A 2 percent decrease in enrollment might not seem like a lot, but it is causing administration to reassess the programs and services provided by the school to find a solution for those shrinking numbers.
The Pierce College Council (PCC) met Thursday, Sept. 28, and spoke about the enrollment drop and possible measures to increase student experience to encourage incoming and returning students to complete their education.
Vice President of Student Services Earic Dixon-Peters reported the demographics found by the Pierce College Retention Research survey to the council on Thursday. He said that in fall 2015, 22,016 students were enrolled, and the following spring semester, 7,457 students did not re-enroll.
“We are hoping that our initiative to pay for students fees their first year if they commit to a full-time student load will address the issues that we found in our survey,” Dixon-Peters said. “We also have our summer bridge program, which we are hoping will have an impact on students taking more units.”
The survey also found that students were not unsatisfied with their college experience. Eighty-one percent of students who didn’t re-enroll were satisfied with Pierce College, and 82 percent said they would recommend the institution.
It was determined that fault didn’t fall on Pierce, but can actually be attributed to factors such as class availability and material expenses, according to the survey.
Isha Pasricha, vice president of the Associated Student Organization (ASO), expressed to the council that major prep. classes should be a priority because a big portion of the student body deals with difficulties securing required classes.
According to Pasricha, students should be more vocal and become involved with senate meetings so that they may highlight student issues that could be fixed.
“I genuinely appreciate the faculty that is here taking time out of their lives just to make the students’ lives better, and we should grab that hand they are extending,” Pasricha said.
The council voted and approved their revised Enrollment Marketing Plan, which is a series of data gathering techniques to develop key performance indicators that will help to better understand historical performance with the college’s environment, then to finalize a Strategic Enrollment Marketing Plan.
Rolf Schleicher, the vice president of administrative services, spoke of security concerns he had regarding an agenda he tried to implement for five years, that would heighten surveillance and safety measures on campus.
“We are trying to bring an infrastructure that will give us security that is sufficient to support our safety needs,” Schleicher said. “I’m staffing the sheriffs as best I can, but I don’t want someone walking into an incident and not knowing what to do. They have to be properly trained and know how to best address it. I wouldn’t want a student or officer getting injured because a situation wasn’t handled properly.”
Another concern the council addressed was the school’s budget, as stated in the Academic Senate meeting Pierce will undergo a deficit, so the PCC discussed how they will be going over revenue ideas. Pierce will have to dip into its reserves if it doesn’t bring in more money then it’s expected to.
Dixon-Peters also spoke about the Open Educational Resources (OER) with faculty because instructors have control about what materials they require for the course.
“We really need to have the conversation about affording college,” Dixon-Peters said.