The University of Montana is kicking off the semester by hiring a new associate vice president for enrollment management, who will begin her duties on Sept. 23 of 2020, according to the University of Montana’s website.

Mary Kreta is coming to UM straight from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), where she has served as its vice chancellor for student enrollment since 2018. She also spent several years at UAF before becoming vice chancellor, as both the recruitment and the admissions director and as an admissions counselor, according to her story located on UM’s website.

According to Director of Communications Paula Short, UM is excited to bring her on the staff due to her experience and understanding of the recruitment process. Short also stated that Kreta will be a major contribution toward moving the University past its enrollment crisis.

“She understands where our University has been with enrollment challenges and the work we’ve done in recent years,” Short wrote in an email. “And she’ll bring a new lens and ideas for how to shape enrollment management moving forward.”

UM has struggled to recruit and retain students for the past decade, reporting an enrollment drop of 40% from a record 10,567 in 2011 to 6,321 in 2019, according to previous Kaimin reporting. Spring 2020 enrollment was another decline, with 5,789 undergrad students enrolled, according to UM’s Spring 2020 census report.

UAF, comparatively, saw an almost 26% enrollment decrease from 2011 to 2019, according to data used by the President of University of Alaska’s presentation in January of 2020. The Kaimin has reached out to Kreta, who has not yet responded.

As the associate VP for enrollment management, Kreta will focus on the University’s financial aid, alumni outreach and admissions, according to UM’s website.

She is taking the place of former VP for Enrollment and Communications Cathy Cole, who resigned after only two years at the University of Montana to take a position at Simpson College in Iowa. Short and UM’s Vice Provost Sarah Swager have temporarily taken over the position’s duties and will continue to do so until Kreta’s arrival in September.

Some of the people who interviewed Kreta said she will be a great addition to UM’s staff.

“I’m hearing from those who have had the opportunity to visit with Mary describe her as very knowledgeable, passionate about students and higher education and a collaborative leader,” Short wrote. “We look forward to Mary’s arrival on campus next month!”