Diverse Outlook | New multicultural hire aims to diversify Franklin College admissions [Cover]

Associate Director of Multicultural Recruitment Myron Duff works in his office on Feb. 22. Duff was hired in fall 2020.

Admissions at Franklin College has recently seen a big change in not only its staff, but the way leaders recruit students.

Associate Director of Multicultural Recruitment Myron Duff was hired into the department in October and is at least the second person to hold that position.

His responsibility is to recruit what he called IPADS, which includes African American, Asian, Latino, Pacific Islander and Native American students.

Duff said he hopes to up the enrollment numbers in students of color. He estimated that there are currently 50 students of color out of about 1,000 students. Over the next three years, his goal is to increase that number to 75.

In a meeting in February, Franklin College’s Board of Trustees met to discuss a variety of topics, including the retainment of Black students on campus.

During the meeting, Trustee Randy Stocklin said leaders in the Black Student Union presented a report to the Student Affairs committee that shows more work needs to be done if the college is to value and keep Black students.

Progress has been made in some areas, such as paying Diversity Advocates and implementing a college-wide plan to improve diversity and inclusion. The students he spoke with are “not happy overall and don’t feel enough has been done.”

While Duff will only work on the recruitment side, he still hopes he can make an impact on Franklin College’s diversity initiatives.

Duff has worked in higher education since 1994 and has primarily worked with a mixture of predominately white students and marginalized or underrepresented populations, but this is his first job in admissions.

President Kerry Prather said Duff was brought onto the staff because of a more conscientious search, rather than a replacement cycle of finding someone who fits in an entry level counselor position.

This has filled other positions as well, like Director of Admissions Ryan McClarnon and the American Baptist liaison assistant which has yet to be filled.

Duff said the numbers of students Franklin College has recruited this school year is the same compared to last year, but there have been noticeable challenges due to COVID-19.

“We can’t go to college fairs or meet counselors and students like before, so we’ve had to be creative,” Duff said. “We’ve had to develop stronger connections with the counselors who have direct contact with the students, to be put into contact with them.”

Prather said the amount of one-to-one outreach has been increased in admissions. Athletic recruiting in particular has historically been successful at the college because it is modeled that way.

Prather said there was a time where the college relied heavily on technology. But the decision to come to Franklin College is typically based on the connections that high school students make with people on campus, like faculty members, coaches and staff members.

“Every aspect has its place but at the end of the day, like almost everything we do on campus, it’s a people business. And so I just think we have that awareness,” Prather said.

Duff said admissions needed a full staff to battle the setbacks COVID-19 has caused, which is why there have been so many recent hires. But Duff said the team has meshed together well.

“We all get along, laugh and work well together,” Duff said. “From what I’ve been told the culture here is completely different now than what it used to be.”

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