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Articles: Enrollment Management

Last August, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook Virginia, people in offices up the East Coast were reading about the quake before they felt their desks not-so-mysteriously begin to wobble. How? Chalk it up to another feat of Twitter (by this time it had already helped topple unruly regimes in the Middle East). During the earthquake, users tweeted at a rate of 5,500 tweets per second, with 40,000 tweets hitting Twitter timelines and TweetDecks in just one minute.

Acceptance of cloud computing—the practice of storing data in off-site servers rather than on campus—has been growing by leaps and bounds, at least in some areas. “It’s growing in the areas easier to rip and replace, such as CRM,” says Stan Swete, chief technology officer at Workday, which offers HR and Payroll systems through software as a service (SaaS).

Student retention is a big problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. About one-third of college students fail to obtain a degree six years after taking their first college course, and the United States is no longer in the top 10 list of countries with the highest graduation rates, according to the College Board. The drop-out rate affects long-term economic prosperity nationwide. This is particularly true in an age where knowledge, creativity, and innovation are key drivers in a globalized economy.

With the growing U.S. Latino population, it is no surprise this is also the fastest growing student population. According to a recent report from the College Board on Latino college completion (covered in University Business in the November/December issue), outreach efforts should be specific to this population. An example of this aim in action is Georgia State University. Because of a focus on the Latino population, graduation rates for Latino students have improved from 38 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2010, outpacing the national average of 19 percent in 2009.

Because community colleges serve such a diverse population and face unique challenges separate from their four-year peers, it’s important to monitor and analyze trends specific to these institutions. A recent policy brief from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) does just that, giving a 20-year overview of trends in educational attainment.

Community colleges have historically done more with less. Perhaps it’s inevitable they would eventually have to start doing less with less. Proposed changes in California may indicate that shift.

A student speaking with her advisor

Community colleges have always been a popular place for students to begin their higher education career. Often smaller, closer, and more affordable than their four-year counterparts, they can help students get accustomed to college-level work or simply save on tuition. The national goal of producing more college graduates has increased the focus on ensuring students actually transfer on. Keith Coates, a student services advisor at Columbus State Community College, Delaware Campus (Ohio), reports that they’re seeing a lot of students who want to transfer but may not know to where.

Jordan Zimmerman

Once a school like Penn State or Syracuse has gone through the ethical and public relations disaster of a child sexual abuse scandal ... what comes next? How do you fix what’s broken? Can you even think about rebuilding the brand?

Yes ... but it’s tough. It takes character, both for the organization and on a personal level.

Emerging from this kind of crisis means going through three different stages: denial, damage control, and decision. Lots of people, and lots of institutions, never make it through to that third stage.

Last November, Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg paid a visit to Harvard for the first time since dropping out of sight in 2004. In his address to students, the social media guru proclaimed that Facebook “is just getting started.” Remarkably, social networking has, in the past five years, forever changed the higher learning landscape. It will profoundly shape the higher ed marketplace in the next decade. Today, it’s estimated that more than 800 million people around the world depend on Facebook.

Public institutions may have lower graduation rates, but in moving students toward graduation, it appears they’re more successful than private institutions, according to a report assessing graduation rates from the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. It introduces a new method for predicting an institution’s graduation rate, based on social, economic, and psychological characteristics of incoming students.

With Latinos now representing one in six U.S. residents, the international competitiveness of the nation will depend on the academic success of Latino students, notes the opening of a recent College Board report on Latino college completion. Although the national average of 25- to 34-year-olds in 2009 who had attained an associate degree or higher was 41 percent, just 19 percent of Latinos had done so.

The regional demand for quality nursing professionals was the impetus behind a new partnership between Blinn College (Texas) and the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing. Blinn’s associate’s degree in nursing program is undergoing a curriculum revision to clarify mutually accepted courses, which will allow a smoother transition to the TAMHSC baccalaureate program.

Community colleges have long been seen as a good place for students to brush up on their skills before tackling college-level course work. The state legislatures in Ohio and Tennessee have recently decided to have public four-year institutions get out of the developmental ed game as much as possible, and leave those classes to the experts.

One of the more dubious notions to attach itself to higher education is the brash “right to fail.” While the intent to demand maturity and accountability from college students is understandable, the reality, and certainly the wisdom of such an axiom, is another story.

First, the reality: Prior to World War II, the likelihood of attending college was reserved for the children of wealthy or near-wealthy families. These students were expected to succeed, whether they did or not. 

As if new student orientation wasn’t busy enough, the University of Oregon registrar’s staff was faced with processing thousands of pieces of paper containing Advanced Placement test scores that had arrived not long before the arrival of eager freshmen.

Because Oregon operates on the quarter system, orientation sessions are held throughout July, after AP scores are mailed to the school. That tied up personnel who had to manually enter the scores into Banner and pull files so that each session’s students could be properly advised on which courses to register for.

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