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Photo of Debbie Below

Dr. Deborah Below

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success
Office: Academic Hall 138

Dr. Deborah Below serves as the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success and the Dean of Students at Southeast Missouri State University.

The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success serves as a member of the President’s executive staff and provides administration and leadership for 21 campus departments that are responsible for academic support, auxiliary services, co-curricular programs, enrollment development, student development and student governance.

Dr. Below leads the strategic enrollment management planning process to develop immediate and long-term goals relative to the size, quality, diversity and success of the student body. The strategic enrollment management process is also used to measure progress toward goals through a transparent process that is shared with internal and external stakeholders.

As Dean of Students, Dr. Below is responsible for administering the code of student conduct and compliance with federal Title IX regulations, reviewing judicial appeals, responding to complaints, monitoring students of concern and coordinating programs to support student development, health and safety.

Dr. Below earned two degrees from Southeast Missouri State University, including the Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication (1990) and the Master of Science in Administration degree in Public Administration (1994). She entered the admissions profession in 1990 as an admission counselor at Southeast. For four years, she served the university in a variety of capacities including acting director of admissions and acting assistant director of residence life. In her role as admission counselor, Dr. Below developed a program to attract National Merit Scholars to Southeast. Her efforts earned National Merit Scholarship designation for the university in 1993-94.

In 1994, Dr. Below left Southeast to become the Director of Admissions at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri. In 1995, she was named Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. At Jefferson, she supervised recruitment, admissions, financial aid, scholarship, and orientation programs. The Jefferson County School Counselors’ Association presented Dr. Below with the Outstanding Service Award in 2000 in recognition of her efforts to increase access to postsecondary education.

Dr. Below received a gubernatorial appointment to the Missouri Commission on the Affordability of Higher Education from Governor Mel Carnahan in 1999. She served as the only financial aid administrator appointed to the Commission and was appointed as chairperson of the Commission’s Student Financial Aid Subcommittee, comprised of university presidents, chief financial officers and business leaders. The commission’s findings pertaining to cost containment, state budget policy, pricing strategy, financial access and consumer information were released in a report, “Toward and Affordable Future: Report of the Missouri Commission on the Affordability of Higher Education.”

Dr. Below has served on numerous state-level committees coordinated by the Missouri Department of Higher Education including the Administrative Advisory Board (2000-2003), Systems Workflow Group (2001-2002), Advantage Missouri Program Advisory Council (1998-2002), Default Prevention Taskforce Legislative Subcommittee (1999-2000) and the Cost and Pricing Index Committee (1999-2000).

In 2002, Dr. Below rejoined the admissions team at Southeast as the Director of Admissions and earned progressively increasing levels of responsibility. Her roles have included Director of Enrollment Management, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. She also continued to serve as Director of Admissions until she was promoted by the Board of Regents to Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success and Dean of Students, effective January 1, 2013.

In 2004, Dr. Below earned her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Missouri. Her dissertation topic, the persistence of four-year, public college students by ethnicity, underscores her interest in serving underrepresented student populations. As a former financial aid director, Dr. Below understands and respects the role of financial aid in student success. She has presented financial aid information at more than 200 high school financial aid programs and has managed the University’s financial literacy campaign.

Dr. Below is a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO) and Missouri Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (MACRAO). She served on the AACRAO faculty from 2008 to 2012, where she taught the recruitment and marketing module for an online professional development course. In 2012, Dr. Below served as the President of MACRAO.

She was also a longtime member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and Missouri Association for College Admission Counseling. She served on the national committee in 2010 that was responsible for hosting the NACAC Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

Additional professional affiliations include the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American College Personnel Association and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Dr. Below resides with her husband, George, and her son, Ryan, in Oak Ridge, Missouri.


Academic Hall 138
Division of Enrollment Management & Student Success
One University Plaza, MS 3500
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701