Historic enrollment numbers at Grand Valley this fall gave members of the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan task force and its transformation teams of faculty and staff an opportunity to celebrate their work and commitment on October 11.
But, even with the impressive data on the heels of a pandemic, B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said a new challenge awaits — student retention.
“I am super excited to celebrate the fact that the recruitment side of the plan is moving along really well,” Truss said. “We now have to continue to enhance our work around retention, as we want to have one of the largest and most diverse graduating classes in four, five and six years from now.”
Truss and Danny Vélez, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, shared data about this year’s incoming class and discussed the SEMP’s future goals during the celebration at the Kirkhof Center.
Grand Valley’s fall census reported a record-breaking incoming class of 4,974 students – nearly 25% larger than last year's – and increased fall enrollment, countering enrollment headwinds in higher education.
Overall enrollment is up 3% from last fall too, with 22,269 students. In addition, both the incoming class and overall enrollment have the highest-ever percentages of students of diverse backgrounds.
“This is no small feat,” Vélez said. “It's attributed to the work that we're doing, not just out in the field, but also what’s happening at Grand Valley.
“Students talk, so we want to make sure that they continue to be consistently positive, and that this community of learners knows that coming to Grand Valley is the right place.”
Vélez also emphasized the need to continue focusing on improving student retention.
Truss announced a plan to decrease the number of team members on the SEMP Taskforce and shift to a steering committee. Those not on the Steering Committee will be asked to participate on the smaller transformation teams, which focus on recruitment and retention of different populations of students at Grand Valley.
“It is so important that the people who are teaching, working with students, and who are on the front lines, who have a special affinity for these different populations, drive this work,” Truss said.
“We want you to be empowered with access to information about all the work that the transformation teams are doing. We want you to have complete access to that information and to be able to push out questions, concerns, etc. to us so we can address them quickly.”