October 20, 1998

Enrollment campaign declared a success

by Josh Renaud
of The Current staff

The effort of the administration, faculty, and staff to increase enrollment has paid off, according to the recent Enrollment Summary from the Office of the Registrar.

The official on-campus enrollment for this semester is 12,140, which is a 2.4 percent increase over the 1997 fall semester. In addition, the number of on-campus credit hours jumped 3.8 percent over the 1997 fall semester figure to 110,463 this semester.

"Most of our numbers are up," said Gary Grace, vice-chancellor of Student Affairs. "We have fewer students in education, and we had a decline in nursing, but that was a planned decline. It's hard to find a negative in the whole kit and caboodle."

According to Grace, the increase was the result of a concerted effort by faculty and staff to retain students already enrolled and to pursue more new students.

"We see ourselves as a comprehensive, full-service university," Grace said. "A university is defined by its classes. We don't ever want to abdicate the traditional underclasses. Freshman are important to student life, so we want to build that class up."

The campaign to recruit students began earlier this year. Grace said that faculty and staff did more follow-ups and spent many evenings making phone calls.

"We did calling campaigns," said Jack Nelson, vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs. "We had faculty, staff, and student volunteers calling people who had been admitted, but who hadn't registered yet, to try and convince them to come here."

Nelson said that in order to increase the University's visibility, they began an advertising campaign that included TV commercials and they worked hard to get information to the press.

"This has benefited the school," said Jim Krueger, vice- chancellor for Managerial and Technological Services, "because we have better-qualified students, a more diverse student body, and more full-time students."

Krueger said that student fees provide approximately 45 percent of the general operating budget, and the increase has helped financially.

"That's very positive for us," Krueger said, "because that means we have some extra income we can put back into the academic programs to strengthen them."

Grace said that the 4,000 credit-hour increase would probably generate around $750,000.

"We are discussing whether we should plow these resources back into more recruiting, or whatever else," he said. "It's an open question at this point."

The enrollment increase has provided many benefits for the University, but Krueger explained that more students created a greater demand for classes and parking space.

"There have been problems, but we have worked through them," Nelson said. "We needed to reduce the wait list, and we reduced it substantially by asking faculty members to take extra students in their sections, by adding sections, and by hiring more faculty. Overall, it went very smoothly."

Grace added that the University bought portable classrooms to move arts students off the wait lists. He also had high praise for the contributions made by the faculty and staff.

"We got fantastic cooperation from the academic departments," Grace said. "Everybody really pulled together. It wasn't a one-person job this year."

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.


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