As I greeted the audience at the recent Ruffalo Noel Levitz planning session, I was delighted to see so many faculty and staff accepting the invitation to help implement a strategic, coordinated enrollment management approach at Bloomsburg University.
The meeting was one more step in our renewed focus on student success that started with the creation of a new enrollment management division, headed by Tom Fletcher, and continued when we instituted the Student Success Collaborative, an initiative that touches all students through proactive and focused advising. The Council of Trustees’ approval of a Student Success Fee, effective this fall, shows their commitment to supporting initiatives that significantly impact student retention and graduation rates.
Why are we taking these steps? It is no surprise that our enrollment has dipped over the past few years. There are fewer college-age students and we are in competition with other universities for those with the greatest talent and ability. But enrollment management is more than merely recruiting enough students to hit a target number. It is bringing in students who are both a good fit for our university and able to take advantage of the majors, programs and resources we offer. It is increasing the number and percentage of students who complete their degrees.
Five working groups concentrating on the areas of graduate programs, undergraduate programs, marketing and recruitment, student success, and finance and financial aid, are working with Ruffalo Noel Levitz to complete a situation analysis. The analysis will show what Bloomsburg University is currently doing and what we must do to enhance student success. This process will lead to a plan that aligns our mission, fiscal resources and academic resources with the changing market environment. It will identify strategies to further enhance student academic achievement.
The strategic enrollment management process is an institution-wide responsibility and a central component of BU’s strategic plan, Impact 2017. I look forward to collaborating with the entire campus community over the next 10 months as we develop a comprehensive strategic enrollment plan that helps us to better manage the student life cycle, from their first contact with Bloomsburg, through enrollment to graduation and, ultimately, to proud and engaged alumni.