Pivoting to stay connected with prospective students

Joelle Rankins Goodwin

Editor’s note: Beyond the Call is a new section in Around the O Workplace that highlights the exceptional work of UO employees during COVID-19. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.

Joelle Rankins Goodwin

Senior Associate Director for Recruitment Administration

How long have you worked at the UO?

Eight years

Tell us about your work:

On one hand, I'm an admissions counselor. I have a couple of territories I recruit in, primarily New York and New Jersey. But on the other hand, I supervise the majority of the recruitment team. I ensure we are out there talking to students, recruiting students and any number of other things.

The administrative portion of my title comes in when I work with and supervise our operations person. She manages part of the mail room and sends out materials and booklets to counselors in preparation for meeting with prospective students at college fairs and other events.

What does your workday look like during COVID-19?

The biggest thing in the spring was the admissions counselors were supposed to be out on the road. Back in March, I was on the road in New Jersey doing college fairs and high school visits. I was supposed to be there for two weeks. At the end of the first week, everything with COVID-19 started. So, my trip was cut short by a week and that's what happened across the board with almost all of our admissions counselors.

That first week was a little bit unnerving. I was continuing to go to my high school visits and college fairs throughout the week, but I was also watching the news in the evenings. I was in New Jersey and getting ready to go to New York. There was a town in Westchester, New York—a place that I go to all the time—that had quite a big outbreak. They were talking about people flying or not flying and I really wanted to get home. It was unnerving, but I was also super disappointed to not be able to meet with my admitted students.

What we've had to do is figure out ways to reach those students now that we're all working from home. We did the virtual visits, virtual Duck days and all kinds of things to let students know that we are here. We may not physically be on campus, but we are here to support them and answer any questions they might have.

What is keeping you motivated during this challenging time?

We have 22 counselors and quite a few of them are regional counselors in California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado and Arizona. I sat down with my staff and I said, “Okay, I mean I gotta be truthful with you. This is gonna be hard for me. I don't think that I can work from home.” But I so surprised myself. I feel like the days go by faster and I’m really getting a lot of work done.

But with that said, I miss my staff. Though we have a weekly meeting where I get to see their smiley faces on Zoom, I really do. I miss them terribly and can't wait to get back into the office.

And I love my university. I truly do. I love the University of Oregon, and that's what inspires me. It really makes me admire and appreciate the people that I work with.

Joelle is a part of the Office of Admissions.

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