Strategic Planning Committee Meeting
Warner Conference Room
March 19, 2001 - 3 p.m.
James Roark, Barbara Audley, Gordon Bennett, Charles Bicak, Mike Bohnhoff, Elsie Cafferty, David Clark, Bruce Elder, Ben Homan, Roger Jones, Larry Kuskie, Kathy Livingston, Peter Longo, Debbie Schroeder, Jim Scott, Michael Sumpter, and Annabell Zikmund
Betty Jo Armagost, Paul Bishop, Roger Davis, Kent Estes, Randy Haack, Marilyn Hadley, William Lewis, John Oseth, James Rundstrom, and Ryan Samuelson
James Roark called the meeting to order. A call for approval of the minutes brought suggestions for corrections from Scott. Minutes will be changed accordingly.
On behalf of the Interim VCSA, Admissions Director John Kundel addressed the Committee. He distributed a copy of the UNK Student Recruitment Plan, Executive Summary, dated January 31, 2001. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has approved this plan.
One of Admissions objectives is to increase enrollment by 16%, i.e. to have 1320 students in the freshman class by the year 2005. We need to experience growth in the Omaha and Lincoln area and in the nonresident and international student markets to meet this goal. Since January, Ryan Samuelson and other students have been calling students admitted to UNK to finalize their commitment to attending UNK. Initial notices about scholarship offers were sent out in November, and merit awards were finalized in February. It is really too early to tell if the scholarship offers are being accepted at a better rate.
We recently transported a number of students from five Omaha high schools to UNK for a recruitment visit. The plan for next year is to have 1-2 buses of students per month visit UNK. Kundel would like to find a General Studies class that could be routinely used as a showpiece class for visiting students. Perhaps the syllabus could be put on the Web. We will use designated floors in residence halls for visiting students. Bret Walker has been working the Denver area very hard. Colorado State and the University of Colorado are at capacity, and UNK out-of-state tuition is competitive. Admissions has asked for money for marketing. For example, websites like the Denver Post get an astronomical number of hits per day on their educational site. The same is probably true with the Omaha World Herald, the Kansas City Star, and the Des Moines Register. It might be worthwhile to make UNK information available there.
Admissions acquires the names of potential students by buying an ACT listing that shows students scoring 20 and above. Every student taking the ACT can identify six institutions they are interested in attending. If UNK is one of those six institutions, we will have information on them. We do not have the ability to get a list of graduating seniors from all Nebraska high schools because that would be a violation of privacy. If students do not request information from us or if they are not on one of the two listing above, chances are they will not receive information from UNK.
Admissions and colleges/departments have implemented extensive contact campaigns. Roark added that some departments have become very creative in contacting potential students. The Communications chair has placed ads for the multimedia degree in high school newspapers. The Department of Psychology hosted a career event for high school students. When a large number of students came to view the Exercise Science cadaver lab, they were broken into two groups. While one group toured the lab, Admissions staff visited with the other group.
The National Collegiate Network program will bring about 60 Japanese students to UNK beginning in May. Each year, an additional 60 students should follow to pursue degree programs. Our web site development has been an asset too. It seems that given the high cost of tuition students are now searching the Web for lower-cost universities in the Midwest. Applications for admittance have been up over last year. Over 20% of applications are submitted on-line.
Elder is convinced that if UNK offered men's and women's soccer programs, we could boost enrollment by 50 students. It was brought up that one of the most frequently asked questions of Admissions staff is whether UNK has a soccer program.
Homan indicated that many community businesses are watching UNK's declining enrollment very carefully. Community pride in the university remains unchanged, however, the economic impact of declining enrollment is causing concern. Several community businesses have indicated a desire to help UNK turn around the enrollment decline. Suggestions from committee members included businesses sharing marketing strategies, exposure in the Chamber Bulletin; buying time on the radio.
Roark asked Student Body President Samuelson what reasons he has heard from students as to why they do or do not choose UNK. Samuelson indicated that out-of-state students come because of low tuition. International students seem to be recruited by word of mouth. Omaha and Lincoln students seem to come for the Teacher Education Program.
A copy of the UNK Program Prioritization document was distributed to committee members. It was explained that college departments chose whether or not they would complete the 10-page report to be considered for priority program status. The deans collected the reports and summarized their college priorities. Roark then put together a draft document and met with the deans to reach a consensus on the final draft. Thereafter, the document was distributed campus wide. Bohnhoff will request that authors e-mail their reports to Roark so that the reports can be put on the Web. Roark thanked Bohnhoff and Livingston for their excellent work in getting information to departments and fielding the variety of questions associated therewith.
Discussion ensued about the document. Samuelson questioned why General Studies topped the list of priority programs. Audley approved having General Studies in that position as it differentiates UNK from other campuses. Once a student has completed General Studies at UNK, they can easily change majors. Davis agreed that General Studies is an important asset at UNK-as a public institution, we are offering the core of liberal arts education. UNK's writing intensive requirement is another gem. Sometimes confusion does arise about General Studies, and several academic program reviews have suggested we rename "General Studies" to better indicate its purpose.
Meeting was adjourned.
The next meeting will be held in the Warner conference on Wednesday, April 11, at 3 p.m.