A Letter from Dr. Wilma Mishoe:
Dear University Community,
Today I am overjoyed to share with you the latest numbers that demonstrate conclusively how fast our University is growing.
The final enrollment figures for Fall 2018 reveal that, for the seventh time since 2010, Delaware State University has broken another enrollment record. This year our family includes 4,872 students, a 5% increase over last year! This figure places us precisely on track to achieve a total enrollment of 5,000 students by 2020.
The number includes a Freshman class that grew from 951 in 2017 to 1,047 this September, and graduate enrollment growth of 25%. Many factors combined to account for this leap forward, and there’s a lot of credit to be shared around our community. But one thing is clear: putting students at the center of everything we do matters.
As you know, in January, the University placed the key functions related to enrollment (including Admissions, Records, Student Accounts and Financial Aid) under a single umbrella, the Office of Strategic Enrollment Management, and one accountable leader, Mr. Antonio Boyle. Mr. Boyle recruited an outstanding leadership team, and established critical priorities for improving our operation:
- Students with specific enrollment management issues now have their records automatically flagged for a consultation with one of our specialists;
- At orientation, every prospective student is provided with a full schedule and an itemized statement (including both costs and financial aid);
- Our new billing system has eliminated the “purge” process, and provides students more time and opportunity to stay in school while meeting their financial obligations.
The results speak for themselves. Additionally, the extension of the Inspire Scholarship to cover the fourth year of school for Delaware students has also been significant. As one point of fact, in-state new Freshman enrollment grew by 21%! The efforts of Governor John Carney and the members of the General Assembly, particularly retiring Senator Brian Bushweller in the Senate and Alumna Representative Stephanie Bolden in the House, allowed us to take this giant step.
The Early College High School has also played a major role this year. Over 56% of the first graduating class elected to enter Delaware State University as full-time students, and they come with an average of 53 college credits already in hand. Dr. Evelyn Edney and her faculty have a great deal of which to be proud, and we are proud to be partnered with them.
Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson joined us in February as the Dean of Graduate, Adult and Continuing Education, and her work, which has included building an exceptional leadership team, has resulted in a 25% increase in graduate enrollment, the most impressive single-year increase Delaware State University has experienced in many years.
Enrollment increases, however, only get us so far, because those numbers will inevitably decline if we are not paying close enough attention to retention. Associate Vice President for Student Success Dr. Lisa Dunning and her staff have spared no effort to follow up with every single student. The consolidation of Advising Centers is beginning to pay serious dividends in the consistent use of best practices. The innovative Summer Bridge program is providing students with the opportunity to earn up to 12 credits before they actually step on campus as Freshmen. The “15 Strong” initiative helps keep every student on track to finish their first year on a pace to graduate as scheduled. Thanks to all this hard work, average retention is at 73%, significantly up from the mid- to low 60s when we first began.
When you couple these efforts with bold decisions like the Digital Learning Initiative with Apple technology, a complete college redesign focused on a better core curriculum for our students and an even stronger research portfolio for the University, you should expect good things to happen. And they have.
Literally every organization on campus has contributed to this success, and everyone’s continued effort will be essential in maintaining our forward momentum. These initiatives are exactly what we expect from a student-first University. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have accomplished together. Your work humbles me, and my spirit rises because I know that the best is still yet to come.
Dr. Wilma Mishoe , President,
Delaware State University
For more information please contact:
Carlos Holmes, Director of News Services
Delaware State University