Meet the V.P. of Enrollment
Alumnus Kevin Dyerly assumes the role of chief enrollment officer
As an undergraduate, Kevin Dyerly never stepped foot in the University of Redlands Admissions office. Just days before graduating, he went to apply for a position there and wasn’t exactly sure where to go.
When he did find admissions, he also found the opportunity to, in the role of college administrator, represent the institution that had provided him a transformative college experience. And that, to him, seemed like an honorable first job.
That first job turned into a career—one that started at the University of Redlands, took him to Washington for a stint as Director of Admissions at Whitman College, then led him back to Redlands, where in August he was appointed vice president of enrollment.
The University has never had a chief enrollment officer to look at a broader, comprehensive enrollment strategy, and Dyerly said he hopes to work with key leaders to focus a broader conversation and collective effort on an integrated approach to enrollment.
Dyerly said one part of his job is to “pick up the baton” of Paul Driscoll who has transitioned to dean emeritus after more than 20 years as dean of admissions.
“Paul led the efforts to do many of the things we have accomplished—record enrollments, increased diversity, creating very goodwill on a national level with school counselors across the country.”
Dyerly has set additional priority goals for him and his team.
“We have to address the decrease of state support through Cal Grant, which has been a driving force for us in providing access to students from a broad socio-economic range. Also international student recruitment is an area of emphasis as part of an effort to diversify the student body and provide a global education.
“In our professional schools, we’ll continue to emphasize the value of a personalized Redlands education, grounded in ethical practices, for working adults.”
Dyerly, a third-generation Bulldog, grins when he says he initially had no plans to land at Redlands, either academically or professionally. His grandmother graduated in 1944 and worked in the registrar’s office. His maternal grandfather attended on the G.I. Bill after serving in World War II, and graduated in 1951. His mother was born in what was then Vet’s Village, which is now a dirt parking lot behind North and Merriam halls.
“So as a high-school student, I thought I would set my own path,” said Dyerly, “but in many ways Redlands was exactly what I was looking for.”
He intentionally made college a residential experience, living on campus all four years and involved in tennis, Greek life, residence life, and student leadership as well as experiencing Salzburg. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business at Redlands.
“As I got further along, it became clearer that higher education administration was something I could see myself getting into,” Dyerly said. “Working with students, trying to help inform, direct, guide, lead and mentor is an admirable profession.”
After five years working at Redlands, Dyerly wanted to gain some outside perspective, see a new place and learn a different shop. “Seven years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington provided that opportunity as he was charged with overseeing the recruitment and admissions operations for the national liberal arts college.”
“We were successful growing the applicant pool, diversifying the student body, improving the academic profile, gaining more national and international representation within the student body, and managing a financial aid budget during a recession. I didn’t see myself leaving there any time soon.”
But once again, Redlands presented itself.
“It was the opportunity to return to a place that I know and love, and for which I have a deep passion and understanding.
“Redlands now acts, thinks and understands itself as a comprehensive university that needs a comprehensive enrollment strategy. The idea of being able to provide some perspective from an outside place and the opportunity to help the University reach new heights is what enticed me to consider coming back.”
Dyerly said he returned to find the University more diverse, with grander facilities and a maximized capacity. What hasn’t changed is what makes him happy he returned.
“The sense of community, the welcoming spirit, the lack of pretense, and the entrepreneurial spirit—attributes here when I was a student, when I was working here before and what in many ways have shaped the character of this place. I am pleased to see those core values have not changed.”
Dyerly said he has complete belief in the value of what the University provides.
“I wake up every morning feeling very passionate about this work. Being a product of the University myself, I am able to speak first-hand about the type of transformative place the University of Redlands can be and is, not just for students in the College but for students in our adult and professional programs as well.”