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NABEP Summer Conference Shares 'Inside Baseball' Strategies with Enrollment Professionals at MC

Lee McCarty, center, president of the Forest/Raleigh Division of Community Bank, visits with Mississippi College enrollment professionals after his NABEP 2023 Summer Conference presentation.
Lee McCarty, center, president of the Forest/Raleigh Division of Community Bank, visits with Mississippi College enrollment professionals after his NABEP 2023 Summer Conference presentation.

Dozens of enrollment professionals from Baptist colleges and universities across the Southeast gathered at Mississippi College July 17-19 to hear industry leaders share their insights about an array of academic recruitment topics.

The baseball-themed National Association of Baptist Enrollment Professionals’ 2023 Summer Conference, “The Big Leagues,” featured educational and training sessions for new and seasoned enrollment officers, networking and team-building opportunities, vendor presentations, and worship and devotion time.

Participating institutions included Blue Mountain Christian University, Boyce College, Dallas Baptist University, Hardin-Simmons University, Louisiana Christian University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Ouachita Baptist University, and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Angie Hardin, MC director of admissions and enrollment operations and NABEP chair, said the event provided an exceptional opportunity to showcase MC’s beautiful campus and unmatched hospitality to fellow enrollment professionals.

“The feedback we have received about the conference has been incredible,” Hardin said. “They were enthralled with our campus. We had a wonderful time serving these colleagues and showing them what we have to offer our students here at MC.”

More than a dozen admissions staff from Mississippi College are NABEP members, including Josi Anthony, MC coordinator of enrollment communications, who serves as the association’s secretary.

Brad McMullan, an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and founder and CEO of, an international mobile technology company focusing on mobile app development and mass texting for businesses and organizations, served as a plenary speaker for the conference.

Named to the “Top in Tech” list of influential technology leaders by the Business Journal, McMullan urged conference attendees to meet prospective students and parents “where they are” by understanding the different generational experiences they have encountered and identifying what connects them – today’s mobile technology.

He also recommended they become familiar with what he calls “potentially the most disruptive innovation since the smartphone” – ChatGPT.

“ChatGPT can be used to provide educational resources to people of all ages,” McMullan said. “It can create interactive marketing experiences that engage and inform. It can be used to conduct research, collect data, analyze information, and create reports. It can create art and generate images, music, and videos. It’s amazing technology. But it has some cons, too.

“Few of us understand the ramifications of this resource. As you navigate ChatGPT in what you do as a university, what you do in recruitment, and what you do when it comes to ministry, you need to keep this in mind. This is an ever-growing sphere of technology that is getting updated every day. Don’t put your head in the sand. Learn it, embrace it, and utilize it as a tool for your ministry and your school.”

Hardin praised McMullan for his “timely” presentation.

“His knowledge is unbelievable,” she said. “His message was spot-on, what we as enrollment professionals need to hear.”

Professional development sessions were presented by other industry leaders, including Dr. Phil Cook, National Association of Christian College Admissions Personnel president: “Attracting and Retaining the Next Generation of Enrollment Leadership;” Josh Champ, assistant director of recruiting at UMHB: “Becoming a CHAMPION of Travel Season;” Adam Roate, director of Christian School Partnerships, CLT: “Recruiting Classically Educated Students;” Will Brantley of College Raptor: “How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge;” Lee McCarty, president of the Forest/Raleigh Division of Community Bank: “How to Chase the Deal;” and Jonathan Ambrose, associate vice president for the student experience and dean of students at MC, “Post-Pandemic Gen Z: Today’s Students.”

Breakout sessions also included Clark Higher Ed’s “The A-Z Enrollment Management Checklist: Fundamental Strategies for Comprehensive Coverage,” DegreeSight’s “Down the Funnel: An Intro to Admissions Counseling” and “The Rising Necessity of Credit Calculators,” College Raptor’s “Financial Aid 101 and How to Communicate Value,” Carnegie’s “Your Search is Over: Redefining and Redesigning Student Search for the Future,” and Enrollment Fuel’s “The Great Resignation: How to Retain Your Best Rising Leaders in Enrollment Management.”

“These sessions presented the latest and greatest ideas from these experts,” Hardin said, “but they also provided an opportunity for participants to spend time with team members from mission-fit institutions who see the same obstacles in their jobs every day. It was a spectacular opportunity to get to know others from like-minded colleges and learn from their experiences.”

She said conference attendees had plenty of fun as well. Round-table discussions were organized by experience levels, from “T-Ball” – freshmen recruiters with less than two years of full travel experience – to “Minor League” – freshman recruiters with more than two years of experience – and “Major League” – all deans and directors. They included a “Bull Pen” for all non-recruiters and a “Transfer Portal” for transfer recruiters.

Even the conference cuisine matched the theme.

“During one of the sessions, meals were geared around baseball food,” Hardin said. “Baseball made a great theme and fit perfectly with what we wanted to present. Everyone had a great time.”

Hardin hopes the informative and fun-filled conference will encourage enrollment professionals from additional Baptist colleges and universities to participate in the organization.

“It was an honor to host this incredible event,” she said. “We had tremendous support. About 80 enrollment professionals, sponsors, and session leaders attended, and we look forward to seeing that participation increase in the coming years.”

Established nearly two decades ago, the NABEP is a Christ-centered organization that promotes professional development among all member institutions. The educational division of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities supports and encourages fellowship among enrollment professionals as they pursue their calling in the field of Christian higher education.