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Meet Calvin Wise

Calvin Wise
Johns Hopkins University

How did you become the Director of Recruitment at Johns Hopkins? What made you decide to get into this field?

Not unlike many admissions professionals, I started my career at my alma mater, St. Mary’s College of Maryland. After two years, I was trying to figure out if higher education could be a career for me. To find that answer, I realized I need to see how enrollment management differed at another institution. Johns Hopkins broadened my perspective and solidified my desire to remain in the field. I think gaining perspective is so important in our profession. Since coming to Hopkins, I have identified areas of interest, and, through extremely supportive leadership, been able to explore those.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I really enjoy seeing an incoming class come together. From the recruitment to the selection to matriculation, it’s pretty cool to know you have be a part of a building a learning community.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?

I mentioned earlier that building perspective is so important in our profession and NACAC is a great resource. I remember my first NACAC conference vividly. It was in Baltimore during my first year in the admission field. I was initially overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and sessions. After the first day, that overwhelmed feeling subsided and was replaced with excitement. This was the first time I really saw the breadth of our profession and the “admission as a career” seed was sown.

I also want to put a quick plug in for NACAC’s Knowledge Center and the Step by Step: College Awareness and Planning for Families Counselors and Communities guide. I use these great resources frequently for staff training and student programming.

How did you get involved with NACAC’s Guiding the Way to Inclusion conference?

After my first year in the admission field, I applied for and received an Imagine Grant to attend GWI. For those that are unfamiliar with the conference, GWI offers enrollment and admission professionals an opportunity to explore issues pertaining to campus diversity and multicultural recruitment. In my opinion, the national conference is great for breadth, while GWI is all about depth.

I think we have all attended a session at a conference where we were disappointed that the conversation had to end. At GWI, the conversation always continues. It spills over to related sessions and small group discussions. If you are looking to revamp or ramp up your diversity efforts, I highly recommend attending or sending staff to the conference.

I have also met some of my closest professional friends through GWI. They are the people I call when I need to bounce ideas or talk through best practices. Five (this year will be my sixth!) conferences later, it still feels like a big family reunion when we get together.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?

I love spending time with my family. My wife is my hero and my sons (ages 1 and 2) are my motivation. As a lifelong Marylander, I love crabs and the Baltimore Ravens. As a wise man once said, “Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland does!”

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?

I would be the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I grew up watching the show and always thought Will Smith was the man.

Describe yourself in five words.

Friendly, Thoughtful, Determined, Outgoing, Collaborative

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I just want to encourage professionals, especially those early on in their career, to take advantage of every opportunity possible. I have benefitted greatly from experiences covering events for my colleagues; helping on projects; and going out of my way to make a connection. I guarantee those skills, conversations, and connections will be worthwhile in the long run.   

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