2017 Adult Student Marketing Conference

Huntington Beach, California
February 7–9, 2017

We’ll see you:

February 7–9, 2017


The Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach, California
21100 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Who should attend:

Higher ed professionals who affect the planning, strategy, and implementation of marketing and programming directed at adult and graduate students

This includes:

  • adult undergraduate/degree completion programs
  • graduate programs
  • continuing education programs
  • certificate and professional programs
  • online/hybrid degree programs


This purpose of this advisory board is to shape the sessions and topics that will be presented at the conference. These experienced higher education marketing professionals were selected from a strong candidate pool of applicants from institutions across the country. We congratulate the following individuals for their appointment and thank them for their service:

Karen Adams
Corporate Marketing Director, Distance Learning Center
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Toni Bennett
Dean, College of Adult Professional Studies
Christian Brothers University

Dustin Cornwell
Director of MBA Programs, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Kim Frisch
Dean of Admissions
Regis University

Jami Hornbuckle
Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Morehead State University

Alyson Kim
Director of Integrated Marketing Communications, Wisconsin School of Business
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Susan Norton, PhD
Director, Office of Adult Learning
Wichita State University

Kathleen Perales, EdM
Associate Dean, Community Outreach and Enrollment Development
Mesa Community College

Lori Walker
Assistant Dean, Enrollment Management & Site Operations
John Brown University


The Chronicle of Higher Education

Interested in registering as a sponsor or exhibitor? Contact Tami Vande Weerd for more information.

Sponsorship prospectus (PDF) >


Bring your team!

Teams of four or more from the same institution save 20 percent per attendee.
This discount cannot be combined with other discounts.

Teams of four or more:


Per attendee, registered before 1/18/17

Early-bird registration:


Per attendee, registered before 1/18/17

Regular registration:


Per attendee, registered after 1/18/17

Add a post-conference workshop:


Per attendee


Registrants will receive a free wire-bound copy of Jeff Selingo’s 2026: The Decade Ahead. Produced by the Chronicle of Higher Education, this book provides an eye-opening look into the future of higher education and how you can prepare for it.


Mon, Feb 6, 2017

2:00—5:00 p.m.
Pre-conference registration

6:00 p.m.
Dinner groups

Tue, Feb 7, 2017

8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m.
Conference day one

5:00 p.m.
Networking reception

Wed, Feb 8, 2017

8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m.
Conference day two

6:00 p.m.
Dinner groups

Thu, Feb 9, 2017

8:00—11:00 a.m.
Post-conference workshops

Monday, February 6, 2017

2:00-5:00 p.m.
Pre-conference registration

6:00 p.m.
Dinner groups

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

6:30-8:00 a.m.
Pre-conference registration/breakfast

8:00-8:15 a.m.

8:15-9:15 a.m.

College of Tomorrow: The Decade Ahead for Higher Education

Presented by Jeffrey Selingo, Founder and Principal

Academic Intelligence

With economic and technological shifts driving many students to seek alternatives to the traditional residential college experience, it’s likely that the campus of tomorrow will look quite different. In this session, Jeffrey Selingo offers a glimpse into the future, analyzing demographic trends to predict how students will learn, the role of technology, the risks and opportunities for incumbent players, and how your institution can become an enduring platform for lifelong learning.

9:15-9:30 a.m.
Break (coffee, tea, water, light snack)

9:30-10:30 a.m.

Data Speaks: Recent Findings from Stamats Adult StudentsTALK™ Study

Presented by Becky Morehouse, Stamats

If you work in adult-student enrollment and marketing, the phrase “herding cats” might hit home for you. It can seem like prospective adult and graduate students are headed in a thousand directions, each driven by different motivations and behaviors. How do you get a clear picture of the adult-student audience segment to make strategic, substantiated marketing decisions? Research, research, research.


In this session, Becky will share the most recent data findings from the Stamats Adult StudentsTALK study in order to help you shape your programs; prioritize your services; hone in on course-delivery modes; clarify student decision drivers; and determine marketing messages based on prospective adult student needs, expectations, and concerns.

10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session transition (coffee, tea, water)

10:45-11:45 a.m.

How to Create a Branding and Marketing Program Quickly and Cheaply

Presented by Kira Poplowski, Vice President for Communications and Marketing

Drew University

A well-designed and implemented brand and marketing campaign can increase enrollment, engage students, and build lasting support for higher education institutions, but finding the funds to build one can be a significant roadblock. Fortunately, a great campaign can be done on a budget, and Kira Poplowski will show you how. Drawing on her experience with Drew University Theological School’s successful interim branding and marketing effort—which cost a total of $3,000 and increased enrollment after years of decline—she’ll teach you how to leverage internal talent and existing elements to implement an affordable, sustainable campaign at your college or university.

Maximize Your Advertising and Demonstrate ROI

Presented by Typhaine Morrison, Assistant Director, Integrated Marketing

Dan Roelke, Senior Media Buyer/Planner

Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin–Madison

With so many advertising options to choose from and a limited marketing budget, justifying your choices and measuring performance is critical. These presenters will show you the most effective ways to measure ROI by going beyond traditional key performance indicators, including new ways of measuring consumer attitudes, brand performance, and the effectiveness of advertising expenditures. You’ll also take away tools and tips for maximizing your investment and effectively communicating value.


11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Lunch on your own

1:30-2:30 p.m.

Strategic Marketing: The Wichita Promise

Presented by Sheree Utash, President

Andy McFayden, Director, Marketing and Community Outreach

Wichita Area Technical College/National Center for Aviation Training

One of the challenges of higher education is keeping pace with the needs of students and the demands of the job market. Wichita Area Technical College offers a solution with the Wichita Promise, a program offering free tuition, training, certifications, and interviews with community business partners to those in high-tech, high-wage career pathways. In their discussion of this bold initiative, Andy McFayden and Sheree Utash will offer strategies and insight into how optimizing industry opportunities and community partnerships can help higher education meet the needs and expectations of today’s adult students.

Communicating the Right Message at the Right Time OR Shocking Marketing Violations and Other Fun Stuff in the World of Recruitment Communication

Presented by Sabra Fiala, Stamats

It’s a tough job to be a good recruitment marketer these days—even tougher in an environment where best practices are compromised for the sake of continual budget restrictions, limited resources, and outdated technology. Join this lively tribute to all the die-hard marketing and communication professionals who just need to know they are not alone. Along the way, we’ll show some successful marketing initiatives and best practices to reinvigorate your efforts for 2017.

2:30-2:45 p.m.

Session transition (coffee, tea, water)

2:45-3:45 p.m.

Content Marketing Tactics That Drive Lead Acquisition

Presented by Emily Mclerney, Associate Director of Marketing, Berklee Online

Mike King, Acting VP of Enrollment, Berklee College of Music

Berklee Online

How do we create websites that not only inform but engage visitors? The trick, according to Emily Mclerney and Mike King, is twofold: the right content and the right tool. They’ll walk you through best lead-driving practices, including how the creation of content pathways can generate brand awareness and interest as students are guided through the marketing funnel, as well as how choosing the right content relationship management (CRM) tools and channels for your institution can make all the difference.


The Art & Science of Optimizing your Student Engagement Model

Presented by Cate Clark, Director of Admissions

Regis University

A good admissions training program drives results and supports success. It’s a lasting, invaluable institutional resource, but how do you build one? Cate Clark has some ideas. Using the Regis University post-traditional admissions team as an example, she’ll discuss how to begin building your better admissions training program, starting with identifying core positional competencies, establishing a systematic approach, and implementing five crucial keys to success.

3:45-4:00 p.m.
Session transition (coffee, tea, water, light snack)

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Top Five Reasons Why Your Marketing Sucks (And What You Can Do About It)

Presented by Darren White, Associate Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Shelly Jackman, Art Director

Texas Wesleyan University

Hitting the right note in higher education marketing can be tricky. In this session, Darren White and Shelly Jackman will show you common mistakes higher ed marketers make (they know because they used to make them) and how to fix them. Whether you’re talking to an audience of high school seniors or adult learners, their five-point plan gives you an easy template to follow for executing successful strategic marketing initiatives that will get your work noticed.

5:00-6:30 p.m.
Networking reception

6:30 p.m.
Dinner groups

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

6:30-8:00 a.m.

8:00-9:00 a.m.

Understanding Adult Markets: UK Insights, Lessons, and Opportunities

Presented by David Roberts, Managing Director

The Knowledge Partnership

Whether here or across the Atlantic, the adult-student market poses a lot of challenges for higher education. David Roberts, one of the UK’s most experienced higher education marketers, will shine some light on the adult-student population. From market trends, learner profiles, and segmentation to the differences and similarities between UK and US higher education models and what the two can learn from one another, you’ll gain insight and data that will help you better understand and communicate with your adult students.

Breaking Tradition: Charting the Course for Badges in Academia

Presented by Kimberly Moore, Director, Workforce, Professional and Community Education

Wichita State University

Many students struggle to gain employers’ attention in the job market. In 2015, Wichita State University set out to find a solution, implementing a series of badge courses allowing students to earn for-credit-class digital badges each time they complete a course. The badges can be linked to resumes, so employers can see students’ competencies, which sets them apart from other applicants.

In this session, Kimberly Moore will use her experience developing and implementing Wichita State’s badge program to demonstrate the benefit of badges in traditional academic environments. She’ll tell you everything you need to know about planning a badge program at your institution, including tools you need, how to work with tenured faculty, identifying a faculty champion, and mitigating internal roadblocks and overcoming marketing challenges.

9:00-9:15 a.m.
Session Transition (coffee, tea, water)

9:15-10:15 a.m.

Let’s Get Together! The Benefits to Eliminating Technology Silos and Improving the Adult Student Experience

Presented by Brian Wm. Niles, Founder & Chief Evangelist


A recent study found that 19% of all higher ed technology purchases are made outside of the central IT department—meaning that campuses are spending $4 billion annually on unmanaged, unmeasured, and often disconnected systems. Learn the importance of implementing a single interconnection solution for recruiting, enrolling, and retaining today’s adult student, all while improving your responsiveness, multiple-medium messaging, and proactive engagement. Brian will share stories of change in higher education dating back to his days as a graduate admissions director continually trying to improve enrollment efficiencies with innovative, proven technology that leads to happier, satisfied, successful adult students.

10:15-10:30 a.m.
Session transition (coffee, tea, water)

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Putting the SOCIAL in Social Justice: Using Social Media to Recruit and Retain Diverse Adult Students

Presented by Jami Hornbuckle, Assistant VP Communications & Marketing

Morehead State University

Higher education is becoming more and more diverse. As demographics shift, higher education institutions must develop best practices for recruiting these growing student populations as well as learn to meet their needs. In this session, Jami Hornbuckle discusses how social media can act as a recruitment and retention tool and explores simple, cost-effective, and scalable practices to help universities target diverse populations, remove barriers, and create community.

How to Unlock Your Brand's Potential by Centralizing Marketing Services

Presented by Alyson Kim, Director of Integrated Marketing Communications
Meloney Linder, Associate Dean of Communications

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business

The age-old question: Should you centralize or decentralize your marketing services? When faced with the task of launching a new brand for the Wisconsin School of Business, Alyson Kim and Meloney Linder chose to centralize, and the results have been defining. They’ll share that experience as they take you through the steps for creating a centralized-service strategy for your college, including best practices for building an effective organizational structure and partnering with others in your school to deliver the strong brand and marketing results that will increase your adult-student enrollment and engagement.

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Begin serving lunch

12:00-1:00 p.m.

The New Student Journey (Adult Student Version)

Presented by Rob Humphrey, LinkedIn EDU Team


The factors and phases of the adult-student college-decision-making process are evolving. Explore the student journey with Rob Humphrey of LinkedIn. He’ll share stories from students, employers, and higher education professionals as he discusses how LinkedIn can act as a resource for students to begin the decision-making process and connect with colleges and universities. Throughout his discussion, you’ll gain crucial insight into not only the minds of adult students but also how LinkedIn can be a powerful marketing and engagement tool.

1:00-1:30 p.m.
Session transition (coffee, tea, water)

1:30-2:30 p.m.

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due! Improve Recruiting, Retention, and Completion Rates for Adult Students

Presented by Chari Leader-Kelley, Senior Fellow

Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

Knowing that our adult students face challenges that often become significant barriers to degree completion, what can we, as higher education professionals, do to improve adult-student retention? One solution the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) offers is the research-based prior learning assessment (PLA). In this session, you’ll learn how institutions, states, and other systems use PLAs to improve retention and how PLAs play a role in meeting the Obama administration’s goal of the United States having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Your Best Brand Ambassadors: Strategies to Utilize Your Alumni to Assist Recruiting Adult Students

Presented by Michael Norris, Director of Transfer Enrollment

Simpson College

When students see themselves reflected in your alumni, they can more easily picture themselves at your school, which is why alumni are such powerful recruitment supporters. But are our nontraditional alumni sufficiently engaged to help draw adult students to our programs? In this session, Michael Norris of Simpson College will discuss strategies for engaging nontraditional alumni and effectively recruiting students into adult evening programs, including collaborating with your alumni board on marketing initiatives, hosting alumni “lunch and learns,” holding focus groups, and more.

2:30-2:45 p.m.
Session transition (coffee, tea, water)

2:45-3:45 p.m.

New Programs and New Markets: How Do We Compete?

Presented by Ron Mahurin, Stamats

Finding the right mix between your academic programs, your target markets, and differentiating yourself from the competition has never been more important. As marketers, we also need to be strategists in working with our academic partners.


This session will examine both the state of the adult student market and specific strategies to enhance the marketability and content of your institution’s academic programs.

The Devil’s in the Details. Understanding the Five D’s of Website Development

Presented by Rose Kilsdonk, Fox Valley Technical College

Today’s savvy consumers demand quality online experiences. Adult students don’t distinguish their online shopping and other transactions from what they expect from education providers. How can .edu marketers and educators make sure their online systems support these discerning expectations?

This session will shatter the notion that you need to be a programmer to master website development. It will focus on a proven sequence that includes: Discovery, Definition, Design, Development & Deployment, to exponentially increase your success as a project manager, contributor, champion, or administrator.


This interactive session will provide:

  • A detailed overview of the Five D’s
  • Examples of successful deployments
  • A roadmap of common project pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Reasons to increase your technical development skills
  • Tips, tricks, and techniques to preserve your sanity during long and complex projects


The Five D’s of website development apply whether you are reimagining, redesigning, or reinvigorating your website, looking at your learning management system, building a microsite, or organizing content in a third-party system.

3:45-4:00 p.m.
Session transition (coffee, tea, water, light snack)

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Straight from the Source: Adult Undergraduate & Graduate Students Speak

It’s one thing to talk about adult students and a whole other thing to talk to them. Back by popular demand, we’re capping off this year’s conference with the adult undergraduate and graduate student panel, moderated by Stamats’ own Chuck Reed. Bring your insight, everything you’ve learned over two days of information-rich conference sessions, and your questions, and get ready to listen to real responses from real students.

5:00 p.m.
Conference wrap-up, Becky Morehouse

Thursday, February 9, 2017

8:00-11:00 a.m.

Quick Fixes & Long-term Strategies for Better Web Content

Presented by Joan Benson, Stamats

Content is king—right?!? Yet we often neglect our royalty, toss it in the “other duties as assigned” pile, and generally hope it will be ok. Sufficient. At least passable, please?


Even though web content is the number one contact point for prospective students, faculty, and supporters, we neglect it because it seems like a sprawling, irregular mess, like a library built out of marshmallows.


It doesn’t have to be that way. We have lots of information on how content is scanned, read, and processed online. We know how it works, how it could work.


In this session, I’ll help you see the shape that web content can have, how to give it useful structure, and walk you through an editing exercise that will improve even the blobbiest blob in fifteen minutes or less. We’ll map the work your content can do and show how having a content strategy will bring focus and control to the page, the section, or even a whole site. We’ll also discuss basic principles of content governance, so you’ll walk away with the tools to keep content reigning strong.

8:00-11:00 a.m.

Conversions & Campaigns: Hands-on with Google Analytics

Presented by Brando Hills, Aaron Blau, and Sabra Fiala – Stamats

As a Google Partner agency, we would like to invite you to join us for this three-hour session to help you recruit smarter using Google Analytics.

Browsing through Google Analytics can be overwhelming without knowing what data is most important to your institution. Some statistics are easy to review and evaluate, but extracting the right information to help inform your adult student recruitment efforts takes a deeper understanding of the metrics that matter.

The Hands-On with Google Analytics workshop will cover:

  • Which KPIs to track and what they mean in terms of adult student behavior
  • How to segment those students (demographic and psychographic)
  • How different sources drive traffic to the website (earned, owned, paid media)
  • How to determine your return on investment (ROI) and create a budget for lead-generation campaigns
  • Advanced Google Analytics reporting

8:00-11:00 a.m.

Avoiding Pitfalls and Realizing Possibilities - Developing an Integrated Marketing Plan

Presented by Bob Sevier, Stamats

This comprehensive session begins by carefully defining a basic integrated marketing communication (IMC) model that includes brand marketing, direct marketing, and internal communication. We will then examine the pitfalls and possibilities of IMC and explore how integrated marketing communication differs from simple promotion. With this foundation in place, we will review the basic steps for writing and managing an integrated marketing communication plan. Insights on conducting a situation analysis, setting goals, creating marketing calendars, and options for increasing faculty support for marketing will also be presented. We will conclude with a review of different short- and long-term budgeting models. This session includes both presentation and group discussion.


We are pleased to announce the following presenters for our conference:


Hotel reservations

All sessions will be hosted at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Four Diamond hotel in the heart of Surf City USA™.

The Waterfront Beach Resort

We recommend traveling in on Monday, February 6, and departing on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Our group rate is set at $219 per night.

Call (714) 845-8000 for reservations and ask for the Stamats group rate, or book your room online.

Book Your Room Online >

Please contact Tami Vande Weerd (tami.vandeweerd@stamats.com) if you have any questions or troubles booking a hotel room.

John Wayne Airport Orange County

John Wayne Airport Orange County

Fly into the John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA), located 10 miles away from the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California.

Ground transportation

Taxis are the recommended method of ground transportation between the airport and The Waterfront Beach Resort. Uber is also available as an option. Shuttles are available to be arranged ahead of time.

The Waterfront Beach Resort
21100 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648


Tami Vande Weerd, Stamats

Contact Tami Vande Weerd
Event Manager

Phone: 319-861-5167
Email: tami.vandeweerd@stamats.com