New staff members hired to meet needs of students

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   Dixie State University’s focus on increasing student enrollment and international student enrollment has led to the hiring of two new staff members. 

   It was announced in a press release March 30 that DSU officials hired an assistant vice president of enrollment management and a director of International Student Services.

The enrollment management position is a new position that was created in light of the increasing enrollment at DSU. 

Peter Gitau, vice president of student affairs, said DSU had the largest enrollment growth rate in the state, with close to 9,000 students total at the beginning of the fall semester. 

“We are trending very, very positively compared to where we were this time last year,” Gitau said. 

DSU has set a goal to reach 12,500 students and at least 400 international students enrolled by the year 2020, Gitau said. The university is expanding academic programs to absorb the volume of students it is receiving. This is where the two new hires, Darlene Dilley and Catherine Odera, come in, Gitau said. 

Dilley will serve as the assistant vice president of enrollment management, and Odera has been hired as the new director of International Student Services. Odera has already begun serving in her position.  

Dilley will help to oversee the student recruitment process; supervise departments across campus; and take part in the planning, development and execution of DSU’s strategic enrollment plan. A large part of Dilley’s job will include continuing to recruit throughout Utah, as well as backing the push to recruit more out-of-state students, Gitau said.  

According to the press release, Dilley has over 20 years of experience in advisement and enrollment services at Utah State University Eastern and Westminster College. As director of admissions and interim chief enrollment officer at Westminster, Dilley was able to increase the percentage of students from diverse backgrounds attending the college, reaching a 10-year peak in 2016. 

“Throughout the interviews, she demonstrated impeccable mastery of the enrollment management process and an exceptional ability to build an effective team and be a leader within the division and on campus,” Gitau said. “We are all excited to welcome Darlene to DSU.”

As the new director of International Student Services, Odera will oversee all of the international student programs, including international student recruitment and retention, immigration management, and adjustment services.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Kenya, Odera said she devoted herself to the field of international student services. She most recently served as the assistant director of international student programs at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where she helped enhance international student experiences and promote retention and graduation of international students.

She said she wanted to make ISS more visible and accessible to students at DSU. This includes making the ISS lounge more welcoming to students and providing them with a comfortable space to build connections. 

“If a student comes and says,  ‘I just want to study,’ they have a study space,” Odera said. “Or if a student says, ‘I’m between classes, and I just need to chill,’ …we’ll have that comfortable space.”

Another big change Odera is working on with the ISS team is recruiting from existing countries DSU has partnerships with, as well as reaching out to new markets, she said. Odera said she wants to create a collaborative community in St. George incorporating international students and domestic students. The main drive in fostering such a diverse campus is to allow people to learn from each other and gain a global way of thinking here at DSU, Odera said.

There are opportunities to expand one’s way of thinking all around us. However, everyone must be willing to learn something, Odera said.

“The world is at our feet,” Odera said. “Eat something different, talk to somebody, help another student, [and] watch international news.”