New college recruiter takes aim at broader student mix
Daryl Perkins needs only to recall his own college recruitment to identify a positive experience he would like to replicate with prospective Clemson students.
The College of Business’s newly hired student recruitment manager, who grew up in St. Louis, said that creating a positive experience like he received from the University of Missouri will be important to attracting more underrepresented students to the business school.
“My visits to the Mizzou campus and how they were handled was the catalyst for me attending there,” said Perkins, who most recently held a university-wide recruiting position at Bowling Green State University. “As the College of Business looks to recruit a more diverse student body, we will need to build relationships, present a welcoming environment, and create great experiences to make a student’s decision to attend here an easy one.”
According to Sandy Edge, Student Advising Center director, the decision to create Perkins’ new position and that of student advisor Melonee Yearwood ’16, was prompted by the business school’s desire to create an inclusive environment where students from all walks of life can learn from each other’s experiences.
“We are very excited that full-time resources are being devoted to improve on how we prepare our students for life after Clemson,” Edge said. “As a seminary of higher learning, it’s imperative for us to provide a holistic educational experience that exposes students to different backgrounds, ideas and family experiences. By doing so, we are opening their eyes and minds to what they will experience in life, personally and professionally.”
Yearwood will serve a dual role, assisting Perkins in minority recruitment, but also advising students once they’re here.
“My role is unique in that I get to work with prospective students in growing our underrepresented numbers, but also advising them once they’ve decided to attend,” Yearwood said. “I’m eager to help students on the front end of their decision to attend, then continue advising them throughout their academic careers here.”
Perkins said Clemson isn’t alone in wanting to draw more minorities and other underrepresented groups to its business school.
“Nationally, statistics show minority students tend to gravitate toward the social and hard sciences. Business is generally not a discipline minority groups pursue, but it definitely isn’t an issue that’s exclusive to Clemson,” he said. “By creating this position, the college’s leadership has made a commitment to creating a more diverse student body, and in the process add a richness in and outside the classroom by bringing in new ideas and thought processes.”
Perkins’ charge will be to recruit more underrepresented students to the business school. Beyond ethnicity, he will focus on recruiting students from lower-income families and will be looking to bring students in from outside the state’s boundaries.
“Though a primary focus is on ethnicity, we are looking to grow a more diverse student population in other ways also,” Perkins said. “For instance, there’s a desire to bring in more transfer students, recruit from technical colleges and get into different markets where students are looking for different options, like Pittsburgh in the Northeast, Florida and Georgia.”
If past performance is an indication of future success, Perkins’ track record bodes well for the college. While at Bowling Green, he increased the percentage of students who enrolled by 25 percent in the Cleveland and Columbus areas he was assigned to recruit. Prior to recruiting at the Ohio school, Perkins held a similar position at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In his assigned area, Kansas City, he more than tripled the number of students enrolling from that area in three years.
The St. Louis native said one of the challenges he faces early on is being new to the state.
“Learning the university’s reputation within the state will be among my first orders of business. The reputation will help determine the strategy. You have to know where you stand before implementing a plan,” he said. “Then, it’s all about building relationships with schools, guidance counselors, and, of course, the parents.”
Perkins said the move to Clemson was a next natural step in his career progression.
“I’ve worked at regional universities that have prepared me well to move on to the next level. So going to a school like Clemson that has more of a national presence is a natural move. I’m excited about the opportunities we have to improve on the college’s multicultural experience.”
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