Owens to push student attraction and retention
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Friday, 11 October 2013 09:10
MAUMEE - Owens Community College is making plans to not only draw new students to the school, but retain the ones already there.
In a report presented to the board of trustees Wednesday by Dr. Betsy Johnson, vice president of enrollment management and student services, enrollment at Owens' two campus, and all six of its "schools," have noted a decrease this past year.
Fall enrollment from 2012 to 2013 for both campuses was down 1,761 students to 11,781 on the main campus, and 389 to 2,002 on the Findlay campus.
All six "schools" offered by Owens have also noted decreases.
Summer enrollment from 2012 to 2013 was down 262 to 4,567 on the main campus, and in Findlay was down 247 to 784.
The number of applicants for fall 2013 was down 20.3 percent from those received fall 2012, she reported.
From Wood County, Owens has seen an increase in enrollment direct from high school from Northwood, Bowling Green, Eastwood, Elmwood and Otsego graduates; and a decrease from Perrysburg and Rossford.
Johnson also noted a drop of 28 students from Penta Career Center, and she has already made plans to hold an enrollment event on that campus in the spring.
A similar drop, of 48 students, was noted from Millstream Career Center in Findlay, and an Owens enrollment representative will set up regular office hours at that location.
She said she hopes a new marketing plan, plus continued outreach for current students, will help retain those already enrolled and entice new students to register.
Advisers are doing more outreach with students, and "to focus on students from the beginning to end," she stated.
Johnson said the college has to incorporate the SWOT analysis: a planning method used to evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to find its competitive advantage, all from the eyes of its students.
Owens currently has 318 veterans enrolled, and President Mike Bower visited area veterans units to discuss their options.
Another opportunity is to get more high school students who take Post Secondary Options classes at Owens to enroll there after graduation.
"That's one of our opportunities," Johnson said, stating that a goal is to find out how to get the message of what Owens had to offer to those honor students to divert them from a four-year college.
That marketing plan is still in the works.
Board member Thomas Uhler wondered if Johnson's office has set a goal for new recruits for next year.
That goal is not set by the board, she replied.
"It's my job to say this is what I envision," she continued.
The college is taking steps "in the right direction to turn this ship around and fix the leaks."
But that won't happen overnight, she warned.
Also giving presentations Wednesday at the board's work session were Provost Renay Scott and Treasurer Laurie Sabin.