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Nello Angerilli, new VP-students and international, plans big improvements for the university's student services.

Nello Angerilli, new VP-students and international, plans big improvements for the university's student services.

Competition drives Angerilli's three Rs

March 8, 2007

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By Diane Luckow

Recruiting. Retaining. Revitalizing. These are the three Rs Nello Angerilli is targeting as SFU's new VP-students and international. "We're now moving into one of the most competitive periods in university history in terms of attracting good students," says Angerilli. A diminishing population of 18- to 20-year-olds coupled with a significant increase in student spaces means colleges and universities are competing over an ever smaller pool of good students.

"Last year, more than 50 per cent of students who were offered our biggest scholarships declined them," says Angerilli. "We should be worried."

Student retention rates are also troubling: "Last year we lost 25 per cent of our first-year students; Waterloo loses 10 per cent, Guelph loses three per cent and UBC loses 20 per cent."

That's why Angerilli is on a mission to improve SFU's ability to recruit and retain students, and to revitalize the current student experience. "We're driving a new student-centric approach to managing the university," he says.

Last year, SFU added $1.1 million to the Student Services budget, with another $1 million to be added over the next several years. So far, Student Services has reorganized its structure to be more responsive to student issues and demands.

It has doubled the number of academic advisors and nearly doubled the staff to process applications for admission and financial assistance. It has created a more user-friendly website and student information management system. And it's streamlining the student application and registration process.

The athletics and recreation, student development, SFU International and health and counselling departments have also added staff and new programs.

Angerilli's team plans to improve national and international student recruitment through better integration of campus-wide recruiting efforts, the construction of a new student union building, and increased funding for student athletics and campus community recreation.

The three Rs are the building blocks for a new approach to education and campus life at SFU, says Angerilli. "We need to develop a service attitude that says students are our No. 1 priority."

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