MSU Denver

Mission Statement

To provide an inspiring and supportive environment for MSU Denver graduate program professionals to learn, develop and integrate new skills and knowledge into building self-sustaining and thriving graduate programs.

Welcome to the Grad Lab

Announcing the 2021-22 University-wide Grad Lab Series!

Last year, the Office of Social Work Student Services, Finance and Administration (OSWSS) piloted the Grad Lab to support new programs within the College of Health and Applied Sciences. We are excited to extend support to all MSU Denver graduate programs as we pilot the second year within the Office of Graduate Studies.

Grad Lab fosters collaborative and educational space to support each stage of development for graduate programs. Our primary goal is to help programs develop sustainable systems to support strategic graduate enrollment management across the student lifecycle.

Grad Lab supports program-level design of tailored systems and processes that work in concert with the Office of Graduate Studies and other University partners.

With a focus on systems at the graduate program level, the Grad Lab fosters a team culture where strategic partnerships and intentional development of staff, resources, and systems provide graduate programs foundations upon which to grow and thrive. The OSWSS Team brings ten years of successful experience and lessons learned from strategic graduate enrollment management practice. You can learn more about the Grad Lab’s offerings and services below!

Grad Lab Services

Work-SHOP Series

These 90-minute sessions will include a brief overview that includes the basics/foundational elements of the topic followed by Q&A and hands-on demonstrations.

Our Fall Semester Work-SHOPs will focus on Strategic Graduate Enrollment Management (S-GEM) Basics and Goal Setting while our Spring Semester Work-SHOPs will focus on building systems and programming across the student lifespan (from prospect through alumni engagement).

All Work-SHOPs will be offered virtually, recorded, and available on this website.

Pit Stops

These are open forums for collaboration and problem solving, designed to provide focused skill building tailored to programs.

Tune Ups (One-on-One Consultations)

Fill out our one-on-one consultation request form and we will get you connected with the right person on our team to set up a meeting!

Work-SHOP Series Part I - Getting Grounded

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 1: An Introduction to Strategic Graduate Enrollment Management

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 2: Goal Setting and Strategic Planning

Work-SHOP Series Part II - Touring the Lifespan and Integrated Operations Model

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 3: Marketing & Recruiting

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 4: Identifying, Defining & Optimizing Your Admissions Funnel

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 5: Developing Advising Services

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 6: Academic Progress Monitoring and Management

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 7: Budgeting & Resource Management

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 8: Accounting Practices

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Workshop 9: Alumni & Community Partnerships

Meet the Grad Lab Team

Powered by the Office of Social Work Student Services, Operations & Finance (OSWSS), each member works within various areas of the integrated operations model across the student life cycle.

Amy Middleton, M.S.

Amy Middleton, M.S.

Director, Office of Social Work Student Services, Operations & Finance | Grad Lab Director & Data Architect

Full Cycle Strategy & Oversight

[email protected]
Bailee Bannon Murray, M.A.

Bailee Bannon Murray, M.A.

Associate Director of Student Services, OSWSS | Grad Lab Facilitator

Student Services Full Strategy & Oversight (from Marketing & Recruiting through Alumni Engagement)

[email protected]
Caitlin Plamp, M.S.

Caitlin Plamp, M.S.

Marketing & Admissions Coordinator, OSWSS | Grad Lab Facilitator

Marketing & Recruiting, Admissions, Enrollment Forecasting & Management

[email protected]
Claire Alfus, M.A.

Claire Alfus, M.A.

Graduate Advising Services Coordinator, OSWSS | Grad Lab Facilitator

Advising & Retention, Graduation, Alumni Engagement

[email protected]
Melissa Grogan Gore, M.A.

Melissa Grogan Gore, M.A.

Associate Director of Operations and Finance, OSWSS | Grad Lab Facilitator

Budget Forecasting & Management, Advising & Retention

[email protected]
AJ Alejano-Steele

AJ Alejano-Steele, Ph.D.

Interim Associate Vice President, Office of Graduate Studies

OGS Full Cycle Strategy & Oversight

[email protected]
Enrico Dominguez

Enrico Dominguez

Program Marketing Manager, Office of Graduate Studies

OGS Marketing & Recruiting

[email protected]
Crystal Annan

Crystal Annan

Director of Recruitment, Admissions, and Student Support Initiatives, Office of Graduate Studies

OGS Marketing & Recruiting, OGS Admissions, OGS Enrollment Forecasting & Management

[email protected]
Chip Hagen

Chip Hagan

Financial Analysis Manager, Office of Graduate Studies

OGS Budget Forecasting & Management, OGS Enrollment Forecasting & Management

[email protected]

Work-SHOP Recordings

Coming soon! We will provide links to Work-SHOP recordings after each event.

Integrated Operations Across the Student Lifespan

Strategic Graduate Enrollment Management (S-GEM) is an integrated, interdependent model that spans across the complete student lifecycle and is strategically linked to budget management (Connor, LaFave & Balayen, 2011). At the graduate level, creating a full-service graduate enrollment management (GEM) student lifecycle support operation team with knowledge-based expertise in enrollment planning, data analytics, budgeting, advising, registering students, and financial aid is critical to both programmatic and institutional viability (Williams, 2008). Staff are cross-trained in multiple areas of the student lifecycle such as career counseling, academic advising, financial aid and degree audits while strategically analyzing data on current, prospective, and developing markets (Connor, LaFave, Balayen, 2011).

A visualization of a life span and integrated interdependent approach. There are two circles, one within the other. The outer circle has two labels on it, one on the left Budget Forecasting & Mgmt. and one on the right reading Enrollment Forecasting & Mgmt. The inner circle has five labels which read, going clockwise starting at the top, Marketing & Recruiting, Admissions, Advising & Retention, Graduation, and Alumni Engagement.

2020-2021 Open Lab Recordings

Program Development & Integrated Operations Toolkit

Grad Lab Current State Profile (Program Development & Integrated Operations)

Grad Admissions for Grad Programs Definitions (Admissions)

Breaking It Down: S-GEM Basics (Enrollment Management)

Supporting Students Across the Lifespan (Enrollment Management)

Resource Library

GEM Resources (Enrollment Management)
Source: NAGAP
Referenced in Open Lab: Grad Admissions for Grad Programs

Successful Strategies for Recruiting Adult, Online, and Graduate Students (Marketing & Recruiting, Admissions, Enrollment Management)
Source: Presented at the 2019 NAGAP Annual Conference by Brian Connelly, Kayla Manning, and Stephanie L. Franks Helwich
Referenced in Open Lab: Grad Admissions for Grad Programs

The 5 Key Stages of College Enrollment (Marketing & Recruiting, Admissions, Enrollment Management)
Source: EAB
Referenced in Open Lab: Grad Admissions for Grad Programs

The Enrollment Funnel: Better Results Start with the Prospects You Already Have (Marketing & Recruiting, Admissions, Enrollment Management)
Source: ICEF Monitor
Referenced in Open Lab: Grad Admissions for Grad Programs

Overlooked Inefficiencies in Admissions That Can Impact Yield (Marketing & Recruiting, Admissions, S-GEM)
Source: AACRAO
Referenced in Open Lab: Grad Admissions for Grad Programs

Webinar: From Invisible to Invaluable – Reimagining Your Internal GEM Marketing (Program Development & Integrated Operations)
Source: NAGAP
Referenced in Open Lab: An Introduction to Graduate Enrollment Management

Webinar: Houston, We Have A Problem… Using Lean Methods to Create Efficiencies and Find Solutions in Higher Education (Program Development & Integrated Operations)
Source: NAGAP
Presented by Grad Lab team members Amy Middleton, Bailee Bannon Murray, Caitlin Plamp, and Claire Alfus


Connor, C.S., LaFave, J. and Balayan, A. (2017). Integrated interdependence: The emergence of graduate enrollment management (GEM). NAGAP’s Research and Global Issues Committee, NAGAP White Paper. Retrieved August 2018 from

Williams, K. (2008). Graduate enrollment management: Leading the way to EM’s future. College and University, 83(4), 55-58.