Tennessee Tech’s Board of Trustees last semester approved an organizational structure that would “better support the effort to increase enrollment.”
At the recommendation of Tech President Phil Oldham, Chief Communications Officer Karen Lykins is the new vice president of enrollment and communication — which sets her salary at approximately $200,000.
Lykins has been serving as the interim vice president for enrollment, but Oldham said merging her two duties is just logical.
The previous vice president of enrollment resigned earlier this year, and Lykins has taken on the additional responsibilities.
“Based on Lykins activities over the years that have drawn those two units into closer alignment regarding the recruitment of students, it is my best judgment that the university is best served merging these units,” Oldham said.
The merging of the units removed one position from the cabinet, and Oldham described the decision as a more “effective and streamlined way of doing business.”
The Office of Communications and Marketing will also merge with the new division while the Registrar’s Office will now fall under Academic Affairs.
Some trustees questioned the workload that might be placed on Lykins as a result of the merging of her duties, but board chair Trudy Harper said Lykins can expect to get the support needed to be successful in her new role.
“[Her] success speaks for itself in the numbers we saw this year,” Harper said.
Tennessee Tech has record enrollment for first-time freshmen, largely in part because of Lykins’ office’s efforts in recruitment marketing.
According to Lykins, applications for enrollment thus far have increased by 1,170 for next academic year.
“I’m a big believer in bringing people in who have the strengths that I do not have,” she said. “We’re going to see if we need to bring people in, or whether they are already there and we just haven’t made the most of those resources.”
Lykins said approaching both roles requires many of the same skills, and merging the units makes sense.