After 13 years of working within the Stony Brook University community, Stefan Hyman was appointed to the position of Assistant Provost for Enrollment Strategies, Communications and Analytics at the beginning of the year.
In this new position, Hyman said he is striving to implement new plans to improve enrollment and student success. Right now, he oversees undergraduate admissions and the university’s social media accounts. He also looks into special projects, which are determined through analyzing principles and patterns of data.
And his partnerships with faculty, academic advising, administration and the new Academic Assessment Task Force, of which Hyman is a member, all allow him to tailor his department’s approaches toward student desires and necessities.
Most prominently over the past few weeks, Hyman was measuring student feedback regarding course formats and offerings for the upcoming summer session.
“I was immediately struck by how many students said ‘we really want online classes,’ and it makes a lot of sense,” he said.
In an effort to comply with this request, the Summer Online Teaching Initiative is in motion.
“This is a way to try and build more online courses that will help students satisfy more degree requirements and hopefully graduate on time,” Hyman explained.
Adding online summer classes to Stony Brook’s repertoire is not the only new initiative Hyman is involved in—he also is working to develop Inside Stony Brook, a private Facebook application for accepted students that was piloted last year.
“The idea was to allow newly admitted students to be able to have a private sector where they could make a great support network of friends who can really help them build a bond within each other and within the university,” he said, “which will encourage more to stay and graduate.”
As part of the NYSUNY 2020 bill, enrollment at SBU is set to increase by approximately 1.2 percent each year for about five years. In preparing for this continued growth, Hyman said he intends to maximize success by establishing projects that facilitate the expected influx of students in areas of high demand.
“I’m going to continue to really put in place strategies and, based on those strategies, tactics, to help recruit and enroll top students, excellent students, students from a broad set of backgrounds and students who are going to be successful at this university.”
To provide students with the best programs and opportunities, Hyman and his staff members often use social media outlets to assess student responses.
With some help from students, they manage all of the university’s accounts on a daily basis, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the recently added Tumblr and Pinterest pages.
Hyman, who himself has a great interest in the Internet and its modern technologies, found his passion for administrative duties while working at Stony Brook as a graduate assistant after achieving a bachelor’s degree in musical studies and a master’s degree in music history.
“I found a real passion for helping users, helping people at all different levels, finding information on websites and overall just helping users to have better experiences,” he said. “ I would say that gradually this led me to take on a larger role at the university eight years ago in undergraduate admissions and then that gradually increased and led me to where I am now.”
Currently, Hyman continues to pursue his interests in music and education, typically teaching one course each semester through the Honors College or the music department.
As for his new role within the university, Hyman expressed excitement.
“I’m really thankful to be in this position and I think I have a lot to contribute. I’m most encouraged by the support system that we already have in place and the dedication of a lot of faculty and staff to help foster the most beneficial student experiences as we can at this university,” Hyman said.