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Meet CUPPA’s New Student Recruiter, Jim Rohde

Jim Rohde, Associate Director of Student Recruitment and Marketing

For Jim Rohde, student recruitment is nothing new. Indeed, it’s something that stretches back as far as his own undergraduate experience, when he worked as an intern in the admissions office at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, calling prospective students to ensure they knew what they might expect from the university. Rohde now brings more than a decade’s worth of experience to CUPPA, as he settles into a new role as associate director of recruitment and marketing, there to ensure existing UIC students and others not yet connected to the university know what CUPPA has to offer.

“I had a great experience with my college recruiter who had a big impact on where I went to school, and I wanted to be able to do that for others,” Rohde said. “Recognizing the need students have to obtain as much information as possible about college before making this important decision is something I can relate to and being able to do that for other students is really why I enjoy this type of work.”

Before coming to CUPPA, Rohde worked for more than a decade at DePaul University, serving as both admissions counselor and as assistant director of transfer recruitment and admission. There are a lot of overlapping qualities at both universities that Rohde knows well, particularly the special feeling that students often feel when attending college right in the heart of the city. Rodhe is excited to bring that extensive knowledge to CUPPA and says there’s lots of novel opportunities the college presents that allow him to go further in this work.

With an undergraduate population close to 22,000 students at UIC and many of those undecided in their major, Rohde also sees great chances to communicate with students already within the university who may not know of the opportunities that CUPPA has to offer. Rohde is eager to help students learn more about the college’s accelerated master’s degree programs, with many undergrads ready and eager to pursue post-secondary education and able to do so without leaving UIC. One way he plans to reach these students is through a series called Majors, Minors, and Movies, where CUPPA undergrads will mix and mingle with other students while watching a film. The series began with a screening of the 2020 film The Trial of the Chicago 7. As the only UIC college north of Interstate 290, Rohde knows that students might need that extra push to venture somewhere on campus they haven’t seen before, but is optimistic that students will fall in love with the college once they know what it offers.

Rohde says that CUPPA has plenty to offer students who are curious about the robust research centers that allow students to connect to faculty making tangible changes in their fields. More than anything else, UIC’s lower cost of admission, placing it in the top ten universities nationwide in terms of value, according to Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, is something that Rohde is excited to share with students.

“I greatly appreciate UIC’s commitment to accessible education and how many ways there are to help finance your education here,” Rohde said. “I think many of us that have worked in higher ed for a while know there are things about this process that we wish we had known when we were going through that process, so I want to help make sure students I work with have those answers.”

As an undergraduate, Rohde studied political science, and had the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C. with Wisconsin Congressman Steve Kagen. That experience is one that’s helped him appreciate what programs that CUPPA offers, knowing that a degree in public policy is one that could have a tremendous impact on many students’ future career pathways. His other intern experiences during his undergraduate experience, working closely with the college’s admissions department, have also placed him on a longstanding journey to bring others into different university spaces, a passion that carried over into his work at DePaul and now to UIC.

After graduating from St. Norbert’s, Rohde also spent several years in the U.S. Army, including a stint deployed as a platoon leader in Iraq. Doing a lot of work with veterans at DePaul, Rohde often encouraged these students to enroll as transfer students, seeking out people who might not have known about the university and bringing them into opportunities they might not have had otherwise. It’s a mentality that he’s eager to continue at UIC, knowing that there are countless people in the world whose lives might be transformed by a CUPPA degree who don’t even know that the college is already here, waiting for them to enroll.

“I am very much aware of how [different policy areas] intersect, their importance, as well as the need for the best, most committed, and most engaged people to work in these fields as future leaders,” Rohde said. “My hope is that I can find students who are looking to make an impact on their communities and the world by realizing how, even if we don’t recognize it, people in these fields are leaders who make a tremendous impact on our daily lives.”