Neal joins MVNU as Director of GPS Enrollment

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University President Dr. Carson Castleman is pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Neal as the Director of Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) Enrollment, effective Feb. 12, 2024.

Neal comes to MVNU with a successful history in recruiting for nontraditional learning and leading teams of recruiters that includes eight years of growing and marketing graduate and professional programs for fellow Nazarene schools.

Having obtained her master’s in organizational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2018, Neal served at TNU and Motlow State Community College as adjunct faculty, as well as TNU’s associate director of enrollment until May of 2020. From there, she went on to serve as the director of enrollment and marketing at Southern Nazarene University.

“I have had a love for higher education from my very first college experience,” said Neal. “I just loved the opportunities that come with education, and I love helping students achieve their goals and helping them to be successful. I also really love adult learners and hearing their stories as to why they want to go back to school, obstacles they’ve had to overcome to get there or hearing their purpose behind wanting to pursue their degrees.”

As director of SGPS enrollment, Neal will lead the enrollment team; develop and implement initiatives to increase inquiries, conversion rates and enrollment; review and adapt admissions team processes and systems; oversee GPS marketing strategies and plans; and partner with the director of traditional enrollment on joint admissions efforts, among other duties.

While the bulk of Neal’s experience has been in GPS enrollment, it is her role as an adjunct professor that she thinks gives her a unique perspective.

“I’ve gotten to know students who are on a similar journey to the ones in the programs we’re promoting. Just being in that space and understanding what the students are looking for, and what they need, can help with what I bring to the table in this new role,” said Neal.

Neal is passionate about Christian higher education and believes the Christ-centered community of MVNU creates a distinct experience for not only learners, but faculty as well.

“What drew me to MVNU is the opportunity to come and help, and to do so in a Christian environment. I think that the experience that you get with this culture is amazing,” said Neal. “My short-term goals would be that I would get to know MVNU, the people, and really become acquainted with the culture. Long term goals would be to promote growth within the university, provide stability, and to add to the amazing culture that I already know is there.”

Neal will report to the Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing Johnna Vanover.

“This is a very critical hire. Rachel has a really strong track record in non-traditional enrollment and marketing,” said Vanover. “Due to the leadership that she has and knowledge that she has, and again awesome track record, [this] really sets her up to be successful. Her experience at Trevecca and SNU was a great foundation for her to do really well within this role. She’ll be leading enrollment counselors and also the non-traditional marketing, and she’s been doing that for years now.”

Neal lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Andy, and their two children, Clayton (11) and Andrew (9).

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to nearly 2,000 students from 25 states and 11 foreign countries.

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