Carrie Stanley joins Henderson as Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services and Admissions


Henderson State University alumnae Carrie Stanley recently returned to her alma mater to serve as associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Services and Admissions. Get to know Stanley and learn about her plans for recruiting the next generation of Henderson students.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Arkadelphia. I graduated from Arkadelphia High School, where I met my husband, Andrew. We have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, Rubi Gayle, who is our whole world. I’m a fourth-generation Reddie, so I’ve been a Reddie my entire life. I graduated from Henderson with my bachelor's in business marketing in 2018 and then went on to get a master's in student affairs administration from Arkansas Tech in 2022.

As a Henderson alum, what excites you the most about serving as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services and Admissions?

Well, you know what they say… “There’s no place like home” -- and I am beyond excited and happy to be back home.

But, most importantly, I’m very excited to be able to continue sharing my love and passion for Henderson with prospective students and their families in hopes that one day they, too, will share that same love for Henderson.

What do you believe potential students are most interested in at Henderson? What are Henderson’s strongest selling points?

Aside from our wide variety of degree programs and educational opportunities, I think many students are interested in being part of the Reddie Family. Instead of getting lost in the shuffle, like some feel happens on a larger college campus, Reddies are met with warm and welcoming staff, caring faculty, and a student body full of life-long friendships. At Henderson, students are more than just a number. They are family.

Personally, I think that’s one of Henderson’s strongest selling points. Being the most affordable four-year public institution in the state means that we can provide students with an affordable and quality education.

What strategies do you believe are most effective for recruiting and retaining students?

I believe that there are two important factors in recruiting and retaining students. One is relationships — building and maintaining relationships with students, their families, and community partners is key. We intend to ensure that every student we engage with understands why we call ourselves the School With a Heart and what it truly means to be part of the Reddie Family.

Two: Meeting students where they are. We must let go of this idea that reaching students can be done the same way it always has. We need to get creative in our outreach efforts and try new strategies. For example, we’ve already seen an increase in student response by texting students more than calling. Calling campaigns have been one of our main ways of communicating with students. The students we are trying to reach are always on their phones, but they don’t want to answer a call from someone they don’t know. However, they will answer a quick text.

How do you plan to approach building relationships with high schools, community colleges, and other institutions?

One of our approaches will be to simply be more present and helpful, including: being more present by visiting schools often; working closely with counselors and other school partners; providing simple processes and clear communication; and volunteering to help with high school/community college events. Additionally, we intend to create partnerships that provide students with not only opportunities to engage with our faculty and staff, but also provide students with a wide variety of experiences where they can create fun and exciting memories for years to come.

Many on campus know that transfer and non-traditional students are near and dear to my heart, and I’m hopeful that we can create more transfer pathway opportunities with ASU System two-year institutions, as well as others nearby.

In your opinion, what are the most significant challenges facing admissions offices today, and how would you address them?

One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with constantly changing trends. What interests students is always changing, and what works for one group of students might not work for another. Navigating through trend changes and increasing prospective student engagement will always be tough, but we acknowledge and accept the challenge and intend to overcome it.

Another challenge that admissions offices in Arkansas are facing is the decline in the population of college-going high school students within the state. All of the colleges in Arkansas are now trying to attract a number of students that is growing smaller and smaller each year. To overcome this challenge, it is critical that we begin to think outside the box and implement new recruitment strategies.

How do you plan to enhance the overall experience for prospective students during the admissions process?

One of the things that I’m really excited about is revamping our application process. We plan to make changes to our entire enrollment process, starting with the admissions application and post-application experience, to make it easier than ever for students to apply, get admitted, and then enroll in classes.

We are currently rolling out a new campus visit experience. This includes campus tours, group tours, preview days, and Heart Start (new student orientation) experiences. We’d like to provide a more personalized and engaging experience for every student who steps on our campus.

One of the most important aspects of our jobs as admissions professionals is communication. When communicating with prospective students and their families, we will take a very personalized approach to build and maintain relationships with them and ultimately help guide them through the enrollment process.

More about you! Who (or what) inspires you? And why?

My Boppy (grandfather) inspires me. He came from pretty much nothing. Even though he started out life disadvantaged, he worked hard and continues to work hard to provide a comfortable life and countless opportunities for his family, friends, and community that, without him, we/they wouldn’t have. He chose to go to Henderson because it was close to home and the only school he could afford. So, without Henderson, who knows where he would have ended up? We serve students just like my Boppy each and every day - who dream of going to college to provide a better life for themselves and their families. Without Henderson providing them the opportunity to get a quality college education, some of them might never be able to make their dreams come true.

Please share something about you that most people don’t know and would probably surprise them.

I love heavy metal music. Falling in Reverse and Ice Nine Kills are two of my favorite bands!

What hobbies or other interests keep you occupied when not at work?

When I’m not at work, you can probably find me spending time with my daughter and family. I’m wildly close with all of my family and love to spend time with them as often as I can. I’m also a huge musical nerd. Wicked and Hamilton are my favorite musicals.

What is your favorite Henderson tradition?

My favorite tradition is definitely the Battle of the Ravine. I love the atmosphere on campus during Battle week and I love how the entire community gets involved. I also always love the opportunity to “trash talk” with my friends who are OBU fans. It’s always so much fun!

Overall, what is your favorite memory as a Henderson student?

Actually, my favorite memory as a student was working in the admissions office. There were seven of us who started at the same time. We all worked together in the Call Center, so we managed the university switchboard. We all became friends and spent a lot of time together outside of work. When we were working, we didn’t feel like we were at a job. There were lots of laughs, tons of fun, and many good memories made with them. To this day, most of us still talk and consider each other good friends. I will forever cherish the fun and memories that were made during our time working together.