Oklahoma State University names Chen vice president of enrollment management
Friday, June 17, 2022
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Karen Chen was named vice president of enrollment during the OSU/A&M Board of Regents’ board meeting Friday.
As Vice President of Enrollment Management at Oklahoma State University Chen will oversee the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid and First Year Success.
“Karen has been an integral part of enrollment growth. She completely understands the operational side of enrollment as well as the recruitment side and the science of enrollment management, which is admissions as well as financial aid,” said Senior Vice President for Executive Affairs Kyle Wray. “She's got the relationships across the campus with the colleges and other departments. It takes an entire university to have a solid enrollment management plan. So the partnerships she's created across the university are integral to our success.”
Chen helped shape enrollment efforts that led to some of the largest incoming freshmen classes at OSU. For her, fostering positive and effective working partnerships across the OSU campus is critical to the success of progressive and innovative strategic initiatives and outcomes.
“There are always opportunities to help more students achieve a college education. We have an opportunity to serve and help even more students from underserved populations. There is need in our state and everywhere else,” Chen said. “ We are trying to help students not only in our own backyard, but also across the U.S. and on the international landscape. It is a worldwide recruitment effort.”
As a University of Tulsa graduate, Chen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and then earned a master’s degree in organizational dynamics from the University of Oklahoma.
Chen began serving as the assistant dean of admission for Enrollment Management at the University of Tulsa. During her tenure there, she continuously exceeded enrollment goals within her recruitment territory by personalizing recruitment strategies. She has also served as the dean of undergraduate admission at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, for nearly two years. During her time at Drury, Chen was responsible for the enrollment of domestic and international freshmen and transfer students.
Chen was named interim vice president of enrollment management in July 2021 following the announcement of Wray’s appointment as interim senior vice president for executive affairs.
Prior to that, Chen served as senior associate director of admissions (2014-2018) and assistant vice president for enrollment management (2018-2021).
For Chen, it’s about expanding access points and forming initiatives to educate Oklahoma residents and rural communities on a larger scale as a part of our modern land-grant mission. She wants OSU’s impact to be felt on a personal level.
“Karen has assembled an outstanding team of individuals who are at the top in their field and understand customer relations management systems to help with strategy and establish a marketing funnel,” Wray said.
Retention is a vital part of enrollment growth and a key component to the overall strategy of OSU going forward, he added.
“It takes all of us working together to try to maximize every opportunity we have here at OSU because we do a lot of things really well,” Chen said. “It impacts students who never thought they could go to college, for whatever reason, when we give them that opportunity and support to be successful.
“Whether that's a freshman, transfer student or any non-traditional student, it is about reaching everybody and providing access to an OSU education that will pay off in a very big way and change their life.”
For nearly two decades, Chen has been an active member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and continues her active involvement with the association.
Through her presidential and conference chair terms for the Great Plains Association for College Admission Counseling (GPACAC), a regional affiliate within NACAC, Chen was responsible for planning and implementing successful annual conferences, strategic planning of revenue generation, budget management, and a focus on inclusion and access for the three-state affiliate.
Her leadership within NACAC and the GPACAC executive board provides a platform for worldwide networking and engaging in higher education's progressive efforts. Through her experiences, Chen ensures that OSU promotes ethical practices and professional standards for admission counseling.
“Karen is a consummate professional. She's constantly thinking about results and ways to obtain positive results. She's focused on measurement and how we obtain the best in enrollment management and Oklahoma State University,” Wray said. “She's got a fantastic work ethic.
“She's an outstanding person who is able to articulate a vision with ease that people can buy into. And that's a key component to her job.”