Freshmen, Transfer Students Contribute to Enrollment Increase
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 23, 2011) – Although exact figures won’t be known until the fall census Sept. 13, first-week data shows positive student growth for the sixth consecutive year at the University of Central Missouri.
Preliminary enrollment numbers were addressed in a presentation by Rick Sluder, vice provost for enrollment management, during a meeting of the Board of Governors Aug. 18. Sluder said total undergraduate and graduate headcount as of that date is 11,568 students, which represents a gradual climb since the Aug. 16 opening day enrollment of 11,476 students. This first-day figure, however, is an increase of 492 students over the first day of the fall semester in 2010, and also exceeds the Sept. 20, 2010 census date figure, which was 11,351 students. Sluder pointed out that students have until Aug. 23 to drop or add classes, which could affect enrollment totals.
A total of 2,674 new students on campus is contributing to the positive preliminary enrollment outlook. This number includes 1,714 first-time entering freshmen, making it the largest class since 1992 , plus 960 new transfer students, the largest number since 1993.
The university is also enjoying a strong international student population. There are currently 537 international students enrolled, up 477 from the 2010 census date.
Sluder attributes enrollment growth to “a campus-wide commitment” to recruit and retain students. This includes factors such as strong communication with prospective students between deans, department chairs, and faculty members; new marketing initiatives; quality of work by the admissions staff; careful monitoring of courses to meet student demand; the addition of a new Student Recreation and Wellness Center; and dedication by the university to providing a good educational value.
Enrollment was part of a meeting that included a small number of action items. Among them was approval of a $180,000 contract with Gould Evans Engineering Architects, Kansas City, to assist in updating the campus master plan, which was adopted in 2008. Board action followed a presentation by Dennis Strait, principal at Gould Evans. He will consider the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of projects that include development on the northwest and northeast corners of campus to build strong community connections while also meeting student needs in terms of food service and housing; possible replacement of the Fraternity Complex; utilization of space on the first level of Audrey J. Walton Stadium; and improvements at Pertle Springs recreational area.
The board also approved title changes for two academic programs. The Bachelor of Science in Broadcast media major will become the Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production, reflecting modernization of the program to offer students state-of-the-art information needed to succeed in the media industry. In addition, the Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication degree will become the Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies. With the title change, the current requirements for this degree are being reconfigured from a list of electives into three clear, descriptive areas of specialization – corporate consultancy, social influence, and relational communication.