrollment Management - Endorsement Program (SEM EP). The plan was modeled similarly to the Georgia program, but would be structured as a field based and online curriculum delivery for in-service professionals and would involve webinars, field visits and a capstone. Upon successful completion the candidate would be listed and recognized on the SEM EP web page registry as an endorsed enrollment professional.