With the objective of improving campus communication and collaborative problem solving, President David Svaldi has begun a series of monthly Campus Roundtable discussions. The first such meeting of the semester, Sept. 17, drew a large, diverse group of faculty and staff. While this session focused on Athletics and enrollment, discussion also encompassed efforts to improve student retention and faculty diversity.
Next Campus Roundtable:
Tuesday, Oct. 22
4 p.m. – McD101
Topic: Student retention
New sports aid enrollment
Athletic Director Larry Mortensen and members of his staff described the success of new sports programs initiated in recent years. The result was a doubling of student-athletes, which now number over 750 – about a third of the undergraduate student body.
Bill Mansheim, vice president for Finance and Governmental Relations, noted the total tuition and fee revenue from enrollment of student athletes is $8.7 million a year, while the Athletics budget totals $5 million, in addition to nearly $1 million raised by the Grizzly Club, ASU Foundation, and athletic camps. He added that a “phenomenal change” in Auxiliary Operations revenue over the last six years was primarily due to the additional athletes. Residence halls are at full capacity.
Of the $12 million Adams State awards in institutional scholarships, $2 million, or 16 percent, go to student-athletes, according to Mansheim.
Mortensen emphasized the department’s focus on the athletes as students first. He noted students have a higher average GPA and retain and graduate at a higher rate than the student body as a whole. Student-athletes contribute to campus diversity, he said, and are active in the community, with 35 community service projects underway.
New athletic programs include baseball, men’s golf, men’s & women’s lacrosse, men’s & women’s swimming and diving, in addition to men’s and women’s teams in rugby and rodeo, which are non NCAA. Several programs have also added developmental or JV components. The adventure sports programs developed by Student Life also serve to connect students to interests, which enhances retention.
Such an enrollment-based approach to program growth is also being explored for nursing, Model U.N., and the Lost & Found Improv group, Svaldi added.
Strategies to improve enrollment
A slight decrease in undergraduate enrollment created a $300,000 budget shortfall this semester, with an additional $250,000 shortfall projected for the spring, Svaldi said. While the freshman class exceeded last year’s, a number of junior and senior-level students failed to return. “This is a different problem than we are used to, and we are working to figure it out,” he said.
Faculty and staff were asked to join new committees that will focus on student retention, recruitment of veterans, and budget (advisory). Several volunteers subsequently expressed interest; Svaldi will email that list for verification shortly.
Noting that projected increases in high school graduates consist almost entirely of Hispanic students, Svaldi said. Adams State fills an important niche as a Hispanic Serving Institution. “We are a place where students can thrive and receive the support they need to overcome various challenges.”
Dr. Michael Mumper, vice president for Enrollment Management and Program Development, announced a new opportunity provided by the Western Undergraduate Exchange to increase enrollment of non-resident students. The reciprocal program will allow member institutions to charge out-of-state students 150 percent of resident tuition, which would be a significant savings, he said. “We are confident that price barriers are limiting our non-resident enrollment,” he said, adding that an expanded reciprocity agreement with New Mexico brought in least 20 new students last year.