Last week the Board of Governors met in St. Louis for a workshop led by our consultants at EAB.
In years past, board leadership has gone to an annual conference put on by the Association of Governing Boards. This year, that conference was virtual.
With several new members on our board, board president Gov. Carol Silvey and I thought it would be more beneficial to do a customized workshop instead of participating in the virtual conference.
The workshop began with an overview of current trends in higher education. We evaluated national demographic shifts, enrollment trends and pockets of new innovation.
From there, we focused on three specific areas: student success, adult learners and employer partnerships. Missouri State is doing good work in each of these areas, but we still have much more to do.
We must continue to implement a stepped care model to support the health and well being of our students. We need to focus on designing and redesigning our academic programs based on market research, with the needs of adult learners and their employers in mind.
Together, we can lean into the national and regional trends that exist and keep Missouri State moving forward.
Midway through the workshop, Rob Hornberger presented an overview of enrollment data at Missouri State and demographic information specific to the state of Missouri.
Rob made a similar presentation the previous week to the university’s administrative and academic leadership teams.
We have enjoyed over two decades of enrollment increases at Missouri State University. However, over the past five years we have seen a significant decline in enrollment of undergraduate, degree seeking students.
This decline has been tempered with increases in graduate and dual credit enrollment.
Two things are clear from Rob’s presentation.
First, we must do everything we can to recruit students. We must all stay diligent in the months ahead to follow up on inquiries from prospective students, and encourage admitted students to attend SOAR, make arrangements to live on campus and show up for classes on the first day of the fall semester.
Second, we must do everything we can to retain our current students. I hope each of us will go out of our way to eliminate barriers for our students, encourage them and help them sign up for classes next semester.
Graduate and dual credit
Our efforts to increase graduate and dual credit enrollment have been intentional and effective, and I want to thank Drs. Frank Einhellig, Julie Masterson, Joye Norris and their teams for their hard work.
Graduate students and dual credit students do not use the same services and campus resources as undergraduate, degree seeking students. This means we must continue to redesign our curriculum, student services and campus processes to meet their unique needs.
Graduate students and dual credit students also do not pay the same tuition and fees, so the change in enrollment mix has negative revenue implications.
Our plan is to budget for “flat” enrollment in the coming year, recognizing that we will likely have tough decisions to make in the next several years as we refocus our academic resources.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!
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