Leader of the Pack
April 03, 2017
Admissions Director Sharla Adam has a true passion for ASU and is one of the prime forces behind the university’s dramatically increasing enrollment.
For her role in ASU’s record fall 2016 enrollment and her leadership in implementing an off-site dual credit program that was a direct contributor to it, Adam recently received the 2016-17 Chancellor’s Colonel Rowan Award for Execution. The award annually recognizes an ASU staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized by your peers and administration,” Adam said. “When you look at the list of people nominated with you, you go, ‘I shouldn’t even be on here.’ It was very humbling and an honor just to be nominated.”
“I don’t feel like I deserve it,” she continued. “I know what it takes from all of us to get it done, and the success we’ve seen is because everyone has truly pitched in and made this a great place to be.”
ASU has been the place for Adam to be almost continuously since she was a teenager. A 1983 ASU graduate, she was an Angelette and cheerleader as a student. After earning her master’s from Texas Tech University, she led the forensics teams and taught basic communication courses for nine years in the ASU Communication and Mass Media Department.
Seeking to expand her horizons, Adam then took a short break from ASU to serve as director of the Children’s Miracle Network at San Angelo’s Shannon Medical Center, where her passion for marketing and recruiting really took form. She returned to ASU almost four years ago.
“A year after leaving CMN I knew I needed a new challenge,” Adam said. “I thought of some opportunities that might be available at ASU and wanted to come home again. You don’t often get the chance to come home again, and it worked out well.”
“I know everybody is going to have a different kind of experience when they come and step on campus. They don’t have to have my experience, but when they walk off, I want every single person to be able to say, ‘That was incredible!’”
Just how well it has worked out is epitomized by ASU’s record fall 2016 enrollment of 9,581 students that included the largest freshman class ever at 1,583. The off-site dual credit program now boasts more than 2,300 students.
But rather than taking all the credit, Adam is quick to deflect.
“I think Dr. May, when he came on board as president, set in motion this idea of the Ram Family,” Adam said. “There were components of it when I was in school here and when I taught here, but it has profoundly increased with him being president. I think the record growth in enrollment is a function of that culture.”
“Everyone across campus has bought into truly focusing on the students,” she added, “and because of that, there’s a buzz that’s happening – more excitement. I’m just a tiny piece in the big picture of what is ASU.”
Also getting kudos from Adam are the staff in the Office of Admissions and Office of Enrollment Management, including the admissions counselors who logged nearly 35,000 miles on the recruitment trail last fall.
“I am grateful to have a team that is inspired to truly help students,” Adam said. “They’re as passionate about ASU and our students as I am, and that makes it really easy to be in the position that I’m in.”
“It’s our job and privilege to share the successes that everyone has on campus with prospective students,” she added. “It’s so easy to talk about Angelo State and all we have to offer because we have so many good things happening – faculty accomplishments, student successes, fantastic facilities and dominant athletic programs. We want to take new students and bring them into our Ram Family, help them succeed and get them started on their next adventure.”
Looking ahead, Adam is working to continue the enrollment growth by targeting prospective students through new video and mobile initiatives. And one thing is guaranteed, her enthusiasm and love for ASU will continue to shine through to prospective new members of the Ram Family.
“I love this place,” Adam said. “I know everybody is going to have a different kind of experience when they come and step on campus. They don’t have to have my experience, but when they walk off, I want every single person to be able to say, ‘That was incredible!’”