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MITZEL: Hawks Perch: Enrollment up at DSU

Recently we were able to share positive news that for the second year in a row, overall enrollment at DSU is up. Enrollment at DSU peaked in 2009 and declined every year, for six years, until fall 2015. In the State of the University address, DSU shared data illustrating the impact of falling enrollment on tuition and appropriated revenues. As part of a four year plan for fiscal health, DSU has outlined aggressive goals for student admission and retention.

In early fall 2016, DSU engaged in conversations with Royall and Company regarding a potential partnership. Royall offers a unique marketing service to target prospective students in personalized, strategic engagement that supports the efforts of our on campus recruitment staff. The contract was agreed upon and work began in spring 2017. While there was contact made to high school seniors, the majority of work was forward looking outreach to high school students at the sophomore and junior level.

Enrollment is comprised of both recruitment as well as retention. On the retention side, the retention committee previewed a new tool through EAB called the Student Success Collaborative (SSC). The "magic app" is designed to serve as a tool for campus retention efforts. The campus wide efforts, including intrusive advising, professional advising, Starfish, and PAR, implemented over the past few years saw a wonderful outcome this year — resulting in a 10 percent increase in the retention of the first year to second year cohort. The SSC will supplement, not replace, these efforts.

We have the support of the SBHE and of the NDUS to move forward with the Royall and SSC partnerships. Chancellor Hagerott has told me more than once that he is "proud that Dickinson State is so innovative."

I am grateful to be part of a university system that is supportive of institutions in their efforts to improve higher education and services for students. In working with the NDUS on these two agreements, we have experienced the benefit of a collaborative system working together.

Students are paramount. At the heart of all our decision making we must ask what is best for the students, how we can support them in achieving their goals. These partnerships are strategic investments. Growing enrollment, through recruitment and retention of students, will create a stronger financial foundation for the institution, allow for expansion of programs and supports, and ensure the university is able to fulfill its mission for providing access to high quality, affordable education.

As always, it is the support of this community that moves Dickinson State forward in a positive manner and we remain grateful for all you help us forever work toward our vision.


Tom Mitzel