- Zach Blanchard
New admissions director
Jim Weidman, the new director of admissions at Olivet College, Weidman has only been at Olivet College for a couple of months, but has worked in higher education for over 20 years, including work in adult admissions and online admissions.
When asked what he wanted to do here at Olivet, Weidman said, "Customer service. I think that is what makes the difference in students and the parents deciding where the student attends school. I try to promote customer service; let’s always be proactive to parents and students, let us reach out to them, and let us connect with them. It’s ok if they make phone calls to us, but it is simple as returning those phone calls, or returning those emails that will improve our customer service."
Weidman said, "I’m not saying that stuff wasn’t done before I got here, but just trying to stay focused on that is just one of the big things I think helps, and in the long run increases enrollment, which is the ultimate goal."
There was a time in Weidman’s career when he took a break from admissions to work for a non-profit in Lansing. He said, "It was great. I had a great time doing it, but I came back to higher education, so it’s what I know, and it’s what I feel like I’m good at."
Weidman also mentioned some of the pros and cons of attending a small college and/or university. He said, "Sometimes small can be a bad word because people believe small means you can’t offer as much, which is true when it comes to programs, or majors. That is one of the big differences between Olivet College and a school like Michigan State; you can offer more programs there."
"However," Weidman continued, "the whole thing about being small, being community is getting to know the people, and the students. It’s not just knowing the students, but those students also get to know those faculty members, and you encounter them at other times, not just in class. I would say the one negative is that we can’t offer as much, we can’t offer as many majors. We can’t offer as many opportunities for students to get involved, but I think we do a great job for what you can do with a small college."
Finally, when asked how long he plans to stay at Olivet College he said ,after a bit laughter, "You know, I’m an old guy, and I’ve been in admissions for a long time. Admissions work nowadays is a tough business. What I mean by that is it takes a lot of recruiting, a lot of competitive recruiting. Even Michigan State and those big schools are just as competitive because every student matters to the bottom line when it comes to the financial investment. However, to answer the question, I said to myself, ‘Am I done with admissions work,’ and the answer was no. That’s why I signed up for this job. What I’ve seen after two months, I don’t see myself going anywhere anytime soon, not unless some calls and say you want to be my president," which was followed by laughter.
He continued by saying, "I just love the smallness, the small school, and just the community."
Weidman can be found in Dole Hall on the first level in Admissions.