page has errors
The date, title, or page description is wrong
This page has harmful content
This page contains sensitive or offensive material
Click "Submit" to request a review of this page.
0 / 75
The Compass Friday, December 5, 1997 7
A Special Compass Report:
Administrators face variety of ciiallenges
in effort to attract and retain students
Some students have also expressed
disappointement at the inability of
administrators and or recruiters to
deliver on promises they have made.
by Angela Bumis
When Chancellor Mickey L. Biimim
took office last year, he made no secret
what the first priority of his new ad
ministration would be—to reverse the
downward spiraling enrollment.
Burnim's aggressive approach to re
verse the trend and attract more stu
dents certainly paid off this year. In the
fall of 1996, the University recruited
556 new and transfer students—the
highest number since 1993.
But although ECSU has won a sig
nificant battle, much more needs to be
accomplished before the Chancellor can
achieve his goal of a 3,500-student cam
pus by the millennium.
Moreover, the campus is already feel
ing the effects of the last year's decline
in enrollment. Since the state legisla
ture appropriates money to campuses
based on their enrollment less students
means less money for the University to
Last year's shortfall resulted in
$860,000 cut from the University's op
erating budget, most of it from the Aca
demic Affairs division, according to
Chancellor Mickey L. Burnim.
"This means less money for photo
copying, less money for materials for
faculty members to use in preparing
things for classes, less money for fac
ulty members to go to professional
meetings to read papers or have pa
pers read," said Bumim.
The budget shortfall also meant the
University had to eliminate seven fac
ulty positions. "This means students
that would have normally taken classes
from those instructors are either in
larger classes or sections. Or the classes
weren't offered at all."
Larger classes can also often mean
that professors have less time and en
ergy to devote to students, which fur
ther erodes the quality of education.
What are the causes of ECSU's en
Part of the problem can be attributed
UNC system officials say there are
fewer students graduating from high
school, and that many campuses must
compete with other universities for a
small overall pool of students.
Bumim said the University needs to
do a better job of marketing.
"There are things the University
could have done in the past to attract
more students," he said. This includes
more effective advertising, to "let
people know what we have to offer."
Still another factor in overall declin
ing enrollment is retention. More than
300 students, about 15 percent of the
campus, left the school last year.
However, ECSU's retention rate still
exceeds the average rate of the entire
UNC-system. The first year retention
rate for all students wittiin the system
was 80.5 percent, according to
According to a sophomore survey of
all 16 schools in the UNC system, a
relatively high number of students
were less than satisfied with the over
all quality of instruction offered at
ECSU. In 50 percent of the survey ques
tions, ECSU was last or near the bot
tom compared to other schools in the
system. Only 37 percent of the sopho
mores said they would choose ECSU
again if given the opportunity. Most of
the other universities scored much
higher, near 70 percent.
Burnim said that the University
needs to do "better jobs of serving our
students in the classroom and outside
The Chancellor and his staff have
drawn up a list of areas to focus on—
improving academic advisement and
the overall treatment of students,
streamlining registration, adding more
updated textbooks to courses, and in
troducing more technology in the class
Burium has appointed a task force
for retention to study what needs to be
done to improve the likelihood that
students will stay at ECSU.
In the past, retention hasn't been the
first priority, he said. Instead the Uni
versity has focused more on trying to
attract freshmen and transfer students.
"The task force has the job of looking
at data, figuring out what factors are
causing people not to continue, and
then maidng recommendations as to
what the University can do to keep
them," Burnim said.
Why do students leave the Univer
Some students say they are leaving
to take advantage of academic pro- k
grams either not offered at ECSU, or
which have more developed programs
at other colleges—speech and commu
nications, for example.
Other students cite general disap
pointment with their treatment or with
the quality of instruction. Some stu
dents may be transferring to larger, pre-
dominantiy white institutioris. Nearly
30 percent of the 975 students who did
not reenroll during the fall '97 season
were white, according Nancy Lee, as
sistant director of ECSU's Planning and
Some students have also expressed
disappointment at the inability of ad
ministrators and or recruiters to de
liver on promises they have made.
"They said the Fine Arts Building
was supposed to be built in 1994, and
it is still not up," said ECSU senior
Tiffany Newell. "That was one of the
reasons why I came to ECSU."
Bumim has said he will continue to
emphasize marketing and public rela
tions in an effort to attract new stu
dents. Marsha McLean, Director of
University Relations, is working hard
to implement this plan, he said.
"Everything Ms. McLean does is
from a marketing angle," said Bumim,
"whether it's the way the radio station
broadcasts, or the kinds of things you
read in the paper In addition we are
very conscious of stories printed in lo
ECSU's counterpart. College of the
Albemarle, a two year community col
lege had enrollment increase of 2,080
this fall from 2,006 students enrolling
in the fall of 1996.
Jeff Zeigler, director of CO A's Public
Relations and Communications, said
COA's increased enrollment is due to
its strong marketing and advertising
strategies despite its tight budget. The
college mns newspapers and radio ads
a month before registration, said
Zeigler. COA also mails a list of its
class schedule to 65,000 homes direct
two weeks before registration, he
Ziegler suggested ECSU could boost
enrollment by focusing more on the
Incentive Scholarship Program.
Although in the past, ECSU has not
always been able to find students for
all of the scholarships assigned, this
year the program has awarded the larg
est percentage of scholarships to stu
dents in the last eight years, according
to Dennis Brown, director of the pro
The University awarded incentive
scholarships to 591 students, accord
ing to Brown, and 274 were new re
cipients. Only about "25 or 26" incen
tive scholarships were not used. Brown
Frank G. Scoti photo
Viking fans pose with KRS-1 while waiting for autographs after the Homecoming