Standard 6. Students - Projection
The College has hired a new Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing, and she will bring new enrollment and marketing strategies to the table, but the Enrollment Management Committee has provided preliminary annual projections for enrollment objectives through 2015, which include: MA applications to decline by 5%, other New England states to decline by 3%; increases of 4% in greater NY market, 1% in mid-Atlantic states, 1.5% in new markets, and 2% in emerging markets. Greater emphasis will be placed on recruiting from emerging markets in CA, FL, IL, MN, and TX and new markets in GA and OH. During this period, we will also seek other improvements to our admissions process, including "social networking" communication to prospective students, which will require further review to address areas of ethics and honesty. The College will continue to maintain clearly defined acceptance standards for incoming students.
The most critical change we project in the coming years is a greater attention to improving the diversity of the student body. In the Strategic Plan 2011-2015, diversity is one of four key areas of focus for the College community. Initiatives addressing the diversification of both programs and population have been carefully and strategically presented as ways to provide for a more welcoming and engaging community. Areas for improvement, addressed in the upcoming Strategic Plan, include the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented backgrounds, recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and administrators from underrepresented backgrounds, increasing the diversity on the College's Board of Trustees, and increasing programs of study and course selections that focus on multicultural issues.
As we seek to enhance the diversity of student community, we will need to evaluate the effectiveness of all our student services in creating an inclusive community. The Office of Intercultural Affairs will address ways in which groups of students are successfully transitioned into the life of the College. This includes evaluating increased academic advising of ALANA students; the ALANA Brothers and Sisters Program (completing its first year); and the SEED Program, which provides high school students who are economically disadvantaged and academically talented with the opportunity to do meaningful summer research alongside Stonehill students. This program should result in higher levels of recruitment among these students. In addition, we will continue to enhance the curriculum so that it reflects a more inclusive community.
The College has formed a new team with representatives from the Offices of Admissions and Enrollment, Academic Services/Academic Achievement, Student Affairs, and Planning /Institutional Research to establish annual and five-year goals related to retention and graduation rates. The 2011-2015 strategic planning document specifically targets improving retention among our diversity students, which has been strong, but, somewhat below our overall rates of retention.
Finally, with increasing demand for specific post-graduate employment and learning opportunities, the Office of Career Services is exploring ways to increase career-specific programs for students during the year, including adding additional resources to the on campus interview program. The Office also seeks to engage students earlier in the academic process. Any additional resources will focus on programs for freshmen and sophomore students and on cultivating new and deeper employer relationships to provide more entry level job opportunities for graduating seniors.