Saluki Pride: Cara Doerr’s wide-ranging experience assists students, staff

A recent Leading, Empowering, Advocating and Developing (L.E.A.D.) selection, Cara Doerr has been with the university in a variety of roles over her 11 years on campus, allowing her to work on various initiatives. Valerie Brooks Wallin, a chief academic adviser in the College of Health and Human Sciences, notes Doerr “is always on top of her game and always willing to help out wherever she can.” Doerr’s institutional knowledge in a variety of areas makes her a “go-to person for questions.”

Get to know CARA DOERR

Name: Cara Doerr

Department/title: College of Health and Human Sciences / recruitment and retention coordinator.

Years at SIU Carbondale: 11 years

Give us the elevator pitch for your job.

Currently I am a coordinator for recruitment and retention in the College of Health & Human Sciences where I develop, coordinate, execute, and assess enrollment management initiatives for our undergraduate and graduate programs. The programs in CHHS experienced an overall 12% increase in freshman student enrollment and 6% increase in transfer student enrollment! 

What is the favorite part of your job?

I am extremely fortunate to work alongside very talented, caring, and highly motivated faculty and staff.  So many of my colleagues have roots in the region or long standing ties to SIU just like me. When SIU thrives, so do all of our surrounding communities. It is inspiring to see so many people on campus working tirelessly for the success of our students, the university mission, and in turn – for the economic well-being of our communities. Teamwork makes the dream work and everyone on campus is doing his or her part.

Working in different university settings and in various roles has afforded me a diverse skillset. As such, I often get the opportunity to work on initiatives outside the traditional scope of my job – which I really enjoy.

For me, paying for college wasn’t easy and I felt underprepared and intimidated. Supporting all students as they navigate college life, watching them grow and develop into young adults, and getting to be there to see them walk across the stage at commencement before going off into the world to do great things is what I like about my job. Helping underrepresented and low-income students do all of those things is what I love about my job.

Why did you choose SIU?

Having grown up in nearby Murphysboro, I was on campus all the time when I was young. We had school field trips to Morris Library and the International Festival, or I’d be here with my family to watch the Cardboard Boat Regatta and cheer on my sister in the Special Olympics.  In high school, it was for the concerts. I remember getting the worst case of poison ivy walking through Thompson Woods to watch George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars. I even started my education at SIU in the early 1980s when I attended preschool here – the Child Study Cooperative Nursery School run by Shirley Dunagan in a house on the west side of campus. 

I started working at SIU in 2004 as extra help in the Provost’s Office before working in the Office of Continuing Education. I spent several years at Saint Louis University working in student affairs and graduate education and later at the University of Illinois where I worked in financial aid for fellow Saluki Dan Mann. When my husband’s job relocated us to Southern Illinois in 2013, I returned to SIU where I worked in financial aid and then as the business manager in the former College of Applied Sciences and Arts. In 2018, I shifted to recruitment and retention with roles in enrollment management, applied sciences and arts, undergraduate admissions. I’m currently in the College of Health & Human Sciences.

I’m happiest when I am …

With my children Will, Max, and Elizabeth. Outside on a sunny day messing with my plants and around the yard.  I’m really into antiques and old furniture and love to go antiquing.

At the top of my “bucket list’ is to … and why

I would love to spend a year traveling the world.

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