Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Campus planning session focuses on strategic approach to student recruitment and success



Chillicothe Campus faculty and staff members discussed the campus’ direction during the recent annual planning session and fall semester opening session on campus.

The theme for the planning meeting captured the strategic priorities for the campus in moving forward: “Recruitment, Retention, Course/Program Completion.”

“These are the key areas in terms of the campus’ continued well-being. I think we do a fabulous job in each of these areas, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” Dean Martin Tuck said. “We constantly need to analyze what we are doing well and what we can do better.”

The campus’ headcount enrollment has remained relatively flat from the fall of 2012 to the current academic term, from 2,291 students in the fall of 2012 compared to 2,326 this semester, according to preliminary numbers, an increase of 1.5 percent. Early numbers indicate that full time enrollment (FTE), meanwhile, has declined during the same period, from 1,567 in 2012 to 1,486 this semester, a decrease of 5.2 percent.

Preliminary numbers also show that this semester’s numbers are bolstered by an increased number of freshman students, from 773 last year to 815 this fall term, an increase of more than 5 percent, which bodes well for the future.

“Compared to other similar campuses in the state, many of which are showing a decline in enrollment, we are in a strong position,” Dean Tuck said. “Traditionally, our enrollment is in inverse proportion to the economy, so as the area job situation improves, our enrollment numbers tend to decrease.”

In looking at retention and growth, the dean noted that many students enroll as undecided on their academic major, which is a concern in terms of having an academic and career focus. Also, it is important to identify programs that have particular growth potential when considering the opportunities for bolstering enrollment.

Breakout groups discussed four areas related to the meeting’s themes and suggested action items related to their specific areas.  Those areas and action items include:

STUDENT RECRUITMENT

Develop strategies tailored to the target groups of:

•    Traditional students
•    Non-traditional students
•    Program-specific endeavors

STUDENT RETENTION

•    Expand the successful supplemental instruction programs
•    Create developmental math programs
•    Increase awareness of computer literacy workshops and develop more of this programming
•    Require UC courses for all freshmen
•    Increase the awareness of these initiatives among adjunct faculty members

INCREASE FTE

•    Offer more blended classes, which combine elements of traditional classroom and online formats
•    Offer more classes on Fridays
•    Emphasize the financial savings students can realize by taking more courses each term and, ultimately, graduating earlier
•    Emphasize the advantages of taking a full 15-hour course load in academic program literature
•    Create a ceremony to honor Dean’s List recipients

COURSE/PROGRAM COMPLETION

•    Emphasize the timeline of students’ academic careers, from entrance/mentoring through their academic programs and, ultimately, career preparation and connecting to the real world
•    Develop more 2+2 pathways, in which associate degree programs align with bachelor’s program offerings
•    Develop more external partners, especially in terms of experiential offerings such as co-ops and internships
•    Emphasize multiple modes of instructional delivery, such as online, blended and traditional classroom setting
•    Connect with stop-out students who left OU-C before completing their degrees
•    Support mentoring efforts of peers and faculty members

NEXT STEPS

In moving forward, future plans include breakout group facilitators collecting ideas suggested by the groups; meeting prior to the start of spring semester to set priorities and find emerging themes from the various groups, allowing various initiatives to work together in concert; and meeting after graduation in May to set direction and assign priorities.

No comments: