New Vice President talks strategy

Vice President of Enrollment Management Ron Patterson discusses his career leading up to UNA. He said he plans to continue to increase recruitment efforts at UNA.

Last year, UNA saw its biggest increase in enrollment, and Vice President of Enrollment Management Ron Patterson does not plan on losing that momentum.

The former college basketball player is determined to continue this winning streak by recruiting a variety of students.

He plans to do it by implementing some of the values he learned through his old sport like communicating effectively and working with a team.

“I emphasize communication and team because to be successful and score the ball in the basket consistently, five people had to develop a level of communication and understanding that surpassed all others,” Patterson said in an email. “We had to know what our teammate was going to do before he did it.”

Strong communication and teamwork translates into success in the workplace. When UNA’s faculty is communicating and working together effectively, students will benefit, he said.

“In order for the (Enrollment Management) division to meet and/or exceed our goals, we have to be committed to the university, each other and our students,” Patterson said.

Patterson plans to increase the university’s social media presence, boost advertising and visit more high schools and college fairs to reach a greater amount students, he said.

President Kenneth Kitts believes Patterson is the right person for the job, he said in an email.

“Ron will ensure that we are strategic in our brand marketing and recruitment activities,” Kitts said.

One such strategic recruitment activity of Patterson’s is creating a process that allows potential students to take their applications to an on-campus workshop, Patterson said.

Students could have their applications reviewed and earn admission immediately, he said.

He also wants to expand recruitment efforts outside of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, Patterson said.

“I believe we can connect with students from Georgia and nationally,” he said.

Strategies in recruitment are not the only item Patterson is bringing to the table. He will also create ways to retain students, said Admissions Counselor Bishop Alexander, who was a part of the hiring committee.

“I think that he’ll continue to build off the pride that he has for the university and what we can offer not only prospective students but the current students who live here,” Alexander said. “So, he’ll be able to recruit but also work with the university in finding ways to retain students.”

With experience working in universities and three degrees under his belt, the Corinth, Mississippi, native is passionate about education.

This passion will drive Patterson to do his best in recruiting students locally and nationally as well as reaching out to their families, Kitts said.

Creating a more family-friendly campus is another goal of Patterson’s.

To attract more students and their relatives to UNA, Patterson plans to “increase (the) number of on-campus events,” he said.

Patterson and his own family are excited about joining the campus community, he said.

When he is not golfing, biking or reading a good book, he is spending time with them, Patterson said.

“I have a wonderful wife that I’ve been married to for 13 years,” he said. “Together, we have two beautiful kids— Olivia, 11 years old and Braylon, 6 years old.”

Like their father, both kids have an athletic side and enjoy playing sports, Patterson said.

Patterson and his wife and kids are about to have a few thousand more additions to their household.

“My family and I are excited to join the UNA family,” he said. “I am excited to work with peers, colleagues and professionals who are passionate about the University of North Alabama and all this great university has to offer our students academically, personally and socially.”

It is this kind of positivity that made Patterson stand out among other candidates, Kitts said.

“(The hiring committee) were all impressed with his positive attitude and professional manner,” Kitts said. “Fit is everything in hiring decisions, and Ron is already establishing himself as a good member of the team at UNA.”

Competition was stiff for the position, but Patterson’s outgoing personality coupled with his professional qualifications made him the perfect addition for the division as well as the campus, Alexander said.

“While he was here (for the interview), he never forgot a face,” Alexander said. “He met them maybe that morning, but if he crossed paths with them during the interview process thereafter then, he never forgot their name. So, he’s really good with that, really good with people.”

As UNA becomes a more popular choice for potential students, Patterson will continue to further the university’s success, Kitts said.

“Success breeds success,” Kitts said. “It’s a great time to be at UNA, and you can sense that we are beginning to garner more attention as a destination of choice for students across Alabama and beyond.”

Patterson hopes UNA’s students will pave a path for the future.

“We want to retain and graduate students who are our leaders of tomorrow,” he said.