Ms. Koehler most recently has overseen the Enrollment and the Student Experience unit and improvements to access, diversity and retention efforts.
Laurie Koehler, George Washington University senior vice provost for enrollment and the student experience (ESE), will become vice president for marketing and enrollment strategy at Ithaca College, the institution announced Tuesday. She begins her new role Aug. 7.
“I am grateful for so much here at GW—the incredible opportunities I’ve been provided to learn and grow; the partnerships with the provost, colleagues and faculty across campus; the remarkable leadership team and staff members who comprise ESE; and, most important, the many students I’ve gotten to know who challenge and inspire me to do and be better every day,“ Ms. Koehler said. “I have great confidence in the ESE team to continue the powerful, collaborative work they have been so successfully advancing over the past year.”
Until a successor is identified, Provost Forrest Maltzman will directly oversee the ESE unit. The university will launch a national search for Ms. Koehler’s replacement in the fall.
Ms. Koehler joined GW in 2013 and has managed an expanding portfolio of admissions, retention and student experience teams. Most recently, she led the creation of the ESE unit, bringing together staff members from enrollment, retention and student affairs who are responsible for supporting a holistic, integrated experience through all phases of the student lifecycle.
A longtime higher education leader, Ms. Koehler has advocated across the university for enhancements that improve students’ day-to-day experience, including through her role on the student experience initiative leadership team, and worked with colleagues across divisions to communicate about improvements and the unique value of a GW education.
“Laurie is the ultimate change agent and silo buster in higher education,” Dr. Maltzman said. “She is a collaborator who worked with trustees, faculty, deans, students and staff from across the university to strategically enroll and graduate a diverse group of students who were passionate and committed to changing the world while raising the academic profile of our student body in a financially sustainable fashion.”
Ms. Koehler oversaw the transformation of GW’s undergraduate admissions and financial aid operations to a more innovative, integrated and data-driven approach. This included efforts to more strategically recruit and enroll students to increase the academic profile of those who came and to strengthen the bonds that exist between the university and the high school guidance counselor community. She also championed efforts to increase access, diversity and inclusion, including through the university’s adoption of its test-optional policy and programs and partnerships providing a pipeline for high-achieving underrepresented students to come to GW.
During Ms. Koehler’s tenure, GW experienced an increase in undergraduate applications, by 40 percent overall since 2014, as well as in applications from underrepresented students. GW is on track to have a record number of graduate and undergraduate applications this fall.
Leveraging support from staff and faculty, Ms. Koehler also helped improve retention rates: During the past five years, the six-year graduation rate exceeded 80 percent each year, and an all-time high four-year graduation rate topped 78 percent. First-to-second-year retention rates also increased, to 93 percent.
“I am grateful for the many contributions that Laurie made to GW and for how much her team, and I personally, have learned from her,” Dr. Maltzman said. “We are all better leaders who take a more collaborative, student-centered and comprehensive view because of her. She will be missed.”
At Ithaca, Ms. Koehler will step into a role with wide-ranging responsibilities, including marketing to increase the college’s presence and enrollment reach; overseeing admissions and financial services, among other areas; and supporting engagement, volunteering and philanthropy.
“While leaving GW is hard, I am excited to join the Ithaca College community,” Ms. Koehler said. “I am energized by their commitment to access, diversity and inclusion, as well as their innovative thinking about the future of the college.”