Central Methodist University Sets Enrollment Record

  • While many Missouri colleges are suffering steep declines in enrollment, Central Methodist University has been busy setting an enrollment record. 

    Central Methodist opened classes Monday with a new student surge of 18 percent over the prior year, eclipsing the previous record set in 2012.

    Central President Roger Drake said he was thrilled with the increase and proud of a “team effort at Central.” He attributes the increase to a few key factors:

    -The university’s new Digital U initiative, providing iPads to all Fayette campus students and weaving digital learning into coursework across dozens of majors
    - Investing in significant infrastructure improvements, particularly the completion of the renovation of Stedman Hall of Science
    - Introducing the enrollment management concept on campus last summer led by Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dr. Joe Parisi 

“Our students can see our commitment to improvement,” Drake said. “There is a level of enthusiasm among our students, faculty, and staff that lifts everyone up. Our friends notice it, and so do our alums.”

Drake said that while the enrollment increase is largely first-time freshmen, transfer student enrollment is also on the upswing. He said the university has invested significant time and money in its relationships with community college partners across Missouri, and has introduced the popular Gulstad Scholarship for transfer students.

Central’s increases are most impressive in Nursing, Biology, and Exercise Science, according to Parisi. He said it is no coincidence that the strongest growth areas are associated with Central’s large investment in the sciences at Stedman Hall and in health-related professions in the new Thogmorton Center for Allied Health.

Other key factors, Parisi said, include a new enrollment management team at Central, new campaigns, a new visit and campus events program, and strategic partnerships with high schools.

“It’s a new day and CMU must continue to build on new and existing relationships,” Parisi said. “Today’s partnerships create tomorrow’s success.”

He said Central has embraced the enrollment management philosophy.

“Enrollment management is not the entire institution, but the entire institution is enrollment management,” Parisi said. “That phrase runs deep at Central. Coaches, faculty, and all staff units have greatly contributed to the recruitment efforts and it shows.”

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