It didn’t take too long for Jim Hundrieser ’90G to feel at home in his new role as vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. That’s because in the late 80s, he was an admission intern and residence director at Plymouth State while he worked on his master of education degree, which he earned in 1990.
In the interview that follows, Hundrieser shares his vision to help build an even stronger university and enhance the student experience.
What inspired you to return to PSU as VPEMSA?
My degree from Plymouth State was the launching pad to a career I love. It opened my mind to opportunities I never thought were possible as a first-generation college student. To return to PSU in this role provides me with the opportunity to give back to the University.
What is different about PSU today versus when you were a student here 22 years ago?
There is an incredibly positive vibe when you walk around campus and downtown. The students today are even more engaged, more committed, more dedicated to excellence, more willing to serve.
I think today we better understand the valuable and vital role the towns of Plymouth and Holderness play in building our student experience. Our partnerships and relationships with local organizations including Speare Memorial Hospital, the Pemi Youth Center, the Plymouth Area Senior Center, and the Bridge House Shelter, just to name a few, are mutually beneficial: our students get invaluable real-world experience and a chance to serve and improve the community.
What do you hope to achieve as VPEMSA?
I want to create genuine and active engagement with every prospective, admitted, and enrolled student. As a university, our efforts motivate students to define and fully participate in their educational experience. We set our sights on helping every student prosper in a community where all are welcome and talent is nurtured through collaborative and integrated dynamic partnerships. Our end result is graduates who leverage their academic and co-curricular experiences to make a positive impact on the world.
As VPEMSA, what are your goals for PSU’s enrollment?
The first goal is to focus our efforts to reach our enrollment goals for fall 2013. Next is to streamline and expand our transfer student enrollments. We have numerous agreements with other institutions and community colleges, but we need to focus our efforts to further attract and enroll this group. The admissions team and financial aid team have significantly increased their application processing and now we need to tweak our systems to streamline our efforts and collect data to further focus our efforts.
We are also expanding our out-of-state markets and working to make more international connections. We will continue to push on these fronts. We also need to expand our marketing efforts. Plymouth State is a great institution and many people know of us, but they don’t know of the quality and genuine engagement that is going on here. We need to do more to get the word out.
How do you plan on improving the student experience?
In residence life we are looking at new models to build a more vibrant and dynamic community. Given that 95 percent or more of our first year students live in University housing, I want to expand our thinking as to how we help new students not only acclimate well within their residence halls, but also understand the role they play within the local community and that attending PSU means you are a member of a residence hall, university, and local community. They are not mutually exclusive and the more we seek integration, I think the more dynamic the student experience will be.
And now, for some fun stuff …
Who was your favorite professor when you were a student?
It’s hard to pick a favorite; so many of my professors provided a quality educational experience. I do have many memories about Mike Fischler‘s class, in particular his weekend retreat style group therapy class: it was a powerful experience. Connecting with Mike again has been a bit surreal and delightful to see his energy and commitment to students continue 25 years later.
What was your favorite hangout as a student, on campus or off?
Biederman’s Deli was (and continues to be) a fun hang-out spot. And my newest favorite spot is on Lake Winnipesaukee on our boat.
What is your best Plymouth State memory?
My second year we had an RA banquet that was so very powerful and confirmed that this career path was the right one for me.
What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading Inside of a Dog. We rescued a dog and I just can’t figure out what or how they think. It’s pretty interesting.
Favorite musician or band, and why?
At the moment, I am really liking Train. “Marry Me” is definitely one of my favorite songs. I like songs that tell a good story. As far as my favorite, I guess I would say it is Dolly Parton. My dad loved her when I was a kid and now I love her for her music, her giving, her literacy program, her sense of humor, and her appreciation for the mountains.